A charge sheet against senior IAS officer Ashok Khemka pertaining to alleged avoidable loss to Haryana Seeds Development Corporation (HSDC) in 2012-13 on account of unsold stocks of wheat seeds has been dropped by the Haryana government.
According to the order issued on August 8 by the state chief secretary D S Dhesi, the charge sheet was dropped after Khemka's reply was found to be factual and based on official records.
"False cases are foisted to throttle real honest into dumb silence. Whither will inaction against real culprits drive our country to?", Khemka tweeted after his exoneration.
The charge sheet was issued on July 1, 2016, by the present BJP government on account of 87,000 quintals of unsold wheat seeds at the end of the year 2012.
In his reply, Khemka pointed to the findings of the audit report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), which had attributed the seeds not being sold to overproduction of unwanted varieties during 2011-12.
The CAG's performance audit report of HSDC had said that overproduction had led to increased availability of wheat seeds for sale in Rabi season in 2012.
However, the government had decided to issue a charge sheet for a minor penalty under Rule 10 of All India Services (Appeals and Discipline) Rules.
In his reply, the IAS officer stated that the sale of HSDC was relatively much better as compared to other central and state agencies, but some seeds remained unsold due to overproduction of unwanted seed varieties, which was one of the reasons was the lowering of market prices of wheat seeds.
Khemka also mentioned that the requirement of explanation before issuing the charge sheet was not complied with.
The charge sheet was a "roving inquiry without evidence and was intended to silence him", he said.
The IAS officer in his reply dubbed the charge sheet "as one of the several wrongful acts of witch hunting and hounding I am continuously subject to after 15th October, 2012, because of my actions taken in the course of my official duty."
The chief secretary's order dated August 8, read, "Shri Khemka has submitted his reply to the charge sheet vide his letter dated February 22, 2017, and denied the charges against him...The comments of the Agriculture and Farmers's Welfare Department were obtained on Khemka's reply.
"Now, the competent authority, after going through the charge sheet, the comments of the Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare Department on the reply of Shri Khemka as well as relevant records has found the reply of Khemka as satisfactory. Therefore, the competent authority has decided to drop the disciplinary proceedings."
This is the second time that a charge sheet was dropped against Khemka.
Earlier, the state government had dropped a chargesheet against the 1991-batch IAS officer where he was charged by the previous Congress regime with exceeding jurisdiction when he cancelled the mutation of a land deal between a firm owned by Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra and realty major DLF.
Khemka was transferred from the Land Records and Consolidation Department to HSDC on October 15, 2012 after he had cancelled the mutation.