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Pune trainee IAS officer Puja Khedkar transferred to Washim amidst controversy

Pune: Puja Khedkar, a probationary IAS officer who secured an All India rank of 821 in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exams, has been transferred from Pune to the Washim district of Maharashtra after allegations of misusing her authority.
As an assistant collector in Pune, Khedkar was found to have availed facilities not entitled to probationary officers, including allegedly using a red-blue beacon and a "Maharashtra Government" board on her private Audi car.
Additionally, she allegedly occupied the ante-chamber of Additional Collector Ajay More without permission, removed office furniture without consent, and requested unauthorised facilities.
Following a letter from Pune Collector Suhas Divase to the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, Khedkar was transferred to Washim district, where she will complete her probationary period as a supernumerary assistant collector.
It has also been alleged that Khedkar's father, a retired administrative officer who recently contested the Lok Sabha election from the Ahmednagar seat on the Vanchit Aghadi ticket, had exerted pressure on the District Collector's office to fulfil his daughter's demands, adding to the controversy.
Pune RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar also raised questions about Khedkar's appointment alleging that she did not fall under the OBC non-creamy layer as her father had assets worth Rs 40 crore.
"As per the rules, only those come under the OBC non-creme layer category whose parents are under 8 lac per annum of income, but their income shows that it is 40 crore. Her parents contested the recent Lok Sabha polls and all the property details are there in the affidavit," he said.
"Her father, Dilip Khedkar, in his Lok Sabha polls affidavit, showed a conservative estimated wealth of Rs 40 crore and an annual income of Rs 49 lakh. The information is in the public domain. Based on the election affidavit filed by her father in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, the total assets of Khedkar's father amount to Rs 40 crore," Kumbhar claimed.
"This raises the question of how Puja Khedkar could come under the OBC non-creamy layer category. A detailed investigation must be done on how she was appointed as an IAS officer in that category," he said.
Kumbhar says that Puja Khedkar's IAS application and past need to be investigated so that the truth is revealed.
"I did some research and it has been revealed in the research that either Puja Khedekar gave a non-creamy layer certificate or her father had been lying in the election affidavit, whatever it is, all these things need to be investigated and the truth must come to the fore," Kumbhar claimed.
"I also have the information that her father owns 110 acres of land in Maharashtra and as per the Agriculture Land Ceiling Act, a person can not keep more than 54 acres of land here. This also needs to be investigated; the culprit must be punished," said Kumbhar.
Adding further, he said, "Even if Puja Khedkar's parents get divorced, it doesn't make any difference because Pooja Khedkar herself has income worth Rs 17 lakh."
Meanwhile, Khedekar joined in Washim as a supernumerary assistant collector on Wednesday, when she was questioned about the allegations against her she said that she had officially joined her duty in Washim but service rules prevented her from speaking to the media on the issue.

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