Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday justified the suspension of Gautam Buddh Nagar sub-divisional magistrate Durga Shakti Nagpal, saying the step was taken after he was alerted of possible communal tension in the district.
Nagpal, 28, who had cracked down on illegal mining of sand along the Yamuna and Hindon rivers in the district adjoining Delhi, was suspended last Saturday ostensibly for demolishing a wall at a disputed place of worship in Greater Noida.
Yadav, who was in Bengaluru on a private visit, rubbished the opposition’s allegation that the IAS officer was suspended under pressure from the mining mafia.
He told journalists angrily, “Why don’t media people understand the situation? If we take immediate action, then you blame us, and if we don’t, then too you blame us.”
In Lucknow, the UP IAS officers’ association demanded that Nagpal’s suspension be revoked immediately. “We will request chief minister Akhilesh Yadav to reconsider the suspension,” said officiating chief secretary Alok Ranjan, who is also president of the state IAS officers’ association.
Ranjan said this after a delegation of the association met him on Monday morning and told him the suspension of the woman IAS officer was against the All India Service Rules and should be revoked right away.
Sources said the state appointment department may place the issue for reconsideration before the chief minister after his return from Karnataka on Tuesday.
This is the first time during the tenure of the Akhilesh Yadav regime that the association has taken up the suspension of an IAS officer with the state government.
“The association has taken up the issue on its own as no inquiry was conducted against the officer before placing her under suspension. Her senior officers, the divisional commissioner and the district magistrate, have not submitted any report against her. She has also not been indicted in any other inquiry report,” the association said.
A senior office bearer said the suspension was demoralising for IAS officers as Nagpal had taken on the powerful sand mafia in Gautam Buddh Nagar.
In such a scenario, an inquiry should have been conducted or else officers would find it difficult to work in the field and not act on complaints of encroachments, he said.