A woman IAS officer, who had clamped down on illegal mining and resolutely taken headon the powerful sand mafia in Uttar Pradesh, has been suspended barely 10 months after she got her first posting in the state.
A 2009-batch IAS officer posted as Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Gautam Budh Nagar in September last year, 28-year-old Durga Shakti Nagpal was penalised ostensibly for the demolition of a wall at a disputed place of worship.
"It is an administrative decision. She had ordered demolition of the wall at a place of worship," Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said in a post on Sunday on microblogging site twitter.
Slamming the SP government, Opposition parties alleged that the suspension order was made under pressure from the mining mafia.
Reacting sharply to the SDM's suspension, BJP leader Kalraj Mishra said that the action of the state government showed "it is not liking those officers who are leading drives against the mafia".
"What mistake has she made?... It is not understood. But it is felt that she (Durga Shakti) was suspended under the influence of the mafia," he said.
A senior official said, "Durga Shakti Nagpal, the 2009-batch IAS officer posted as SDM (Sadar) of GB Nagar, (was) suspended late Saturday by Uttar Pradesh government after a dispute related to a religious place," a senior official said in Lucknow.
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 unauthorized dredgers.
"The entire district has been affected and illegal mining has become a huge problem. The stakes are too high and those involved get huge monetary returns. The act could lead to serious environmental issues and, therefore, needs to be stopped," she had warned.
A Punjab cadre IAS officer, Nagpal had led the seizure of 24 dumpers engaged in illegal quarrying last week resulting in the arrest of 15 persons.
She came into the spotlight through her no-nonsense, iron-fist approach to stop the illegal operations of the sand mafia in the Noida region.
"We are conducting raids on a daily basis on sand mafia and their units. A list of illegal sand mining units has been prepared and action is being taken against them," she had warned.