The Haryana government on Thursday ordered to chargesheet 1991-batch IAS officer Ashok Khemka for major penalty under Rule 8 of the All-India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules. Chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who is the competent authority in disciplinary matters pertaining to IAS officers, on Wednesday approved action against Khemka.
Primarily, Khemka has been held liable of administrative misconduct, overstepping jurisdiction in passing orders to cancel the mutation of 3.5 acre in Gurgaon's Shikohpur village, the tract that was sold by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi's businessman son-in-law Robert Vadra to realty major DLF and indulging in public criticism of the actions and policies of the state government.
The IAS officer after being transferred on October 11, 2012 from the post of director general, consolidation of holdings (DGCH) and inspector general, registration, had on October 12 and 15 ordered an inquiry into the alleged undervaluation of assets owned by Vadra or his companies in Gurgaon, Faridabad, Palwal and Mewat districts and set aside the mutation of 3.5 acre, respectively. This, as per the state government, constituted an administrative misconduct.
A committee of officers constituted by the government to ascertain facts and inquire into the matter to ascertain acts of omission and commission by various authorities involved had termed Khemka's orders as inappropriate and without jurisdiction.
Khemka has also been held liable for his public criticism of the actions and policies of the state government during the course of these developments. He took part in television interviews and was quoted extensively in the print media.
Subsequently in May 2013, Khemka submitted a detailed response on the findings of the committee, justifying his October 2012 orders. In his 100-page response, the IAS officer changed tacks to question the manner in which the sale of 3.5 acre from Onkareshwar Properties to Vadra's Sky Light Hospitality took place, terming it a "sham transaction". He had also questioned the issuance of a commercial colony licence granted to Sky Light Hospitality by the town and country planning department.
The state government recently sought comments on Khemka's May 2013 response from the revenue department and the town and country planning department (TCPD). The two departments - pertaining to whom issues were raised by the IAS officer- completely disagreed with his response. In fact, the town and country planning department in its response said that Khemka should be penalised for publicly criticising the actions and policies of the state government.