“Will Talk To Collector Sir…”: Trainee IAS Officer Puja Khedkar’s WhatsApp Chats

Puja Khedkar, the on-probation civil services officer under scrutiny after allegedly lying – about visual and mental disabilities and her OBC background – to secure a range of perks not allowed for junior staffers, exchanged multiple WhatsApp messages with the Pune Collector’s office before her posting and demanded confirmation of her “seating arrangement and vehicle”.

A preliminary report from the Collector’s Office included three screenshots of messages between Ms Khedkar and an unidentified individual, including impatient and pushy responses.

One of the first messages appears to be Ms Khedkhar introducing herself the officer.

‘Hello, Dr Puja Khedkar IAS here. I have been posted as Asst collector pune. Dr Diwase sir gave me ur contact number. I would be joining on June 3rd. However, some of my documents sent from Buldhana collector office to pune I am not able to locate in our office. Kindly let me know what can be done…”

The response was: “Ok. No issue. On Monday we can trace.”

Ms Khedkar then demanded details about her office and a government car, “so I can arrange accordingly”. This too, she was told, would be “discussed with collector sir on Monday”.

NDTV Explains | Who Is Puja Khedkar? What’s The Controversy She’s Embroiled In?

On May 23 an apparently impatient Ms Khedkar messaged, “Any update about accommodation, travel, cabin, etc?” There was no reply. The next day she texted “Kindly respond. It’s important”.

She was told “Good morning… We will check as you arrive”.

At this point Ms Khedkar seemed to get annoyed, and shot back, “I think it shld be done before I join not after… I have a lot of things to plan accordingly n cannot leave it to later.”

Ms Khedkar then, after phone calls went unanswered, said, “Is there any problem in calling back?”

Four days later she sent an ultimatum of sorts. “Pls get the designated cabin n vehicle done before I join on 3rd. Later there will be no time. If it is not possible let me know, I will talk to collector sir accordingly…”

The exhaustive report by the Collector’s office also says Ms Khedkar demanded a house.

READ | Trainee IAS Officer Puja Khedkar Wanted House, Car Before Joining: Sources

A 2023-batch IAS officer, Ms Khedkar faces multiple allegations, including lying about her OBC status, and using a siren (a red beacon reserved for VIP government vehicles) and a ‘Government of Maharashtra’ for her private vehicle, a luxury Audi sedan.

READ | Trainee IAS Officer, Who Used Siren On Private Car, Claimed Mental Disability

She was also found using Additional Collector Ajay More’s office while he was away. She reportedly removed office furniture and even demanded letterheads.

None of these facilities are available to junior staff, who are on probation for 24 months.

READ | Pune Trainee IAS Officer, Who Used Red Beacon On Private Audi, Transferred

Reports suggest her father, a retired officer, had pushed for her demands to be fulfilled.

Ms Khedkar was transferred to Washim after Pune Collector Suhas Divase complained to the Maharashtra Chief Secretary. “The 2023 batch IAS officer will serve the remaining period of her probation as Supernumerary Assistant Collector in Washim district,” the order stated.

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