Ashok Khemka

While many 'newsmakers' are catapulted to almost celebrity status overnight for doing hardly anything of acclaim, many others languish in the shadows despite living for others and helping change the lives of the underprivileged. Many of them remain mere footnotes to history, their extraordinary work almost snuffed out before the gale force of petty sensationalism that the world seems to find more 'interesting'. So here is an attempt to honour those who have done some extraordinary and selfless work in the society, bringing joy to hundreds of lives. This is a salute to the unsung heroes of 2012.

He has always been an honest, dedicated IAS officer. But till the Robert Vadra-DLF land deal broke, he was a relatively unknown man. Overnight, Khemka's name was all over the media. It was about time his contribution to cleaning the system was recognized.

Instead of a comfortable life that usually accompanies an IIT graduate, he chose the life of an IAS officer. Since beginning of his career, the 47-year-old has stood his ground, drawing the ire of the powerful. In his 21 years in service, he was transferred a whopping 43 times. Just this one fact alone shows how the corrupt are quick to get rid of him. But this time the world took notice.

In 2008, Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra had purchased a 3.5 acre plot for Rs 7.5 crore. He then sold the land to realty major DLF for Rs 58 crore. On October 8, he questioned the suspicious-looking relationship between Vadra and DLF and sought a list of Vadra's land deals. However, instead of the list, what he got was a transfer order.

After this revelation made headlines, Khemka has been receiving death threats from unknown callers. It was telling how much pressure he was under when he was moved to tears on national television.

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