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Controversial IAS Officer Puja Khedkar Joins Duty In Washim After Transfer

Puja Khedkar, surrounded by a controversy over her VIP demands and accusations of misusing benefits under a quota to secure a position in the Indian Administrative Services, was shunted to Washim.

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Puja Khedkar repeatedly demanded that she be provided a separate cabin, car, residential quarters and a peon. Photo: X/@Normal_2610
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IAS officer Puja Khedkar, surrounded by a controversy over her VIP demands and accusations of misusing benefits under a quota to secure a position in the Indian Administrative Services, on Thursday took charge as an assistant collector at the Washim District Collectorate in Vidarbha region.

Instead of the swanky Audi car with beacon during her tenure in Pune, Puja Khedkar was on Thursday seen getting off a more humble Bolero car provided by the district administration.

Puja Khedkar was shunted to Washim after Pune district collector Suhas Diwase wrote to state additional chief secretary Nitin Gadre requesting him to consider giving a posting to Khedkar in another district to avoid “administrative complications”.

Purported leaked WhatsApp messages cited in media reports claimed to show Khedkar requesting special arrangements, including a designated vehicle, prior to her posting.

Diwase had sought action against Khedkar for her behaviour, including aggressive treatment of junior staff, her demands, illegal occupation of the ante-chamber of additional collector Ajay More, and violations pertaining to sporting a red beacon on the Audi and flashing it during the day, among others.

Puja Khedkar On Controversy

Puja Khedkar refused to comment on the claims that she used illegal means to clear her civil services exam. Asked about the allegations against her, Khedkar told reporters, “I am not authorised to speak on the issue. Government rules don’t provide (allow) me to speak on this.”

Khedkar (32), is accused of allegedly misusing benefits under the physical disabilities category and other backward class (OBC) quota to secure a position in the IAS.

“I am happy to join duty at the Washim District Collectorate and am looking forward to working here,” the probationary officer of the 2023 IAS batch said.

An official said the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has sought a report on the matter from the Pune collector. Centre on Tursday reportedly formed a single-member panel to investigate Khedkar's claims of being visually and mentally challenged.

When Pune police officials went to Khedkar’s bungalow in Pune on Thursday to inspect the Audi car over the violations on beacon and VIP number, they found the bungalow gates locked. A Marathi news channel showed her mother, who was inside the gate, trying to shoo away their camera team from the spot.

(with PTI inputs)

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