September 23, 2015 1:35:01 am
The BJP, which had accused the Congress of targeting IAS officer Ashok Khemka before Vidhan Sabha polls in Haryana, now appears to be treading a similar path. While the BJP government in the state has ‘indicted’ Khemka for allegedly having committed procedural irregularities, during his tenure as the managing director of the Haryana State Warehouse Corporation (HSWC), documents and file notings accessed by The Indian Express reveal discrepancies that contradict the government’s stance.
In a report submitted to the Haryana Lokayukta Justice Pritam Pal (retd), the state government has accused Khemka of awarding work relating to the supply and installation of galvalume sheets (used for roofing) to Proflex Systems (a Gujarat-based company) for Rs 5.9 crore on April 23, 2010, though he had received his transfer orders on April 21, 2010. The sheets were to be used on godowns belonging to HSWC.
The documents, however, show that Khemka did not award the tender to Proflex Systems on April 23 but merely approved a “work enhancement” contract for the company at Rs 1,127 per square metre and that too on April 19, 2010. On April 23, 2010, the work enhancement offer was approved for the contractor by HSWC. Proflex Systems, however, refused to accept the rate of Rs 1,127. This forced HSWC to issue fresh tenders, after Khemka relinquished charge on April 23, with the last date for October 20, 2010. The tender failed. A re-tender was then floated in which HSWC hiked the “work enhancement” rate to Rs 1,178 per square metre and set the last date at November 24, 2010.
HSWC finally awarded the work enhancement to the same company, Proflex Systems, on November 26, 2010 — seven months after Khemka relinquished charge as MD — but at a rate higher than what he had approved. The then managing director (HSWC) Krishan Kumar had approved the contract on November 25, 2010.
Documents reveal that during Khemka’s tenure, the work had been allotted to Proflex Systems at Rs 1,127 with three-year free additional maintenance costs (AMC). Around 80 per cent of the amount was to be paid on the completion of work, and the remaining 20 per cent spread over the three-year maintenance period. The work, however, was eventually allotted to Proflex at Rs 1,178 with one-year free AMC.
Between April 23, 2010, when Khemka relinquished charge, and November 26, 2010, when the contractor finally accepted the work enhancement offer, the then MD of HSWC, Krishan Kumar, had discussed the issue in the Board of Directors’ 181st meeting. In the meeting, held on September 28, 2010, the agenda of the galvalume sheets was placed before the HSWC board which was chaired by Roshan Lal, the then Principal Secretary (Agriculture). Krishan Kumar proposed that the warehouse corporation should revert to asbestos cement roofing sheets in its godowns but this was overruled by the board. On the agenda item pertaining to work enhancement, the board ruled it was competency of the MD.
Additional chief secretary (Agriculture), Dhanpat Singh, however, said: “There were procedural irregularities which I mentioned in the report we sent to the Lokayukta. I have got nothing against Ashok Khemka. Whatever has been written in the report is authentic”.