A day after she met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, suspended IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal was on Sunday reinstated. An official spokesman said Ms. Nagpal’s suspension has been revoked by the government but she has not been given a fresh posting.
The 2010 batch officer was the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Sadar) in Gautam Buddha Nagar district when she was suspended for ordering the demolition of the wall of an under-construction mosque in Kadalpur village on July 27.
Ms. Nagpal’s meeting with Mr. Yadav at his official residence on Saturday where she not only clarified her position on the demolition order, but also apologised to the Chief Minister, had paved the way for her reinstatement. Official sources said Mr. Yadav was satisfied with the explanation.
The officer’s suspension on the night of July 27 sparked a nationwide outcry with charges flying thick and fast that she had been punished for taking on the powerful and politically well-connected sand mining mafia in Gautam Buddha Nagar district, and the charges of ordering the demolition of the mosque wall were just an alibi.
The sand mafia, which operated along the Yamuna and Hindon rivers in Noida and Greater Noida, was feeling the heat after several dumpers were seized by the police.
However, the Chief Minister maintained that the officer was suspended for arbitrarily ordering the demolition of the mosque wall. Mr. Yadav said her action threatened to destroy the communal atmosphere in the region. The Chief Minister was criticised by the Opposition parties for suspending the officer on allegedly flimsy grounds.
Ms. Nagpal’s case was taken up by the Central IAS Association, which petitioned the Union Ministry of Personnel. Incidentally, the UP IAS Association after petitioning the acting Chief Secretary, Alok Ranjan, kept silent even as the controversy raged with Samajwadi Party national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav reportedly stating that if the Centre wanted it could withdraw the IAS officers.
The Chief Minister’s decision to suspend the officer had found support from the Samajwadi Party leadership, including his father, Mulayam Singh. In Greater Noida, SP candidate from Gautam Buddha Nagar Narendra Singh Bhati boasted in a village meeting how he managed to get Ms. Nagpal suspended.