A war of words is on between two officers since TC Gupta, head of the town and country planning department, has taken on Ashok Khemka, a 1991-batch IAS officer of Haryana, saying that his order cancelling the mutation of the land deal between Robert Vadra and DLF contains "factual inaccuracies" and was passed in "total disregard of administrative propriety".
In a strong letter to the Haryana chief secretary, PK Chaudhery, on Wednesday, Gupta referred to the October 15 orders of the director general, consolidation of land holdings and records, who is also inspector general of registration. Gupta said his department was yet to receive the original copy of Khemka's order, "even though the same has found its way to all newspapers and electronic media".
In the orders, certain comments against the working of his department were not only unfounded but also uncalled for, wrote Gupta. "I have left the post of DG, consolidation," Khemka had told reporters on Thursday after his meeting with the chief secretary. "If any party or government has any grievance following my order, the remedy is to approach the (Punjab and Haryana) high court." His 50-minute meeting here with chief secretary Chaudhary was his first after the recent controversy arising out of his order and his subsequent transfer from the post of DG, consolidation.
Asked about the letter written by Gupta slamming his actions, he said, he was unaware of it. "It is a tactic to divert from the issues raised. It is like a red herring," he said. On Gupta's demand for action against him, Khemka said it was for the government to act. "Everything is on paper."
On his order of the cancellation of mutation of the deal between Robert Vadra, son-in-law of the Congress president, and realty giant DLF, Khemka said it was final. Gupta had alleged in his letter that "several insinuating and uncharitable remarks had been made in Khemka's orders".
"It is not known what made the town and country planning department renew LOI/license on January 18, 2011, in favour of the vendor, when 86.2 per cent of the total sale consideration was paid by October 7, 2009, 15 months before the date of renewal," Khemka had stated in his order. Gupta wrote in his letter that "these observations show lack of knowledge on part of the officer not only about the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas Act, 1975, and Rules, 1976, under which the licenses are granted and renewed but also about the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act, which the officer, in the capacity of inspector general of registration, was supposed to know".
"The renewal of licence could have been done only in the name of the owner of the land on the date of renewal of licence, which was Skylight Hospitality, because the sale deed was executed only on September 18, 2012," Gupta wrote. "The renewal of licence is perfectly in accordance with rules. The observations (of Khemka) are of a biased mind or an officer who does not know law."
The town and country planning head requested the chief secretary to refer his letter to the three-member inquiry committee led by the additional chief secretary, revenue and disaster management and consolidation. The state government had formed the committee on Tuesday to go into Khemka's allegations.
Asked about his letter to the chief secretary, following his transfer last week, 43rd in his 21-year-old career as an IAS officer, Khemka said whatever the chief secretary had told him, he was satisfied with it. He joined his new post of managing director, Haryana Seeds Development Corporation, on Wednesday.
Asked if he was not aware earlier that the transfer was prerogative of the state government, he said: "Earlier, I was not satisfied."