It is said that you need a lot of courage and self-belief in order to be able to stand up to authoritarian figures and question their actions. Not many in Haryana, let alone India, have been able to show the gumption required to supposed wrongdoings of the state government as Ashok Khemka has been able to do. It was him who dared to raise his voice against the allegedly shady land deals perpetrated between Robert Vadra, son in law of Sonia Gandhi, and DLF, one of the real estate giants in the country and former title sponsors of the Indian Premier League.
For all the trouble that he took in this regard he had been awarded with threats to his life. A couple of chargesheets have also been launched against him for having supposedly failed his duties as the Managing Director of HSDC.
In fact, during his tenure at the HSDC he had asked for CBI enquiry after finding out that corrupt practices were being followed at the said organization. Khemka had even stated that 10 chargesheets had been registered against him and he saw the reasons as lacking any solid ground. 10 complaints had also been lodged against him by private entities. Khemka had stated in the land deals between DLF and Vadra the corruption amounted to INR 20 thousand crore and 350 thousand crore. The deal was regarding some commercial land in Gurgaon as well as its vicinity.
Khemka had recently served as the Director-General of Land Consolidation and Land Records-cum-Inspector-General of Registration of Haryana for a period of 80 days. During the short period he had seen some serious discrepancies in the way land was changing hands and this included panchayat land that was valued at several hundred crores. The beneficiaries in this case were the real estate companies that had been created newly at that point in time.
When Khemka raised his voice regarding the matter he was transferred from the department on October 11, 2012 and he decided to act on the same after he was changed over. Khemka has stated that in the last 21 years he has been transferred on 40 occasions and harassed on numerous occasions simply for doing what he was supposed to do.
In fact, he had to face an Inquiry Committee of Haryana government regarding the Vadra land deal. Rao Inderjit Singh, a Lok Sabha member from Gurgaon, also called for a detailed investigation into the said deal so that Khemka's claims could be either totally negated or wholly supported. Singh also stated that the state government had been supposedly engaging in many a shady activity especially with regard to land deals.
The tragedy of Haryana, and for that matter India, is that here honest and duty-bound officials like Khemka are shown the door at best, and brutally suppressed at the worst, the moment they decide to speak out against any wrongdoing and people who acclimatize with the same or participate in it are always welcome.
From the point of view of Haryana, it is essential that the state government thinks long and hard as to how it can support such people more often instead of pursuing the road of criminal prosecution and suppression against them. Perhaps more such officers are required in Haryana, and India, so that people are able to trust the system a little bit more than what they do now.