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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The other land deals Ashok Khemka probed

In two months,he took on a mining baron,a minister and several bureaucrats

Written by Chitleen K Sethi | Chandigarh |
October 19, 2012 12:01:13 am

Haryana IAS officer Ashok Khemka’s inquiry into the Robert Vadra-DLF land deals was only one of a series of probes he took up before he was transferred out of the post of director general,consolidation and land records.

In just over two months in that post,Khemka had taken on a mining baron for allegedly usurping 53 acres of panchayat land in Manesar; an IAS officer,Praveen Kumar,for allegedly allowing partition and demarcation of panchayat land in favour of his mother while he was DC of Faridabad; IAS officers S C Gupta and Anil Kumar for the alleged transfer of panchayat land in favour of private companies; and a minister for allegedly using a consolidation officer close to him to transfer land in favour of his chartered accountant.

He was aware of the possible consequences. “I am threatened of adverse action and transfer in case an order is made against such racketeering. Overcoming this fear I have passed a revisionary order…” he wrote in a September 22 order dealing with a land transfer in which a minister and some IAS officers were allegedly involved.

Khemka told the government that an assistant consolidation officer in Gurgaon,Dalbir Singh,“corrected” a khasra girdwari entry in village Chirsi in Faridabad to show a 45-year-old — chartered accountant Bhupinder Singh — as the “owner” of the land for the past 55 years. While revising the transfer of land and chargesheeting the ACO,Khemka wrote,“This single racket is worth an estimated Rs 15 crore. It is revealed that the ACO is related to a powerful minister and the beneficiary Bhupinder Singh is reported to be very close to some senior IAS officers… The racket would have netted an illegal gain of Rs 3-4 crore to the racketeering public servants. I request that the matter be placed before the chief minister…”

In August,Khemka probed a complaint that 150 acres in village Baad Majra in Manesar,including panchayat land worth over Rs 300 crore,had been transferred to private parties “without the commensurate consideration”. He reported that the relative evaluation of the panchayat land in the consolidation scheme had been kept as low at 8 annas and 4 annas — in 2000. He found 560 kanals of panchayat land had been transferred to private parties at one-half or one-fourth the value of private land,leading to a loss of 53 acres.

“The beneficiaries,” states Khemka’s order,“were indicated to be Ishwar Enterprises alleged to be a company of a mining baron.” Cancelling the transfer of land,Khemka wrote,“I am of the opinion that the classification of land in terms of relative value was unreasonable and detrimental to the interests of the gram panchayat.”

Shortly before his transfer,on October 5,Khemka had taken on his IAS colleague Praveen Kumar,currently posted as HUDA administrator in Gurgaon. Khemka reported to the government an illegal division and subsequent demarcation of 5,871 kanals of panchayat land in village Ankhir in Faridabad. He noted that 15 kanals were bought by Krishan Kanta in 2005,partitioned and demarcated in her favour when her son Praveen Kumar was serving as DC,Faridabad.

“On inquiry it has come to knowledge that the land partitioned comprises some of the prime property in Faridabad and there are VVIP interests…” states Khemka’s report.

“It was unethical upon Praveen Kumar’s part not to watch the interest of the gram panchayat of which he was the custodian,but to gain from the partition proceedings conducted by an officer directly subordinate to him in the hierarchy of revenue officers of district Faridabad,” stated Khemka,recommending annulment of the division and demarcation of the panchayat land.

Almost immediately after his joining,Khemka had in July reported an alleged nexus between politicians and bureaucrats in the transfer of panchayat land in sectors 58-63 and 65-67 of Gurgaon to 20 private companies and individuals. He recommended a criminal case against the IAS officers — S C Goel and Anil Kumar — on whose orders the transfers were done,many years after the consolidation process had been completed. “This is a fit case for registration of a criminal case and investigation by an appropriate independent agency like CBI,since the involvement of higher-ups cannot be ruled out.”

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