Reward for honesty is humiliation: Khemka shifted again

When senior Haryana cadre IAS officer and whistle-blower Ashok Khemka took to Twitter saying, ‘reward for honesty is humiliation,’ it was beyond just the pain of getting transferred for the 53rd time in 27-years of career.

A transfer almost every six months on an average is nothing new for this 1991-batch bureaucrat but underlines perhaps the rot that arguably exits. Earlier, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar downgraded Khemka’s annual confidential report (ACR). 
 
Early this year, Khemka moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the decision to lower his report to a rating of 9 from 9.92 given by his minister in-charge. The high court ordered expunging the remarks by Khattar. This time around, the chief minister, it is learnt, has declined to rate Khemka’s ACR.

Worst still, this 1988-batch topper in computer sciences from IIT-Kharagpur has now been posted to an arguably insignificant department of archives, archaeology and museums. This no-nonsense upright bureaucrat in 2012 dared to cancel the mutation of a land deal between reality major DLF and a company linked to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra. Khemka took this bold step even as it was then the Congress government under Bhupinder Singh Hooda in power in Haryana.

On Wednesday, the newly formed BJP-JJP combine in Jatland executed its first administrative reshuffle. Khemka was ousted. In a tweet in Hindi, Khemka wrote, “Same thing again. Constitution Day was celebrated. Today, the orders and rules of the Supreme Court were violated yet again. Some will be pleased... The reward for honesty is humiliation.” 
 
Only in 2017, a charge sheet against Khemka relating to the alleged avoidable loss in the Haryana Seeds Development Corporation (HSDC) during Hooda’s term as chief minister was dropped by the government.

Khemka has remained vocal, even if it has meant criticising the current dispensation.

Some years ago, Khemka had termed his transfer painful when he moved out of the state transport department. He wrote, “Tried hard to address corruption and bring reforms in transport despite severe limitations and entrenched interests. Moment is truly painful.”

Khemka has been in the good books of cabinet minister Anil Vij, who has in the past helped him salvage lost prestige. It remains to be seen if Vij comes to his rescue this time as well. 

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