Hailing from Chhatisgarh, Durga Shakti Nagpal, 28, had always been a bright child. After she graduated in computer science from IP University’s Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women, she decided to stay back to prepare for the civic services.
Staying in a rented accommodation in north Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar, she cracked the exam in 2009. “She stood first in her graduation, and secured an all India rank of 20 out of 875 candidates in the UPSC examinations,” said a close relative.
While in Delhi, she met her future husband Abhishek Singh, who was also preparing for the same exam. “They fell in love and after both got into the elite services, they got married,” said another close relative.
Initially assigned to the Punjab cadre, she got it changed after the marriage as Singh was working in UP. After her cadre change, Durga got a posting at Gautam Budh Nagar district as SDM (Sadar), Greater Noida. Her husband Abhishek Singh is currently posted as executive officer in Dadri Municipality.
The couple stays in a group housing society in Greater Noida.
“Upright and fearless”, as many of her colleagues in Punjab put it, Nagpal took keen interest in uprooting the sand mafia. “She was quite concerned about the environment and would give out-of-box ideas to curb the menace,” recalled a Punjab officer.
“She is a brave, upright, courageous and sharp officer. I admire her action against the sand mafia,” said SP Singh a retired army officer, who knows her personally.
Due to her crackdown against the sand mafia, the UP government earned Rs. 54.3 lakh as fine in just five months. “She got 17 FIRs lodged against the sand mining mafia, seized 274 dumpers, four earthmoving machines and four dozen tractors,” said an official.
Nagpal’s father-in-law Kripa Shanker Singh, himself a retired UP cadre IPS officer, appealed to the UP government to display a little leniency in her case. “She is a young officer, and has the zeal to serve the country,” he added.
(With inputs by Shailee Dogra, Chandigarh)