Punjab and Haryana high court stays Khemka’s arrest in Panchkula case

The FIR under the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against the senior IAS officer on the complaint of Sanjeev Verma, the managing director of Haryana State Warehousing Corporation, on April 26 at the Sector-5 police station in Panchkula
The allegations are of making appointments at Haryana State Warehousing Corporation in an illegal and arbitrary manner when senior Haryana IAS officer Ashok Khemka (in photo) served as its managing director 12 years ago. (HT file photo)
The allegations are of making appointments at Haryana State Warehousing Corporation in an illegal and arbitrary manner when senior Haryana IAS officer Ashok Khemka (in photo) served as its managing director 12 years ago. (HT file photo)
Updated on May 17, 2022 01:37 PM IST
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The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday stayed the arrest of senior IAS officer Ashok Khemka in a case registered against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act in Panchkula.

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The high court bench of justice Avneesh Jhingan passed the order on Khemka’s plea.

Though the detailed order is awaited, his lawyer Arshdeep Singh Cheema said, “Acting on the plea, the high court has issued notice of motion and stayed his arrest.”

The FIR was registered on the complaint of Sanjeev Verma, the managing director of the Haryana State Warehousing Corporation (HSWC), on April 26 at the Sector-5 police station in Panchkula.

The allegations are of making appointments at HSWC in an illegal and arbitrary manner when Khemka served as its MD.

The plea says other members of the screening committee who selected candidates were left out and only the petitioner was roped in as accused. The FIR was registered without the approval of the competent authority under Section 17-A of PC Act, 1988, which is a statutory requirement of protection given to a public servant. Allegations in the FIR, even if taken to true did not constitute offence under any penal provision, especially when issuance of appointments by the petitioner was merely a follow-up ministerial act, pursuant to the selection finalised by the executive committee, the plea said.

It argues that same set of allegations have been inquired into by the police in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and no cognizable or any other offence was concluded to be found out.

“The timing of the extremely vexatious complaint on April 11 for 12-year-old allegations, immediately upon Verma’s appointment as HSWC MD on April 8 and vindictiveness of his action towards maligning the petitioner’s reputation by misusing official position as MD, warrants immediate indulgence of high court,” it was stated.

Verma, too, was booked on Khemka’s complaint. The criminal case against him has been registered under the sections pertaining to a public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury, threatening any person to give false evidence, using as true a certificate known to be false, and criminal conspiracy.

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