'Prize Of Honesty Is Humiliation': IAS Officer Ashok Khemka On 53rd Transfer In 28 Years
Senior IAS officer Ashok Khemka on Wednesday said that the “reward for honesty is a humiliation” as the Haryana government issued transfer order for 14 IAS officers, including him. This is the 53rd transfer of Khemka, who is considered as an ‘upright’ officer in the administrative sphere.
Khemka, who was Principal Secretary, Science and Technology, has now been transferred to the Archives, Archaeology and Museums Department in the same rank.
फिर तबादला। लौट कर फिर वहीं।
कल संविधान दिवस मनाया गया। आज सर्वोच्च न्यायालय के आदेश एवं नियमों को एक बार और तोड़ा गया। कुछ प्रसन्न होंगे।
अंतिम ठिकाने जो लगा। ईमानदारी का ईनाम जलालत।
— Ashok Khemka (@AshokKhemka_IAS) November 27, 2019
“Transferred again. Same thing again. Constitution Day was celebrated yesterday. Today, the orders and rules of the Supreme Court were violated yet again. Some will be pleased. After all, I have been pushed to the final corner. Prize of honesty is humiliation,” Khemka said in a tweet in Hindi. “The reward for honesty is humiliation,” he added.
The Haryana government, however, has termed the transfers as a routine exercise.
Khemka’s Conflict With Govt
The 1991 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer made headlines in 2012 when he cancelled the mutation of a land deal between Skylight Hospitality of Robert Vadra and major real estate developer DLF. He had alleged that he was persecuted by the Congress government after he cancelled the sale of 3.5 acres of land in Gurgaon near Delhi by Vadra’s company to DLF for ₹58 crores. An auditor’s report had said the Congress changed rules to provide gains for Vadra’s company.
The report was ignored by the Bhupinder Hooda-led government, which later conducted an independent inquiry charge-sheeting Khemka for “causing damage to Vadra’s reputation” and “illegally” cancelling the deal.
In 2015, the ruling party alleged that Khemka had committed ‘procedural irregularities’ during his tenure as the managing director of the Haryana State Warehouse Corporation (HSWC).
But documents revealed discrepancies opposing the government’s stance. In 2016, Haryana minister Anil Vij reportedly came out in support of Khemka and called him the ‘most honest IAS officer’ as well. “Truth always prevails, and honesty never goes in vain,” the BJP MLA said.
According to the Haryana government officials, Khemka was posted as Principal Secretary, Science and Technology Department only in March this year from the Sports and Youth Affairs Department, where he completed a 15 months tenure. Khemka had termed his transfer from the state’s transport department as painful.
“Tried hard to address corruption and bring reforms in Transport despite severe limitations and entrenched interests. The moment is truly painful,” he had tweeted then.
The recent reshuffle was the first major administrative reshuffle ordered by the Bharatiya Janata Party-Jannayak Janta Party government after it came to power about a month ago.
Transfer Spree Of Officers
Seven of the 14 IAS officers reshuffled on Wednesday are of additional chief secretary rank. Their departments included Excise and Taxation, Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Mines and Geology, Public Works, Civil Aviation, Industries and Commerce, Food and Consumer Affairs and Finance and Planning.
Among other changes, Sanjeev Kaushal, Additional Chief Secretary, Excise and Taxation, has been transferred to Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and Cooperation Department. Pranab Kishore Das, Additional Chief Secretary, Mines and Geology Department, has been shifted to the Food, Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department.
Alok Nigam, Additional Chief Secretary, Public Works Department (Building and Roads) and Architecture, Forests and Wildlife Department, has been sent to the Forest and Wildlife Department and Medical Education and Research Department.