Whistleblower bureaucrat Ashok Khemka who hit the headlines in 2012 after questioning Robert Vadra’s land deals in Haryana took to Twitter on Thursday to express his “pain” after being transferred by the state’s BJP government.
The IIT graduate, who was moved from the transport department to the archaeology and museums division, has been relocated 46 times in his nearly 22-year-long career.
“Tried hard to address corruption and bring reforms in Transport despite severe limitations and entrenched interests. Moment is truly painful,” the 49-year-old tweeted.
The BJP government that took power in Haryana last year issued transfer and posting orders on Wednesday night of nine IAS officers, including Khemka, with immediate effect.
Sources said some members of the ruling party and transporters lobby were unhappy with Khemka’s style of functioning and wanted his removal.
“He has been transferred on administrative grounds. It is a routine transfer. Depending on the need, officers are transferred. It is a routine process,” chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar said.
As transport commissioner, Khemka had refused to issue fitness certificates to oversized trucks and trailers for carrying automobiles, leading to a truckers’ strike in January.
State health minister Anil Vij came out in Khemka’s support, saying he had always stood by the bureaucrat and would talk to the chief minister regarding the officer “who had worked to weed out corruption during the previous Congress regime”.
Khemka had challenged a land deal in which a company owned by Vadra, Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law, bought a Haryana property in 2008, got it rezoned as commercial land and resold it in 2012 for about Rs 58 crore, more than seven times the purchase price.
The state’s the then Congress government gave him low-profile assignments after he cancelled the mutation of the deal between Vadra and real estate giant DLF.