Chandigarh: The BJP government in Haryana has ordered a chargesheet against Ashok Khemka for allegedly causing avoidable financial loss to Haryana Seed Development Corporation (HSDC) in 2012-13 on account of unsold stocks of wheat seeds.
This comes eight months after the government dropped a chargesheet against the 1991-batch IAS officer where he was charged by the previous Congress regime with exceeding his jurisdiction as he had cancelled the mutation of a land deal between a firm owned by Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra and realty major DLF.
That chargesheet against Khemka was dropped by the BJP regime in November, 2015. The latest chargesheet, dated July 1, was served on him on July 8.
As per the charges, Khemka, as Managing Director, HSDC (October 15, 2012 to April 4, 2013) "failed to liquidate the stock of certified wheat seed during Rabi 2012-13, 87,177 quintals of certified wheat seeds valuing Rs 22.21 crore remained unsold causing financial loss to the tune of Rs 3.41 crore to HSDC".
Khemka, was transferred by the Congress government from the post of MD, HSDC within days after he had cancelled the mutation of the Vadra-DLF land deal in October, 2012.
However, Khemka, currently the Principal Secretary to Haryana Government, Science and Technology Department, was transferred on several occasions after that including during the current Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government.
He had joined as MD, HSDC at the beginning of the wheat sale season. An earlier CAG report had pointed out that the seed stock remained unsold mainly due to over-production in 2011-12.
The CAG's performance audit report of HSDC for the year ending March 31, 2014 had pointed out that it had led to increased availability of wheat seeds for sale in Rabi 2012. However, the Khattar government has ordered to chargesheet Khemka for a minor penalty under Rule 10 of All India Services (Appeals and Discipline) Rules.
In response to the memorandum containing the charges, Khemka, in a letter to Haryana Chief Secretary, has written that "chargesheet to a senior government officer without hearing is abnormal".
"Even the earlier chargesheet in the Vadra-DLF land deal was issued after the facade of providing an opportunity. In the present case, however, the said facade was also done away with," he has added.
As per the procedure for intimation of disciplinary proceedings against officers of All India Services under Government of India, any proposal to initiate disciplinary proceedings should be forwarded only after a decision has been taken at the level of Minister-in-charge of the Department/Ministry after obtaining the preliminary explanation of the officer and considering the same.
"The allegations in the chargesheet are nothing but a continuation of the witch-hunt and hounding by the same inimical elements which were complicit with the earlier political executive in various scams involving land licensing, land releases, land consolidation where not a single action has been initiated against any officer," Khemka has written.
"The intention behind the present disciplinary proceeding is to coerce and prevent me from deposing the truth in criminal cases and before Inquiry Commissions," he has alleged.
"The (latest) chargesheet is without any supporting annexure. To enable me to submit an appropriate reply to the false and baseless allegations contained in the chargesheet, I request you to allow me to inspect all relevant official records in the office of the Chief Secretary, Haryana, leading to the chargesheet," Khemka has written.