Just as the dust on the ‘sweetheart’ deals of Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, was settling down, the transfer of Haryana IAS officer Dr Ashok Khemka turned the heat back on high.
Khemka, who was the director general of Consolidation of Holdings, Land Records, cancelled the mutation of a 3.53-acre piece of land in Haryana’s Gurgaon district on October 15. This is the same piece of land that Vadra’s company, M/s Sky Light Hospitality, sold to DLF Universal Ltd for Rs58 crore.
Khemka was transferred on October 11 after he ordered an inquiry into the land deals carried out by Vadra and his companies in Haryana. The acquisition and sale of the 3.53 acre land has been under the scanner recently with questions being raised about alleged favours shown by the Congress-led state government to Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law.
“I met him and he told me that he has received some phone calls in which people have threatened him and asked him to stop his activities,” Anupam Gupta, Khemka’s friend and noted lawyer, said. The callers asked him to desist or else he would be eliminated.
Khemka struck down the mutation of this land hours before he relinquished charge. He reasoned that it violated the State Consolidation Act and was done not by a revenue officer but by Gurgaon’s assistant consolidation officer who was not entitled to do it. However, chief minister Bhupinder Hooda has rebutted these charges.
Khemka, who was DG at the land records office for only 50 days, has been sent as MD, Haryana Seeds Development Corporation.
He expressed shock at his abrupt transfer and wrote to Haryana chief secretary PK Chaudhary the next day alleging that his transfer was “deliberate and malafide” to punish him “due to some vested elements in the political and bureaucratic hierarchy affected by the expose of the scams in consolidation of land holdings”.
“On October 8, I initiated a probe into the alleged reports of undervaluation based on media reports and allegations of wrongdoing by my office. On October 11 at 10pm I was served a transfer order,” said the embittered officer who claims he has been transferred 44 times during his 21 years in service.
“I would want to know from the chief secretary why I am transferred so that I can take corrective action and become a better civil servant,” he said. Before relinquishing charge, he asked deputy commissioners of Gurgaon, Faridabad, Palwal and Mewat districts to examine land deals carried out by real estate companies, particularly involving panchayat land.
Vadra’s company bought the land in que