Lucknow, July 29;IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, who was leading crackdown on sand mafia and was shunted out by the Uttar Pradesh government, on Monday met the officiating chief secretary and demanded revocation of her suspension order.
Ms. Nagpal was accompanied by members of the IAS association.
Predictably, the Uttar Pradesh government’s action has invited the ire across the political spectrum.
“We went to meet the chief secretary and demanded revocation of the suspension. He said he will look into it,” secretary of the IAS association, Parthsarathi Sen Sharma said.
Officiating Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan said the matter would be placed before Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Mr. Yadav has gone to Bangalore, where he and his father and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav are scheduled to address a rally.
The 2009-batch IAS officer, posted as Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Gautam Budh Nagar, had clamped down on illegal mining and taken on powerful sand mafia in Uttar Pradesh. She was suspended barely 10 months after she got her first posting in the state.
Justifying the suspension of 28-year-old Ms. Nagpal, the government said in a statement that she was suspended for getting a wall at a disputed place of worship removed without following legal process.
“SDM Nagpal has been suspended for getting wall of a mosque removed without following legal process in an unforesighted manner which affected the communal atmosphere,” a government spokesman had said here.
He said during suspension, Ms. Nagpal would remain attached to the Revenue Board.
Slamming the SP government, Opposition parties had alleged that the suspension order was made under pressure from the mining mafia.
Ms. Nagpal had led a crackdown on unauthorised mining in the district and got over two dozen FIRs registered against those involved in illegally removing sand.
Special flying squads were formed by her to stop the raging menace along the Yamuna and Hindon rivers in western UP.
Only last week, the officer had asserted that there will be no let-up in the fight against unauthorised dredgers.
Digvijay slams UP government
Slamming the suspension of a woman IAS officer, who had clamped down on illegal mining in Uttar Pradesh, Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Monday charged that the sand mafia is running governments in UP and Madhya Pradesh.
“Sand Mafia is operating not only under the present government in UP but even under the previous regime. This is the same sand mafia, which is working in Madhya Pradesh.
“The sand mafia is running governments in UP and MP,” Mr. Singh told reporters here.
SP is supporting the UPA government from outside.
“It is an administrative decision. She had ordered demolition of the wall at a place of worship,” Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had said on Twitter.
Action shows govt dislike for honest officials: BJP
Reacting sharply to the SDM’s suspension, BJP leader Kalraj Mishra had said that the action of the state government showed “it is not liking those officers who are leading the drive against the mafia“.
The party alleged that the Akhilesh Yadav government took the step due to “vote bank” politics.
“A woman officer was suspended. Everybody is saying she was very honest. The reason was vote bank politics. She had prevented some illegal construction at a place of worship,” Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley said addressing party workers here.
Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, who took on the sand mining mafia in Greater Noida (Gautam Budh Nagar), was suspended Sunday. The UP government has, however, cited a different reason for her suspension. It said she was suspended for ordering demolition of a wall of a religious place in Noida.
Mr. Jaitley, leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, also hit out at the Congress for also indulging in vote-bank politics. Citing the Batla House shootout, he alleged that Congress leaders had gone to Azamgarh to the houses of youths who were accused of being terrorists.
“People in this government try to link the security issues of the country with vote banks,” he said accusing the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of having made the country “weak”.
He asked BJP workers to ensure that the country is freed from the clutches of the Congress rule, saying this was what every citizen wants.
Politics has turned dirty, says Kejriwal
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal on Monday came out in support of suspended Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Durga Shakti Nagpal by saying that the decision of the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP) Government in Uttar Pradesh clearly suggests that politics and politicians are turning dirty.
Mr. Kejriwal maintained that whistleblowers and honest officers are not allowed to do their job freely.
“Whatever took place with Durgaji is extremely wrong. She was raising her voice and acting against the sand mafia, this was her duty. How many officers are there in the country who work honestly against corruption today? The government should be supporting these officers instead of suspending her,” he said.
She was removed, ostensibly for ordering the demolition of a mosque being built illegally on government land.
The Samajwadi Party Government has described the suspension of the 2009-batch IAS officer as an ‘administrative decision’, as her orders to demolish a mosque could cause communal tension.
Several IAS officers have now come out in support of Ms. Nagpal, and asked the Chief Secretary to revoke her suspension.
The Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan has said the decision will be reviewed, after the IAS officers’ association protested.