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Transfer of IAS officer not punishment: Haryana CM

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda assured a probe into the deal between Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and realty giant DLF.

Zeenews Bureau

Chandigarh: Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Tuesday assured a probe into the deal between Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and realty giant DLF.

Defending his government over the issue of transfer of a senior Haryana official, Ashok Khemka, who was probing the Robert Vadra-DLF land deal, Hooda said, "A transfer is not a punishment. The Chief Secretary will investigate."

Khemka had cancelled on his last day the mutation of a prime plot in Manesar area of Gurgaon district that was sold by Vadra`s company to DLF for Rs 58 crore.

According to a report in CNN-IBN, Hooda further refuted the allegations made by India Against Corruption Activist Arvind Kejriwal, saying the Haryana government was not giving any undue favours to anyone.

Kejriwal has criticised the Haryana government for transferring Khemka and alleged the Haryana government of favouring Vadra and his family.

"Khemka is an honest person. It seems the whole transaction was done to get the licence. We want to know from the Haryana CM that is there is any IAS transfer policy in the state? Does that policy allow transfer of IAS officer who is investigating Vadra? The Haryana government is favouring Vadra`s family," Kejriwal said.

The activist further tweeted that the state government ought to explain the turn of events. "Ashok Khemka transferred by Haryana government because he was probing Vadra`s land deals in Haryana. We strongly criticise that.”

Hooda has, in the meantime, assured that a probe would be ordered into the allegations.

In what could be an embarrassment for the Congress government in Haryana, the mutation of a prime plot in Manesar area of Gurgaon district was cancelled on Monday evening by Khemka, who was shunted out by the Haryana government on October 11 as director general of Land Consolidation and Land Records-cum-inspector general of Registration. Monday (October 15) was his last day in office.

The immediate fallout of the mutation cancellation would be that DLF would not be able get the title of the prime land, measuring over 3.5 acres, transferred to its name. The land will remain in the name of Vadra`s company M/s Sky Light Hospitality. The land was sold to DLF on September 18 this year though the agreement to sell was executed in June 2008.

Documents in possession with a news agency show that Khemka had on October 08 initiated a probe into the land deals done by Vadra and his companies in four districts of Haryana adjoining Delhi. He was transferred just three days later by the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government as managing director of the Haryana Seeds Development Corp, considered a junior and side-line posting.

On October 12, one day after his transfer, Khemka directed the deputy commissioners of four districts near Delhi - Gurgaon, Mewat, Faridabad and Palwal - to inspect all documents of land deals by Vadra and his companies from 2005 to present to probe under-valuation of property to evade stamp duty. He sought a report on this by October 25.

"The mutation has been cancelled on technical grounds. The officer (who did the mutation), was not authorised to do so under the Consolidation Act," Khemka said here.

In his order dated October 15, Khemka stated that the mutation was being cancelled on the ground that it violated the Consolidation Act as it was done by the assistant consolidation officer and not by a designated revenue officer. Khemka also pointed out that other officials had not gone by the rules in allowing the registration of the prime plot in DLF`s name.

According to Khemka`s order, Vadra`s company had purchased the prime land, located on the Manesar-Gurgaon road, in February 2008 for Rs 7.5 crore. A month later, in March 2008, Vadra`s company was given a licence by Haryana`s town and country planning (TCP) department to develop a housing colony on this site. Vadra entered into an "agreement to sell" with DLF within 65 days of the licence being granted for Rs 58 crore.

The TCP renewed the housing colony licence in January 2011 in the name of Vadra`s company though he had got nearly Rs 50 crore from DLF till October 2009 under the sale agreement executed earlier. Khemka, in his order, has questioned this also.

As per the sale deed, Vadra`s company got Rs 5 crore from DLF in June 2008, Rs 10 crore in March 2009, Rs 35 crore in October 2009 and Rs 8 crore in July 2012. The entire amount received was Rs 58 crore.

In New Delhi, activist Arvind Kejriwal said that an "honest officer" had been transferred out for exposing the DLF-Vadra land scam.

"The price of the land went up from just Rs 7.5 crore to Rs 58 crore in a matter of days," Kejriwal pointed out on Tuesday.

In a letter to Haryana`s chief secretary, Khemka objected to his latest "abrupt transfer". He sought the reasons for his sudden transfer.

Khemka said he had seen over 40 transfers in 21 years of service in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).

(With IANS inputs)

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