SP dares Centre to pull out all IAS officers from U.P.

Amidst escalating tension with the Congress, the Samajwadi Party on Monday declared that the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision on the suspension of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal was “final, correct and irrevocable.”

Miffed at Congress president Sonia Gandhi writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking fair treatment to Ms. Nagpal, the SP — which has a crucial 22-member vote in the Lok Sabha — hinted that the party might even go against the National Food Security Bill in Parliament.

Taking umbrage at the Department of Personnel and Training, nodal authority for administrative matters relating to IAS officers, seeking a report from Uttar Pradesh on its decision, the party dared the Centre to withdraw all IAS officers from the State.

The SP said the Centre seeking a report from the Akhilesh Yadav government amounted to “pressurising” the latter.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister, answering questions on the issue outside Parliament before the start of the session, said: “There are rules laid down. The rules will be followed. We are in touch with the State government to get all the details.”

Minister of State for Personnel and Training V. Narayanasamy told journalists that under Central service rules, a chargesheeted officer could approach the department. [But] “so far, Ms. Nagpal has not approached us.” His remarks came even as the Centre was studying a report sent by the U.P. government.

However, ruling out any possibility of revoking the suspension, SP chief Mulayam Singh told reporters here that Mr. Akhilesh Yadav’s decision was “final and correct.”

“If an officer makes a mistake, he/she is punished. That is how a government works,” Mr. Akhilesh Yadav said at a public function in Uttar Pradesh on Monday, sending across the message that he was not willing to relent despite overwhelming protests.

Rajya Sabha member and SP general secretary Ramgopal Yadav said the party was ready to govern the State without IAS officers. “We will carry on with State [provincial services] civil officers,” he said, adding Ms. Nagpal’s suspension was an administrative matter which should not be politicised.

Speaking outside Parliament, Mr. Yadav said several officers had been suspended during the BSP regime, “and one officer even committed suicide,” but the Centre did not seek any report. What happened now “amounts to interference and pressurising the [SP] government.”

However, the former Chief Minister and BSP supremo Mayawati has come out in support of Ms. Nagpal, saying her suspension is another example of the Akhilesh government’s failure on the law and order front.

Ms. Nagpal, Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar, who led a crackdown on sand mining mafia, was suspended on July 27, reportedly for ordering demolition of a wall of an under-construction mosque without following due process. Ms. Nagpal is a U.P. cadre officer.

In a related development, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has decided to send a team of officers to Noida to determine facts on illegal sand mining.