For every honest officer like Khemka, there are smarter businessmen and even smarter politicians. Combine this phenomenon with a media that often catches selective amnesia, at the rate at which everyone else catches common cold, and that is how every serious issue can magically transform itself into a non-issue in this country.
Robert Vadra and DLF proved that smart is silent. For Khemka’s 100 pages, there was only unnerving silence, even from Priyanka, Sonia, and Rahul. The only noise was from Digvijay Singh, but from whom silence would have been the real shocker.
Then came the masterful performance from Bhupinder Singh Hooda who called Robert Vadra “a small farmer with just 3 acres of land.” Even the allegations made by Congress MP Rao Inderjit Singh was ridiculed by Hooda, citing the fact that Inderjit Singh himself is a bigger farmer who has collaborated with Unitech in a similar fashion to develop 83 acres.
Hooda also pooh-poohed calls for further investigation, saying, "An investigation for what?…Who has charged?…We have no complaint from anyone that Mr. Vadra has done anything wrong in Haryana"
So, why did media rake it up? Hooda has ready answer - “…for TRPs.” This last point might be true in a sense as media has obviously looked elsewhere during the past two weeks. Whatever Khemka is saying about Vadra-DLF deal might be true or false. But doesn’t it require a truthful closure?
Some Congressmen calls him a BJP stooge. But Khmeka is sure that when BJP comes to power, he is likely to be called a Congress stooge. He is a 1991 batch IAS officer of the Haryana Cadre, now under limelight for moving against Robert Vadra.
He has been one of the most scholarly civil servants in the country by way of education. Born in Kolkata, Khemka graduated from IIT Kharagpur with a BTech Degree in Computer Science & Engineering, and followed it up with a PhD in Computer Science from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, an MBA with specialization in Finance, as well as an MA in Economics.
However, the same can't be said of his professional experience, as successive governments in Haryana have never allowed Khemka to garner too much experience in any job, as he has been transferred an unbelievable 45 times within 22 years of service! In fact his longest posting has been for just 1 year and 9 months.
What Khemka has unearthed about the Vadra-DLF deal rings true, because that is how most large realty companies go about acquiring land i.e. by utilizing political patronages.
But there is a chance that, at least technically, Khemka might have bitten off more than he can chew in this issue. If and when the issue scales up to investigation and the courts, what is likely to be upheld is whether Robert Vadra and DLF did anything illegal.
As of now, Khemka admits that he doesn't have full proof for it, and that a criminal investigation is warranted.
Secondly, the preventive action that Khemka took - of cancelling the mutation of Vadra’s land - is likely to be questioned in court, as, another of Khemka's similar cancellation of mutation was recently annulled by Haryana High Court.
Even while agreeing with the possibility that Khemka might be right in that case, Court found serious objection to the fact that Khemka didn't provide the affected party a hearing, which is a prerequisite while cancelling a mutation.
The same issue is likely to be raked up in the Vadra-DLF deal.
Khemka's strange record of postings in IAS also hints at a too rigid posturing by the officer. For example, of his 45 postings, around 20 postings has been for less than six months, with a few postings for as short as 1 month, and a few for as short as a few days.
Also, this erratic pattern has continued whether it was a Congress coalition, or a BJP coalition, or other local coalitions that were governing Haryana.
However, it would be wrong to asses Dr. Ashok Khemka, IAS, in a negative light due to any of these. Because, right now, he has succeeded in the Robert Vadra issue, as by convention, Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion.