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Exclusive: 'Non-Creamy Layer' And Rs 22 Crore Assets? The Puja Khedkar Story

Puja Khedkar has been transferred to Washim amid the escalating row

Mumbai:

Trainee IAS officer Puja Khedkar, caught in the middle of a massive controversy over claims she made in her UPSC candidature, has properties worth crores, NDTV has found.

According to Ms Khedkar’s “statement of immovable property for the year 2023”, updated as of January 1, 2024, and exclusively accessed by NDTV, the junior officer owns five plots of land and two apartments across Maharashtra. The value of these assets totals a whopping Rs 22 crore.

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The disclosure lists her as the owner of two plots of land in Pune district’s Mahalunge worth nearly Rs 16 crore, one in Pune district’s Dhadawali worth Rs 4 crore, and two in Ahmednagar’s Pachunde and Nandur worth Rs 25 lakh and Rs 1 crore respectively. The plots in Pachunde and Nandur were a gift from her mother. In all, she owns over 22 acres of land.

She also has two apartments in Ahmednagar and Pune. The 984-square-foot flat in Ahmednagar’s Savedi is worth Rs 45 lakh and the 724-square-foot apartment in Pune’s Kondhwa is worth Rs 75 lakh.

All the assets were acquired between 2014 and 2019 and Ms Khedkar earns Rs 42 lakh annually from them. Moreover, according to Vijay Kumbhar, an RTI activist from Pune, her father has assets worth Rs 40 crore.

Ms Khedkar posed as an OBC non-creamy layer candidate in her UPSC candidature. In Maharashtra, to qualify as an OBC non-creamy layer candidate, the annual income of the applicant’s parents or the yearly income of the family should not be more than Rs 8 lakh.

Ms Khedkar, who had an all-India rank of 841, also claimed visual and mental disability. However, she did not undergo the mandatory medical tests to corroborate her disability claims.

However, in mounting trouble for the new IAS officer, the Centre has formed a single-member panel to verify the “candidature claims and other details” she had submitted. The committee will submit its report in two weeks.

The 2023-batch IAS officer, currently on 24-month probation, is facing serious charges of impropriety and “abuse of power”. It is alleged that she was using a red-blue beacon, VIP number plates, and a “Government of Maharashtra” sticker on her private vehicle, an Audi sedan.

Amid the escalating row, Ms Khedkar has been transferred to Washim.

“Government rules do not allow me to speak anything on this matter. So sorry, I cannot speak,” said Ms Khedkar told the media this morning.