Haryana govt hounds Khemka,readies another chargesheethttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/haryana-govt-hounds-khemka-readies-another-chargesheet/

Haryana govt hounds Khemka,readies another chargesheet

Paramvir Singh has sought comments from HSDC about the alleged low sale of wheat seeds.

Barely three weeks after approving a chargesheet against Haryana IAS officer Ashok Khemka accusing him of “administrative misconduct” and “over-stepping his jurisdiction” in cancelling the mutation of Robert Vadra-DLF deal in Gurgaon,the Haryana government is ready to move with a second chargesheet against him.

Sources said Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda yesterday approved the chargesheet against Khemka holding him responsible for the alleged low sale of wheat seeds during his stint as managing director,Haryana Seeds Development Corporation (HSDC) from October 15,2012 to April 4,2013. Principal Secretary (Agriculture) Roshan Lal,sources said,was the first to recommend that Khemka be chargesheeted.

Sources said Khemka wasn’t asked to explain his position,and although Chief Secretary P K Chaudhery is said to have had “reservations” over the chargesheet,the state government went ahead with it.

Chaudhery is said to have argued that the chargesheet should have followed a probe into the sale of seeds and Khemka’s role in it,if any.

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But Chief Minister’s Principal Secretary S S Dhillon,sources said,overruled these objections,recommended Khemka be chargesheeted,and forwarded the file to Hooda.

When contacted,Chaudhery said: “These are administrative matters. I cannot share details on this”. Khemka too declined to comment. Despite calls and a text message,Dhillon was unavailable for comment. Lal was also unavailable for comment.

On March 14,Haryana Agriculture Minister Paramvir Singh had sought comments from HSDC about the alleged low sale of wheat seeds.

On April 4,HSDC sent a reply to the minister underlining the key factors behind the low sale: production of older varieties that were not in demand in the state; high cost; less proportionate subsidies and the ban on sale of wheat seeds imposed by the agriculture department,a ban that HSDC was unaware of.

HSDC added that sales in Rabi in 2009-10 and 2010-11 were high due to trading activity when seeds were bought from private traders and sold at reduced prices. For example,almost 45,000 quintals of wheat seeds were purchased — without tender — at an average rate of of Rs 1,729 per quintal in 2009-10 and then sold at Rs 1,400 per quintal after availing of Government subsidy of Rs 400 per quintal. The next year,almost 99,000 quintals were purchased at Rs 2,050 per quintal and sold at Rs 1,650 after availing of Government subsidy of Rs 500 per quintal.

In its reply,HSDC said that sales performance across the company’s counters was better in 2012-13 as compared to the previous year: 1.6 lakh quintals as compared to 1.39 lakh quintals in year 2011-12.

But,clearly,the government wasn’t convinced.