Four days after Khemka was shunted out as HSDC MD, govt sets aside his decision

: VARINDER BHATIA : Chandigarh : Within four days of shunting out senior IAS officer Ashok Khemka from the post of managing director of Haryana Seeds Development Corporation (HSDC) and making him the secretary of the archives department, the state government has started reversing his decisions.

In one such decision, Principal Secretary (Agriculture) Roshan Lal has restored the promotion of HSDC officer B S Saini, whom Khemka has not only demoted but also chargesheeted for "major penalty".

While reversing Khemka's orders, Lal accused him of using "malafides and colourable exercise of power". He recorded that Khemka acted in a "tearing hurry in issuing reversion orders of B S Saini", without issuing any showcause notice to him, which is against the principle of natural justice.

While pronouncing his order on an appeal filed by Saini, Lal not only restored his promotion, but also issued a stay on the "chargesheet for major penalty" issued by Khemka. Further, he has asked HSDC to first conduct a preliminary probe before proceeding on the chargesheet.

Saini, an HSDC officer, was promoted from regional manager to chief manager (production) on June 25, 2012 by the then MD of the corporation. Saini had completed two years and eight months of qualifying service on the date of his promotion against the minimum qualifying period of five years or the post. The promotion, being against the service regulations of the corporation, was withdrawn on March 22, 2013 by Khemka. However, three days later, Khemka allowed Saini to continue as officiating chief manager (production).

After Khemka relinquished his charge as on HSDC MD April 4, an appeal against his order was entertained the very next day by Roshan Lal. The March 22 order issued by Khemka was set aside on April 8.

According to sources, Saini had played a major role in purchase of one lakh quintals of wheat seeds in November, 2010. The seeds were purchased by HSDC from 32 private seed traders without issuing any tenders. The whole transaction was routed through two central agencies — NCCF and NAFED. Khemka had hinted at a scam worth crores in the purchase and lodged a complaint with CBI for registration of a criminal case. The agency is yet to take a call on Khemka's complaint.

However, Lal, while deciding on Saini's appeal, stated: "He (B S Saini) had earned 100 per cent ACRs of good or more than good category." He added that Saini was not the first officer who was promoted by giving relaxation in years of experience, rather another officer, R B Sharma — promoted as chief manager (production) — was also given relaxation of two years in experience for his promotion on October 6, 2005.

In his appeal, Saini had mentioned that during a HSDC board meeting on March 18, 2013, the board of directors had asked Khemka to explain why 87,000 quintals of certified wheat seed remained unsold during 2012-13 rabi season. Khemka, in his reply, had stated that he proposed a reduction of price by Rs 200 per quintal, but the government allowed a reduction of only Rs 100 per quintal.

Saini also alleged that when Khemka asked him to support his version, he denied, as it was incorrect. This infuriated Khemka and he demoted Saini and also issued a chargesheet against him, the appeal claimed.

साभार- इंडियन एक्सप्रेस

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