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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Khemka's central deputation cleared, Haryana unaware

IANS  Chandigarh, July 15, 2014
First Published: 20:05 IST(15/7/2014) | Last Updated: 23:08 IST(15/7/2014)

Ashok Khemka, an IAS officer of the Haryana cadre, who had cancelled the mutation of a land deal involving Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra, may be deputed to the union government in two-three weeks, a central official said Tuesday.

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However, the Haryana government maintained that it has not received any communication in this regard.

"It seems that Khemka would come on central deputation in two-three weeks," an official of the Department of Personnel and Training told IANS in New Delhi.

Sources in Chandigarh also said Khemka has been cleared to be a joint secretary in the central government, but the Haryana government refused to comment on the issue.

"We have not received any communication in this regard so far. We cannot comment on this," a senior bureaucrat told IANS in Chandigarh.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was also dismissive about the issue.

"This is an administrative matter," he told the media in Chandigarh Tuesday.

Khemka had sought central deputation in April. The 1991-batch IAS officer has been transferred 44 times in 22 years of his career.

In October 2012, Khemka cancelled the mutation of a Rs.58-crore land deal between Vadra's company Skylight Hospitality and realty giant DLF.

He also ordered an inquiry into the undervaluation of land deals done by Vadra in four districts of Haryana adjoining New Delhi.

The Haryana government served the bureaucrat a charge sheet for "exceeding his jurisdiction" and "administrative misconduct" in the Vadra land deal controversy.

Khemka was also charged with violation of service rules, of going to the media and criticising government policy. He had freely given TV and other media interviews when Vadra's land controversies came out in the open.

Embarrassed by Khemka's actions and statements, the Hooda government had set up a three-member committee of senior IAS officers to look into the issue.

The committee said in its report that Khemka's actions amounted to administrative misconduct and exceeding jurisdiction. The committee, however, gave its report without calling or examining Khemka even once.

The government has indicated that Khemka could attract a major penalty, including dismissal from service.

Khemka's 105-page reply to the committee's report, in which he highlighted various other land scams and sham deals and companies associated with Vadra and other influential people, was not accepted by the Haryana government.

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