Khemka favoured private firm: Haryana to Lokayukta
In a fresh trouble for Haryana IAS officer, Ashok Khemka, the Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government has held him guilty of serious "irregularities" as managing director of the Haryana State Warehousing Corporation (HSWC) in 2009, according to a government report to the state Lokayukta. The government has told the Lokayukta that it was free to conduct an inquiry at its own level or through an independent agency.
The report, submitted to the Lokayukta by the office of the Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Department, said the officer not only tampered with the office record but also allotted works to his 'favourite' company, three days after receiving his transfer orders, to give undue benefit. In August last year, the Lokayukta had asked government for a detailed report following a complaint from Panchkula resident Ravinder Kumar.
Reminders were sent following, which the report was received now. The issue was flagged by the Comptroller and Auditor General also.
Khemka, currently posted with the archeology and museums department, denied any wrong-doing. "This is a 'behind my back' inquiry. Why have I not been given an opportunity to explain my position? Several facts have been concealed while giving this report.
When the noting was missing, I myself had demanded an FIR into the matter. They are unnecessarily blaming me. I should be given an opportunity…I will produce documentary proof with each statement," the officer said.
A 56-page detailed report (a copy of which is with The Tribune), alleged "favoritism" in allocating work to a private company. "Even though Khemka had received his transfer orders on April 21, 2010, he awarded the fresh order of supply of installation of galvalume sheets to M/S Pex system amounting to Rs 5.90 crore on April 23, 2010. He shouldn't have awarded fresh work order, especially after his transfer orders were received," said the report.
"Labour cess is a statutory deduction. HSWC deliberately didn't deduct labour cess to favour M/S Pex Systems. His non committal attitude reflects his bias in favour of M/S Pex," the report said.
The complainant had alleged that while action was being taken on a file, after declination of his proposal by the standing committee on public enterprise, Khemka removed the noting page 27 with criminal intent.
On this the Haryana government stated, "The allegation is true to the extent that Khemka tampered with office record and removed a noting page No. 27 of the relevant file. However, the motive is not known because the missing page seems to have been destroyed by him. Noting pages have been renumbered by Khemka in his own hand writing whereby noting page number 26 has been renumbered as 7 after cutting/overwriting, noting page 27 is missing and noting pages no 28,29 and 30 have been renumbered as 8,9,10 after cutting/overwriting."
Officer caught in fresh row
The case Even though he received his transfer orders on April 21, 2010, he awarded fresh order of supply of installation of galvalume sheets to a private firm on April 23 that year
The charge Complainant alleges that while action was being taken on a file, Khemka removed the crucial noting
Khemka version I have not been given an opportunity to explain my position
Political echo Previous Hooda govt first recommended a CBI probe, then withdrew it. Following an adverse CAG report, the present govt too is considering a CBI probe
Status The complainant filed a case with Lokayukta in Aug 2014, following which govt comments were sought. The present report is in response to the Lokayukta order