In Haryana, bureaucrats get punishment postings if they fight corruption!

Chandigarh: The transfers of two Haryana senior honest bureaucrats Pradeep Kasni and Ashok Khemka, have put a question mark over the Manohar Lal Khattar government’s “transparent” administration, and revealed how the chief minister is playing into the hands of the state’s shrewd bureaucrats.

Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij (left), who opposed Khemka’s transfer — thereby differing with the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar (right)  — has asked Khattar to post Khemka in his health ministry.
Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij (left), who opposed Khemka’s transfer — thereby differing with the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar (right) — has asked Khattar to post Khemka in his Health Ministry.

The honest bureaucrats, who were constantly victimised by the previous Congress government for highlighting the wrongdoing of the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government, have been given “punishment” postings in less important departments.

But those who were close to the Congress government have been given plum postings.

While Ashok Khemka has been shifted from the transport department and posted as secretary and director general, archaeology and museums department, Pradeep Kasni remained without a posting for a month and had to beg for an office and staff.

He was later posted as director general and secretary of the medical education and research department.

On the other hand, bureaucrats such as R S Kharb, K K Khandelwal, P C Gupta, Sudhir Rajpal and others, once close to the Hooda government, are enjoying plum postings in the Khattar government.

Interestingly enough, Khandelwal has been appointed principal secretary to the chief minister despite S S Dhillon holding the same post.

This is the first time in the recent history of the Haryana government that the chief minister has two principal secretaries.

Khandelwal was additional principal secretary, chief minister, Haryana and principal secretary of information and public relations in the Hooda government.

The issue of Khemka’s transfer has raised eyebrows despite Khattar’s statement that the transfer is routine. He even advised the media not to blow the issue out of proportion.

“Ashok Khemka’s transfer is a routine matter. There are nearly 165 IAS officers working in the state and the media should not blow the issue out of proportion,” Khattar said on Saturday.

This is not the first time that the role of bureaucrats controlling the government has come to light. It is believed that certain bureaucrats are behind the differences between Haryana’s Health Minister Anil Vij and Khattar, which has rocked the state government recently.

Bureaucrats unhappy with Vij’s style of functioning had started ignoring him. As a result, he was not informed about important events related to his department, which were then presided over by the CM.

Another example as to how bureaucrats are busy creating differences between Khattar and Vij is the clearance of a nursing college in Jind. Here, bureaucrats not only issued a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the college shrewdly but also released the letter of intent.

Interestingly, the state health minister’s office had no knowledge about the development. When Vij came to know about it, he was compelled to write to the chief secretary.

Vij has dubbed the bureaucrats as “Congress-minded” and demanded action against them.

While the Congress has remained tight-lipped about the transfers, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) has favoured the Khattar government. However, the Aam Aadmi Party has termed Khemka’s transfer as “unfortunate”.

“The BJP, which had made Khemka’s victimisation by the Hooda government an electoral issue in the Haryana Assembly polls, is resorting to the same tactics to shelter the mafia in the state. Now it’s clear that raising Khemka’s victimisation under the Congress government before the polls was only a political stunt by the BJP.

The BJP is no different from the Congress when it comes to institutionalising corruption, shielding mafia and victimising honest officers,” an Aam Aadmi Party release said.

The party alleged that this is not the only instance where an honest and upright officer is being victimised in a BJP-ruled state. AAP also alleged that the central government has meted out similar treatment in the past.

Inputs with Mail Today