CHANDIGARH: As a New Year gift to whistleblower IAS officer Ashok Khemka, the Khattar government has promoted the bureaucrat to the post of principal secretary from secretary to the government of Haryana.
A departmental promotion committee (DPC) headed by chief secretary DS Dhesi took a decision on Thursday in this connection, say sources.
Khemka had made headlines in 2012 when acting as director general of Haryana land consolidation department, he had cancelled the mutation of land deal between UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra and DLF on the ground that the assistant consolidation officer, who had sanctioned the change of title in the revenue record in favour of DLF, was not competent to do so. Not only this, three days before it, Khemka had also also directed the deputy commissioners of Palwal, Faridabad, Mewat and Gurgaon to probe whether stamp duty was paid in the land deals of Vadra which were executed after 2005.
Upset with the move, the then Hooda government had chargesheeted Khemka for wrongly cancelling the mutation of land deal. It was alleged in the chargesheet that Khemka did not relinquish the charge (for four days) with “premeditated determination” to pass both orders.
About two months back, the BJP government had dropped the chargesheet, which was issued against Khemka by the Congress government.
Currently, Khemka is looking after state archaeology and museums department. Five more IAS officers have also been promoted to the post of principal secretary along with Khemka. They all belong to 1991 batch of Indian Administrative Services. However, Khemka is senior most among them.
Earlier, the chief secretary DS Dhesi and additional chief secretary Dalip Singh had assembled for the meeting of DPC on Wednesday but third member of the committee and senior IAS officer Devender Singh could not come for the meeting. Then, the meeting was deferred. The officers waiting for promotion might have lost one increment, which is given in July every year, if they would have failed to get promotion on or before January 1.
Khemka, 50, has faced 46 transfers in 22 years of his service despite the fact that he received outstanding rankings in most of his ACRs (annual confidential reports) apart from four appreciation letters from the government. Khemka, who is from middle-class background, belongs to Kolkata. Before joining the civil services, he had topped IIT Kharagpur in computer science and engineering in 1988.