The missing pages from a file related to the controversial Gurgaon land deal between realty giant DLF and Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, contained nothing that someone would want to destroy.
In the file, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had in October 2012 ordered the constitution of a committee of officers to scrutinise the two orders of the-then director-general, consolidation of holdings, and inspector general of registration, Ashok Khemka.
While chief secretary PK Gupta has asked an under-secretary-level officer to look into the disappearance of the pages, the fact is it is a case of much ado about nothing. "All it contained was the orders of the previous chief minister, whereby he had directed the constitution of the committee. The-then chief secretary had issued a proper notification subsequently to form the committee," said an official in the state government.
Moreover, the noting on the missing pages is in public domain already, since a Mohali resident, CL Pawar, had secured the copies under the RTI (Right to Information) Act some time ago. The government on Thursday got in touch with Pawar to get a copy of the noting.
Khemka blamed two officers
Khemka, on the other hand, had written to the chief secretary, alleging the involvement of two officers, who had been posted as Hooda's aides, in making the pages disappear. "A former IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officer in the chief minister's office handled the file officially, as the-then principal secretary to the CM was not available. It is the prerogative of the CM to ask any bureaucrat in his office to handle a particular matter. Even if one presumes that someone was involved in removing the pages, the fact remains that no one stands to gain by it," said an official.
After Khemka ordered the setting aside of the mutation of 3.5 acres in Gurgaon's Shikohpur that Sonia's businessman son-in-law had sold to DLF, the-then Congress government in the state constituted a committee to scrutinise the whistleblower's order.
The-then chief secretary issued an official notification after the-then CM, Hooda, ordered the IAS officers' committee to be formed. The committee was made on October 19 to "ascertain acts of omission and commission by various authorities involved". Its mandate primarily was to scrutinise the October 12 and 15 orders of Khemka in his capacity as DG (consolidation of holdings) and inspector general of registration. In its report, the committee of officers termed the Khemka orders inappropriate and without jurisdiction.
IAS officer Khemka, who was issued a charge sheet subsequently in September 2013 for major penalty under Rule 8 of the All-India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, is yet to file a written statement of defence even after more than a year. He has sought information related to the matter from the state government under the RTI Act and made a complaint to the present chief secretary since being informed that some pages from the file are missing.