Misuse of power, trainee IAS officer Puja Khedkar

New details have emerged about Puja Khedkar, an on-probation IAS officer in Maharashtra, who was recently transferred over allegations of power misuse. This situation has stirred significant attention due to the severity of the accusations and the implications for the civil services in India.

Background on Puja Khedkar

Puja Khedkar, a 2023-batch IAS officer, has had an impressive academic and professional journey leading up to her current position. However, her career is now mired in controversy due to allegations that question her integrity and adherence to official protocols.

Allegations of Misuse of Power

One of the primary allegations against Khedkar involves her request for a separate house and car from the Pune District Collector before she officially took charge as an assistant collector. This request was seen as an overreach, as such perks are typically not granted to officers on probation.

Additionally, Khedkar allegedly used a siren, VIP number plates, and a “Government of Maharashtra” sticker on her private luxury sedan. These actions were seen as an attempt to project undue authority and privilege, which are not sanctioned for someone of her rank and position.

Incidents at Pune Additional Collector’s Office

Khedkar’s controversial actions extended to using the office of Pune Additional Collector Ajay More while he was away. Reports suggest that she removed office furniture and even demanded official letterheads, further demonstrating a misuse of power and disregard for standard procedures.

Probation Period Regulations

IAS officers are subject to strict regulations during their probation period, which lasts for 24 months. These rules are designed to ensure that junior officers gain necessary experience and adhere to the ethical standards expected of civil servants. Khedkar’s actions, as alleged, clearly violate these regulations.

Role of Her Father in the Allegations

Khedkar’s father, a retired administrative officer, reportedly played a significant role in pushing for her demands to be fulfilled. His involvement raises questions about nepotism and undue influence in the administrative processes.

Transfer to Washim

Following the complaints and allegations, Khedkar was transferred to Washim. Pune Collector Suhas Divase lodged a formal complaint with the Chief Secretary of the Maharashtra government, prompting this transfer. The transfer is seen as a disciplinary action to curb her alleged misuse of power.

Selection Process Controversies

Controversies surrounding Khedkar’s selection process have also come to light. She claimed OBC (Other Backward Classes) status and alleged disabilities to avail concessions in the selection process. However, she refused to undergo mandatory medical tests to confirm her disabilities, which casts doubt on the legitimacy of her claims.

Medical Test Avoidance

Khedkar reportedly skipped the required medical tests five times and only partially attended a sixth, avoiding the MRI test to assess vision loss. This avoidance suggests a possible attempt to manipulate the selection process to her advantage.

Union Public Service Commission’s Challenge

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), responsible for recruiting officers for civil services, challenged Khedkar’s selection. A tribunal ruled against her in February 2023, yet she managed to confirm her civil service appointment despite these setbacks.

Confirmation of Civil Service Appointment

Despite scoring a relatively low all-India rank of 841 in the highly competitive Civil Services Exam, Khedkar’s appointment was confirmed. This has raised questions about the integrity and transparency of the selection process.

Public and Media Reaction

The public and media have reacted strongly to the allegations against Khedkar. Many are outraged by the perceived abuse of power and the potential implications for the reputation of IAS officers. Media coverage has been extensive, highlighting various aspects of the controversy.

Implications for the Civil Services

This situation has significant implications for the civil services in India. It highlights potential loopholes in the selection process and raises concerns about the enforcement of ethical standards among IAS officers. There may be calls for reforms to prevent similar incidents in the future.


The case of Puja Khedkar is a stark reminder of the importance of integrity and adherence to ethical standards in public service. While the allegations against her are serious, they also provide an opportunity to reflect on and improve the processes that govern the selection and conduct of civil servants in India.

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