Tightening the noose around whistleblower Indian Administrative Service officer Ashok Khemka, the Haryana government has chargesheeted him in connection with cancellation of the mutation of a land deal between Robert Vadra and real estate major DLF in Gurgaon in October last year and accusing him of causing damage to the reputation of Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law.
The chargesheet was delivered to Khemka in his absence at his residence on Thursday and the IAS officer has been given a fortnight to reply, official sources said.
When contacted, Khemka, who is at present the managing director of the Haryana Seed Development Corporation, told PTI over the phone that he had gone to Delhi on Wednesday and would respond to the charges soon.
The sources said that the seven-page chargesheet mainly dealt with the issue of alleged administrative misconduct and damage caused to the reputation of Vadra and realty giant DLF. It also touched upon issues relating to Khemka going to the media after cancellation of the mutation, criticising the state government's policy and not immediately giving up charge of his post despite having been transferred, they said.
The 1991-batch IAS officer had cancelled the mutation on October 15, 2012, which the state government has alleged was an administratively improper step since he stood transferred as the managing director of HSDC. He has also been accused of selectively singling out a particular mutation.
The Haryana government is also preparing a second chargesheet against him for alleged low sale of wheat seeds during his tenure in HSDC as its Managing Director from October 15, 2012 to April 4, this year, they said.
When asked to comment on the chargesheet on Vadra-DLF issue, a senior Haryana government official said these are administrative matters, while maintaining that the state authorities did not believe in targeting or acting out of vindictiveness against any of its officials.
In October this year, the Haryana government had decided to chargesheet Khemka, who claims to have been transferred more than 40 times during his career so far, for alleged administrative misconduct in cancelling the mutation of the land deal.
The officer has been held liable for alleged administrative misconduct for overstepping jurisdiction in passing orders to cancel the mutation of 3.5 acre land in Gurgaon's Shikohpur village. The land was sold by Vadra to DLF.
The chargesheet is understood to have mentioned the clean chit given to the land deal by a committee, which was formed by the Haryana government last year to probe the orders of Khemka in the wake of his decision to cancel the mutation of the land.
The committee had held that there was no undervaluation of land for payment of stamp duty on land registration as alleged and had put the IAS officer in the dock for acting beyond the authority vested in him.
Vadra's Sky Light Hospitality had entered into the sale agreement with DLF for the sale of the land.
The probe panel had cleared the Rs 58 crore land deal, saying the factual position was different from the stand taken by Khemka, who as Director General Consolidation of Holdings and Land Records-cum-Inspector General of Registration had ruled against Vadra.
Khemka, a day after his transfer on October 12, last year and three days before he actually relinquished charge, had asked the deputy commissioners of four districts of Gurgaon, Palwal, Faridabad and Mewat falling in NCR to "inspect all documents registered from 2005 on behalf of Vadra or his companies in the capacity of vendor (seller) and vendee (buyer)."
The panel had stated that there was no bungling in the land deals.
The committee's report had said that Khemka had applied his powers based on the Punjab Land Revenue Act, 1883, under which he had no authority to act.
The committee had gone in depth into the issue by probing the whole gamut of aspects, including sale and purchase of properties, grant of letter of intent/licence, change of land use and undervaluation of properties.
The Deputy Commissioners of Gurgaon, Faridabad, Palwal and Mewat had inspected all documents registered in their respective districts from January 1, 2005 till October 2012 by or on behalf of Vadra or his companies in the capacity of either vendor or vendee and had certified that no deed had been found registered as undervalued, a statement earlier issued by the state government had said.