Indian Administrative Service officer Ashok Khemka, who the Haryana government has transferred once again, lashed out on Twitter on Tuesday, saying he has “suffered repeatedly”. In his 27 years of active service, Khemka has been transferred over 50 times.
“Whose interests should I protect?” Khemka said on Twitter. “Your interest or that of the people you claim to represent? It’s your arrogance that you will trample me under your feet. With pleasure, I have suffered repeatedly, let it be once more.”
The Manohar Lal Khattar-led government had on Sunday transferred the 1991-batch senior bureaucrat for the sixth time since 2014. Khemka, Principal Secretary in the Sports and Youth Affairs Department headed by minister Anil Vij, has been posted as Principal Secretary in the Science and Technology Department.
No reason was mentioned in Sunday’s transfer order issued by Chief Secretary DS Dhesi.
The Indian Express had reported that Khemka had been transferred after he criticised the state government for passing amendments to an Act that allows construction in the Aravalli hills. The Haryana Assembly had on February 27 passed the amendments to the law, which opened thousands of acres of land – earlier protected as forest land– to real estate and non-forest activity. Chief Minister Khattar had said the amendments were the “need of the hour”.
The Supreme Court had on March 1 criticised the state government for passing the amendments, calling the decision “shocking”.
The Haryana government recently also reversed an order issued by Khemka in which he had withdrawn the consolidation process of 3,184 acres of land in Faridabad’s Kot village after an inquiry showed that 2,565 acres of the land was on the Aravalli hilly area.
Khemka had said the state government’s decision would destroy the hills and forests of the Aravallis in the name of consolidation. “Consolidation proceedings in the eco-fragile zone of the Aravalli will not increase agricultural productivity, but fuel the greed of land sharks,” he had said.
Khemka first made news in 2012, when he cancelled a land deal involving Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra’s firm and real estate giant DLF. The Congress-ruled government in Haryana had filed a chargesheet against Khemka for “wrongly” cancelling the deal, but the BJP government dropped the chargesheet when it came to power in the state in 2014.