CHANDIGARH (TIP): Differences surfaced in Haryana BJP over the transfer of whistleblower IAS officer Ashok Khemka, with cabinet minister Anil Vij saying he stands by Khemka and chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar calling the transfer “routine”.

Health minister Anil Vij said, “I am totally with Khemka. I am with him since he fought the battle against corruption. I will stand by him… comment about this after talking to the CM.” 

Khattar, who was in Hisar on April 2, “Jo sarkar ko jahan aavashyakta hoti hai, wahin harek adhikari ko bulaya jata hai. Hamari aavashyakta us hisab se jaisi hai, waisa hamney lagaya hai (government appoints any officer as per its requirements. We have posted him as per our requirements).” He said Khemka was a good and honest officer.

A 1991 batch IAS officer, Khemka has faced 46 transfers during 22 years of service. He reacted to his transfer on Thursday with a tweet, “Tried hard to address corruption and bring reforms in transport despite severe limitations and entrenched interests. Moment is truly painful.”

The government has not given any reason for his transfer, but sources said that the influential transporters’ lobby was unhappy with the officers’ order for stringent checking of trucks plying the inter—state route, especially those moving between Haryana and Rajasthan.

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Brushing aside suggestion of any role in Khemka’s transfer, transport minister Ram Bilas Sharma said, “It’s a routine matter. I have still kept him in my department. The archaeology (department) is under me.”

Agriculture minister Om Prakash Dhankar saw no controversy in Khemka’s transfer either, unlike the previous Congress regime when he was allegedly shunted out over the Vadra land deal.

“If he (Khemka) sees any issue, then he should talk to us or the CM,” said Dhankar, urging officers to not go to the media. “He (Khemka) is among the officers who goes to the media the most,” he added.

The government had on April 1 transferred Khemka, 49, to a “low profile” assignment of secretary and director general of state archaeology and museums department, just four months after he was made transport commissioner.

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