Chandigarh: Whistleblower IAS officer Ashok Khemka has been charge sheeted by Haryana government in connection with cancellation of mutation of land deal between Robert Vadra and DLF in Gurgaon in October last year, a move which BJP and INLD said amounted to punishing an "honest" bureaucrat for "exposing scams".
The charge sheet was delivered at Khemka`s residence in his absence yesterday and the 1991-batch IAS officer has been given a fortnight to reply, official sources said today.
The seven-page charge sheet against Khemka, who is at present Secretary to Haryana Government`s Archives Department, 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.
Hitting back at the state authorities, Khemka said it was unprecedented that the document had been "forcibly" handed over to his minor son in his absence.
In a strongly worded letter to Chief Secretary P K Chaudhery this evening, Khemka said he was on outstation leave to Delhi from the afternoon of December 4 to the forenoon of December 5 and his minor son was forced to accept delivery of the packet containing the charge sheet at 8:30 PM on December 4 on his behalf.
BJP and INLD, principal opposition parties in Haryana, reacted sharply to the serving of the charge sheet on Khemka saying an "honest and upright officer is being punished for doing his duty and exposing scams".
While INLD`s state unit chief Ashok Arora said, "Khemka has been punished for exposing the land scams involving high and mighty", senior BJP leader Anil Vij told reporters that "an honest and upright officer has been punished and harassed for just doing his job."
Vij said, "BJP is fully behind Khemka and we praise him for the courage he has shown to expose the land scams."
The IAS officer had cancelled the mutation on October 15, 2012, which the state government had alleged was an administratively improper step since he stood transferred as Managing Director of Haryana Seed Development Corporation. He had also been accused of selectively singling out a particular mutation.
Asked to comment on the charge sheet, the Chief Secretary told reporters that it was a "personnel matter".
Another senior Haryana government official maintained that the state authorities did not believe in targeting or acting out of vindictiveness against any of its officials.