Ashok Khemka is an IAS officer from the 1991 Haryana cadre. He is best known for his honest image, high integrity, and for being the whistleblower of several corruption scams in the Bhupinder Hooda Government. He is also known for cancelling the mutation for Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra’s illegal land deal in Gurugram. He was also in the news for being transferred 52 times in his 27-year career.
Ashok Khemka was born on 30 April 1965 (age 54 years; as in 2019) in Kolkata, West Bengal. His Zodiac Sign is Taurus. He has done his schooling from St Xavier’s Collegiate School, Kolkata. He completed his graduation in 1988 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur with B.Tech in Computer Science Engineering. Thereafter he got his PhD in Computer Science from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai. Khemka also has an MBA in Business Administration & Finance, and he also holds an MA Economics degree from IGNOU. In 1991, Khekma cleared his IAS examination.
Family, Caste & Wife
Ashok Khemka was born in a Marwari family. Not much is known about his parents, once in an interview, Khemka mentioned that he comes from a humble family. He is married to Jyoti Khemka. He has two sons, Ganesh and Srinath.
Ashok Khemka was in the 1991 IAS batch in Haryana cadre. He had a 2 year training period, after which he got his posting as a Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM). He was transferred 3 times in his first year of service itself. If he would get an unusual or an unofficial request, he used to demand those requests in writing. This got him reported several times to his seniors and to the Chief Minister; this was the prime reason why he was transferred multiple times.
Even though a Government directive states that all IAS officers should have a tenure of a minimum of 2 years in a particular posting, he kept getting transferred. He often raised his voice against wrongdoings, suspicious deals, and unusual requests, but mostly they used to get overlooked.
His friends from his cadre often used to advise him to let those issues go and not take them up with the senior officials, but he always stated that he just wants to do his work in a rightful manner. In 2012, he was in the news as he had cancelled a mutation in a land deal between the firm of Robert Vadra, and DLF. He opposed that deal and said, there were many financial irregularities in the deal.
On 3 March 2019, Ashok Khemka was transferred for the 52nd time. All these transfers had caused him a lot of discomfort over the years. He had never been posted in a single place for more than 18 months and his shortest posting was of just 11 days. In frustration, he tweeted-
किसके हितों की रक्षा करूँ? तुम्हारा या उनका जिनका आप प्रतिनिधित्व का दावा करते हैं?
दम्भ है हमें पैरों तले रौंदोगे। शौक से, कई बार सहा है, एक बार और सही।
— Ashok Khemka (@AshokKhemka_IAS) March 5, 2019
- On 15 October 2012, Ashok Khemka had cancelled the mutation of a land deal between Sonia Gandhi’s Son-in-law, Robert Vadra and real estate giant, DLF. This got him in the news and many people opposed him, stating that he was doing this because of political motivation. Although, Ashok Khemka stuck to his statement that he only did his job and there was no personal agenda behind him cancelling the mutation.
- In 2012, the Haryana Government had set up a committee after Ashok Khemka alleged charges on a land deal between Robert Vadra and DLF. Ashok Kemka even filed a report about this, but the Bhupinder Hooda Government rejected the report, and instead set up an enquiry and the charge sheet against Khemka on grounds of causing damage to Robert Vadra’s reputation” and illegally cancelling the land deal.
- In 2017, he tweeted that a retired IAS officer was posted as a Real Estate Regulator, who was in the 12 member committee that gave a clean chit to the Robert Vadra-DLF land licencing deal in 2012. He claimed that the posting was a reward for the clean chit that was given to Robert Vadra and the licensing deal. He also put in a sarcastic remark stating that instead of being hauled up, some people continue making hay-
An officer, who was member of committee that gave clean chit to VADRA-DLF land-licensing deal in 2012, is now rewarded with the lucrative post of real estate regulator. Instead of being hauled up, some continue to make hay. What could be the secret mantra of their ‘successes’?
— Ashok Khemka (@AshokKhemka_IAS) November 26, 2017
- In 2017, he got transferred for the 51st time and was posted to work under Haryana Sports Minister Anil Vij, as the Principal Secretary in the Youth Affairs and Sports Department. he tweeted-
So much work planned. News of another transfer. Crash landing again. Vested interests win. Déjà vu. But this is temporary.
Will continue with renewed vigour and energy.
— Ashok Khemka (@AshokKhemka_IAS) November 12, 2017
- When Khemka was in the 4th standard, he memorized every chapter of a book, Radiant Reader; which was an English textbook, just to teach himself English.
- He received the Manjunath Shanmugam Trust Integrity Award For Public Works in 2009.
- Khemka does not like being tagged as the Whistleblower IAS. He tweeted that he was just doing his duty, and not reporting all those irregularities over these years would have been misconduct.
Hurt when labelled whistle-blower officer. I do what is expected of public servants. Not doing so would be misconduct.
— Ashok Khemka (@AshokKhemka_IAS) April 8, 2015
- He received many death threats after he had reported the irregularities in the land deal between Vadra and DLF. On 1 November 2012, he filed an FIR with the Panchkula Police, stating that he received death threats over the phone and has also faced harassment as people would drop blank calls at his home in the middle of the night and even rang the bell and escaped before Khemka could answer the door.
- He has been transferred through 47 departments in his 27-year-long career. All his transfers and postings have been in different departments, with the exception of two postings which he got in the same department.
- When he used to ignore unofficial requests and demands of senior officials, he often used to get transferred with a smaller rank posting, or he would have to give up his official car or official house. He states that he used to be humiliated as he had to work as a lower rank officer.
- In 2011, he was awarded the S.R. Jindal Prize for “Crusader Against Corruption” with a cash prize of INR 10 lakhs; for his efforts in exposing corruption in high places.
- In 2103, Arvind Kejriwal approached him, asking him to join the Aam Admi Party (AAP); because of his clean image and his stance against corruption. Khemka refused, stating that he may join politics only after the age of 60, after the completion of his service.
I invite Ashok khemka to join Aam Admi Party and fight elections against Mr Hooda and defeat him.
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) August 10, 2013
- In 2016, Ashok Khemka topped the Punjab University Law Exam by scoring 166.37 marks and beat more than 4000 Law aspirants who also took the exam for the 3 year LLB course. Khemka stated that he always had an interest in law, and he will be pursuing law as a career once he retires from service.