Punjab and Haryana high court stays Khemka’s arrest in Panchkula case
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.
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.
For the uninitiated, Dhan Mill Compound, a former granary and a cluster of warehouses, has morphed into the city’s modish food, fashion, design and lifestyle destination. Its streets are lined with art cafes, home décor outlets, ateliers, art galleries, pottery studios, dance halls and high-end boutiques, whose facades and interiors are as interesting and experimental as the wares they deal in. Interestingly, all of these fancy establishments are housed in re-purposed warehouse buildings, which still have metal roofs.
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Safdarjung, Delhi’s base weather station, recorded 0.1mm of rainfall between 8:30am and 5:30pm on Sunday. The Capital recorded 1.9mm of rainfall on Saturday and 117.2mm on Friday, making the monthly total 119.2mm so far. The normal monthly average for July is 210.6mm, said weather experts.
Monsoon elevates Adam Khan’s tomb into an emergency sanctuary for passersby (and dogs) speared by sudden showers. Perched atop a Mehrauli hillock, the monument overlooks the Qutub Minar, which appears totally bechara and defenceless in the heavy rain.