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From house, car, to separate office: WhatsApp chat reveals trainee IAS officer Puja Khedkar's demands

Despite being offered her own chamber, Khedkar declined it due to the absence of an attached bathroom. Instead, she visited the office with her father, Dilip Khedkar, proposing to use a VIP hall next to the mining department as her cabin.

From house, car, to separate office: WhatsApp chat reveals trainee IAS officer Puja Khedkar's demands AJR
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First Published Jul 11, 2024, 9:33 AM IST

Maharashtra probationary IAS officer Puja Khedkar has been transferred over allegations of power misuse, following demands for a separate office, car, and house, as revealed in her WhatsApp chats with the Pune District Collector. Khedkar made these demands before taking charge as Assistant Collector in Pune.

The District Collector flagged these unusual demands to the Chief Secretary, suggesting that Khedkar's continued training in Pune could lead to administrative complications. Despite being offered her own chamber, Khedkar declined it due to the absence of an attached bathroom. Instead, she visited the office with her father, Dilip Khedkar, proposing to use a VIP hall next to the mining department as her cabin.

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The probationary officer was informed that she was not entitled to such facilities while on probation and that accommodation would be provided. Following the District Collector's report, Khedkar, a 2023-batch IAS officer, has been transferred to Washim district to complete her training as a 'supernumerary Assistant Collector' until July 30, 2025.

Khedkar also faced scrutiny for using her private Audi car with a red-blue beacon light, VIP number plate, and a 'Maharashtra government' board. Controversy deepened when it was revealed that she allegedly submitted fake disability and Other Backward Class (OBC) certificates to clear the civil services examination.

Khedkar had appeared for the civil services exam under the OBC and visually impaired categories, also submitting a mental illness certificate. In April 2022, she was asked to undergo medical tests at AIIMS to verify her disabilities, which she refused on six different occasions. Later, an MRI scanning certificate from a private facility confirmed her IAS appointment.

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Further inconsistencies were found in Khedkar's OBC non-creamy layer status. Her father, Dilip Khedkar, contested the 2024 Lok Sabha polls on a Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi ticket, declaring wealth worth Rs 40 crore in his election affidavit, raising questions about her OBC qualification.

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