Senior Haryana government officer Ashok Khemka, shunted out of his post, was transferred 43 times in over 21 years in the state, an unprecedented service record for an officer anywhere in the country, government officials said Wednesday.
Khemka, who began a probe into the mutation of a 3.53-acre land by Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra to realty major DLF, was transferred last week from the post of special collector and director general (consolidation) in the land management and acquisition department in the state.
He held that post for less than three months, having joined July 18.
Against this backdrop, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer claimed that the state government had "abruptly" transferred him as a "punishment" for acting as a whistle-blower in several "dubious" land transactions.
Officials of the ministry of personnel, which manages service records of IAS officers, said they have not heard of any other instance of a service officer being kicked around in such a manner in any other state.
The ministry's records on Khemka, a computer engineering doctorate, show that he is a first class in computer science in both his B.Tech and Ph.D.
A domicile of West Bengal, he is a 1991 IAS batch officer, with Haryana as his home cadre. He got his first posting after joining the service as a sub-divisional officer in 1993.
Since then, he has served the Haryana government in departments such as information technology, housing and urban development, fisheries, electronics, AIDS control, housing board, Hartron (a state-run public sector unit), finance, planning, agriculture, warehousing, administrative reforms, social justice and empowerment, and land revenue management and acquisition.
His executive record sheet, maintained by the ministry of personnel, notes that he has had only three postings in his career where he could stay put for over a year. These were: as registrar in Rohtak between 1999-2000 when he was on deputation to the human resources development ministry; as director of training in the labour and employment department between 2000 and 2001 for 14 months; and as chief administrator in the state housing board for 17 months, the longest stint in a post for him, from 2005 to 2007.
Soon after his latest transfer as managing director of the Haryana Seeds Development Corporation, a post held by an officer 12 years his junior as additional charge, Khemka wrote to state Chief Secretary P.K. Chaudhery.
Khemka pointed out that he had gone through over 40 transfers in his 21 years of service and sought a minimum tenure of two years for an officer under the statutory IAS (Fixation of Cadre Strength) Regulations, 2010.
He also noted that his transfer violated the regulations.
However, the state government has maintained that his postings are its prerogative.