Chandigarh: A senior Haryana IAS officer has charged that the state government has "abruptly" transfered him, the 43rd in his career, as a "punishment" for acting as a whistle-blower in several dubious land transactions, a claim denied by authorities.
Ashok Khemka, the 1991-batch officer, has also pleaded for security as he feels "threat" from "vested elements" whom he has been exposing from time to time.
In his letter written yesterday to Chief Secretary P K Chaudhery, Khemka pointed out that there should be a minimum tenure of two years as per the statutory IAS (Fixation of Cadre Strength) Regulations 2010, "but the state government has violated statutory regulations".
Haryana Chief Secretary Chaudery told reporters that the IAS officer`s contention that his transfer was a punishment was not correct.
"It (transfer) is the prerogative of the Government. The officer was transferred for administrative reasons," the Chief Secretary said.
In his letter, Khemka said acting as a whistle-blower on "several dubious" land transactions has come as a "punishment" for him.
"It is shocking to learn about my abrupt transfer...This is deliberate and malafide to punish me due to some vested elements in the political-bureaucratic hierarchy affected by the expose of the scams in consolidation of land holdings under the exercise of powers," he wrote in his letter.
During his 50-day stint in the department, Khemka had detected serious irregularities in land transactions involving transfer of panchayat land worth several hundred crores of rupees to newly created real estate companies.
Khemka was transferred this week from his post of Director General, consolidations of holdings and land records, where he was posted for less than two months. He has now been posted as Managing Director of Haryana Seeds Development Corporation, which was last under an officer 12 years his junior.
On October 9, the Haryana government had notified a policy to provide security to whistle-blowers and Right to Information activists. Khemka`s transfer was done two days later.
"Forest and hill areas were sought to be partitioned under
the garb of consolidation to corner prime plots near highways to build farmhouses or resorts. Panchayats also lost huge lands in consolidation by deliberate under-valuation.
"Not only this, during inspection of land records it was discovered that thousands of acres of panchayat land after illegal mutations in favour of owners were subsequently partitioned into small parcels and sold away...," Khemka wrote, urging Chaudhery to look into various transactions in Gurgaon, Faridabad and Yamunanagar districts.
Khemka felt it was "grossly unfair" to punish him for being upright and exposing the scams and corrupt acts instead of taking action against the guilty.
The IAS officer also made a mention of his transfer in July this year, when he was transferred from Haryana State Electronics Development Corporation (HATRON).
"Prior to my last transfer, I was abruptly transferred from Hartron in a similar manner within 50 days. There also corrupt activities within the organisation were exposed. There was a nexus to award software development works of petty nature without tender to few selected companies at inflated prices of Rs 25 to Rs 50 lakh each, whereas the rudimentary software development work could have been done in-house or through NIC using few man-days," he wrote.
Khemka also mentioned that he fears he would be "subject to transfer every month so as to humiliate and demoralise me and create roadblocks for regular and timely release of salary".
"My family feels threatened due to certain vested elements whose interests were adversely affected by the exposure of scams in this Department (last posting). I plead for security and fixed tenure in a cadre post befitting my seniority".
Khemka, who is known in bureaucratic circles as an upright and honest officer, had in 2004 refused to obey the orders of the then state government headed by Om Prakash Chautala with respect to transfer of teachers mid-session.