Khemka takes on Har govt, slams it for setting up committee

Locking horns with the Haryana government, senior IAS officer Ashok Khemka today said there was no need to set up a committee after he cancelled the sale of over three acres of land to realty major DLF following a deal with businessman Robert Vadra.

Khemka, who kicked up a political storm three weeks ago alleging irregularities in Vadra-DLF land deals, also said there was no need of security that was provided to him and he wanted a fair and quick probe into threats received by him.

The 1991 batch IAS officer met Haryana Chief Secretary P K Chaudhery, who had called him for a meeting in the wake of threat calls, in his office here.

After meeting Chaudhery, who is also President of the State IAS Officers' Association, Khemka said "there is nothing for media that I can disclose. The communication is privileged."

The IAS officer faced a volley of questions from media persons including one related to the arrest of a person last week who had allegedly made one of the threat calls to some employees.

Asked if the probe into alleged irregularities relating to Robert Vadra-DLF land deals was heading into the right direction especially after the constitution of the committee, Khemka said "I have not got any notice (regarding setting up of the committee)."

"Neither they (the committee members) have called me nor I am aware of the probe they have been conducting," he said.

Khemka, who had been transferred to another department, said he felt there was no need to set up the committee in the first instance.

"If anyone has felt aggrieved against my orders, the right jurisdiction lies with the High Court," Khemka said.

"The government, Robert Vadra, the DLF or any affected department like the Town and Country Planning or any other office could have approached the High Court," he said.
"This is the due process as per the law. But, if you (govt) don't believe in this and form any other committee, it indicates you don't have faith in the Constitution ... which is a matter of great regret," Khemka said.

On October 16, the Haryana government had ordered an inquiry after Khemka cancelled the mutation of the land deal.

"The state government has nonetheless ordered an inquiry into all the issues (irregularities) raised by Khemka" in the land deals," Chaudhery had earlier stated.
The Inquiry Committee, headed by the Additional Chief Secretary, also has two senior members of the state government and it was asked to complete the probe within a month.

Apparently referring to the four Deputy Commissioners giving a clean chit to Vadra saying the son-in-law of Congress President Sonia Gandhi or his companies had not "undervalued" any land registration in four districts of the state falling in the National Capital Region since 2005, Khemka said "at least allow your (govt's) own committee to function."

"I would say that you are even trying to pre-judge the decision of your own committee by telling them that this is what government has decided (to give a clean chit to Vadra) by issuing a press release," he said.

A Haryana government release on October 26 had said the "the DCs of four districts  -- Gurgaon, Faridabad, Palwal and Mewat-- have inspected all documents registered in their respective districts from January 1, 2005 till date by or on behalf of Robert Vadra or his companies in the capacity of either vendor or vendee and have certified that no deed has been found registered as undervalued."

"I would say if you don't want to move the court against my orders, then at least allow the three officers of the inquiry committee to do their job," Khemka said.

"The rule of law means one does not discriminate one person from the other and even an ordinary officer is empowered to take action against anyone whosoever he or she may be if the law has been violated," he said.

Khemka was shifted from the Director General Consolidation of Land Holdings and Land Records-cum-Inspector General of Registration to the Seed Development Corporation shortly after he initiated a probe into the land dealings between Vadra and realty giant DLF.

When asked to comment on the man who was alleged to have made one of the threat calls to his office in Panchkula recently, Khemka said he had given a statement to the police about this on Friday evening.

The man who allegedly made a threat call to Khemka was arrested from Gurgaon by the Panchkula Police.

Khemka had last week said he had got two threat calls within a fortnight.

Umaid Singh, arrested last week, was an employee of the Haryana Housing Board and was dismissed from service by Khemka in 2006 when he was administrator of the Board, the Panchkula Police had earlier said.

When asked if he felt the need for security, Khemka said "I have very clearly said security is a state of mind. I don't need that security paraphernalia."

He said if media persons "who are doing much more hazardous work than I do don't need the security cover then I also does not see any need".

With kin of another employee, who was also allegedly dismissed by Khemka, recently complaining to the DGP that her husband had gone missing, Khemka sought an in-depth probe to find out if a conspiracy was being hatched by some elements to provoke people to lodge complaint against him.

On Umaid Singh's arrest, Khemka said "I have not been officially told about it."

"It is the job of the investigators to find out what was his motive and who instigated him to do such a thing.

"The caller used abusive and obscene language which I feel ashamed to even recall," Khemka said.

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