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IAS Officer Ashok Khemka, Who Took On Robert Vadra, Cleared For Central Posting: Sources

IAS officer Ashok Khemka – who alleges that he was targeted for taking on Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra – is headed to New Delhi on a central government posting, sources say.

Mr. Khemka, 49, is currently Director General, Archive, in Haryana. Sources say he has been cleared for central posting as joint secretary. He reportedly wrote a letter in April asking for central deputation, but he was told his name can’t be circulated as he had a charge-sheet against him.

The chargesheet filed by the Haryana government in December accused Mr. Khemka of “causing damage to Robert Vadra’s reputation” by cancelling his land deal in 2012. The officer had alleged that the Rs. 57-crore deal between Mr. Vadra and real estate giant DLF in 2012 violated rules to facilitate windfall gains for the businessman.

Mr. Khemka’s argument that the chargesheet was “political” has apparently been accepted by the Centre, where the BJP took power in May.

It is not clear yet whether the officer will be posted at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office, as speculated, or some other department.

The 1991-batch IAS officer has alleged that he was punished by the Congress in Haryana and at the Centre for scrapping the Vadra deal. He has been transferred several times, with over 40 postings in his 22-year career.

In January, the Haryana government recommended a CBI probe into a contract awarded by Mr. Khemka to a Gujarat firm in 2009.

Mr. Vadra, who is married to Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi, took centre-stage in Mr. Modi’s campaign for the national election. The BJP pitched him as the symbol of corruption in the 10-year Congress-led regime, while Mr. Modi referred to him as the “gambler who earned 50 crores in three months”. The party even took out a booklet titled “Damaad Sri (son-in-law)” targeting him and the Gandhis.

Reports of his shift to the central government were welcomed by leaders from the BJP and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). BJP leader Shahnawaz Husain said, “He is a good officer. If he gets opportunity, he will do well.”

AAP’s Yogendra Yadav remarked, “Hope this ends the victimisation of an officer who cannot be bought or pressured.”

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