The Uttar Pradesh chief minister draws analogy between action against official and school kids being punished for doing wrong

A day after suspended IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal was charge-sheeted, an unfazed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav justified the action, saying it was like school kids being “punished by teachers and pulled up by parents for doing wrong.”

“Sarkar mein bhi kuch aisa hae, adhikari agar galat kaam karega to dandit hoga (Similar is the case with the government, any officer who takes a wrong action will be punished),” Mr. Yadav said, implying that the government, convinced that it took the right decision, would not succumb to pressure from the Centre, the powerful IAS lobby and political parties.

The Chief Minister was speaking at a function for schoolchildren at the Indira Gandhi Pratishthan here on Monday. Meanwhile, the suspended bureaucrat was handed over the charge sheet by the chairman of the U.P, Board of Revenue Jagan Mathews on Monday, a day after it was sent to the Board of Revenue office here by the Appointment and Personnel Department.

Ms. Nagpal, who has been attached to the Board of Revenue since her suspension as the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Sadar) of Gautam Buddha Nagar district, has been given 15 days to file a reply.

Mr. Yadav has maintained that action was taken against Ms. Nagpal for arbitrarily ordering the demolition of the wall of a under-construction mosque, and has steadfastly refused to buy the argument that the official was in fact done in by some ruling party leaders with high stakes in illegal sand mining in Noida and Greater Noida.

In fact, the Chief Minister’s justification for suspending the bureaucrat formed the core of the 10-page charge sheet.

Even as Ms. Nagpal was accused of lacking “foresight” and displaying “poor administrative acumen,” she was reportedly asked about “the need to demolish the wall of the mosque during Ramzan in a village [Kadalpur] where 70 per cent of the population are Muslims.” She has been charged with failure in following rules on removing encroachments and has also been accused of not following the “legal procedure” and not taking senior officers “in confidence” before ordering the demolition. Ms. Nagpal has also been reportedly questioned about the timing of her action and was asked if she was aware that a law and order situation would be created.

It is apparent from the charge sheet that no cognisance was taken of Gautam Buddha Nagar District Magistrate K. Ravikant Singh’s report on the issue in which he said the mosque wall was demolished by villagers. This exonerates Ms. Nagpal of all charges, but sources claimed that a separate report was sent to the government by the Commissioner of Meerut Division Manjit Singh. Mr. Singh, it is learnt, was asked to conduct an inquiry into the episode as Gautam Buddha Nagar district comes under the Meerut Division. This report, the sources said, formed the basis of the charge sheet.

Meanwhile, amid the uproar over the bureaucrat’s suspension, the Noida district administration and the police have launched a special drive against the sand mafia. In what is being said a damage control measure in the light of allegations of Samajwadi Party functionaries patronising the mafia, several sand-laden trucks and dumpers were seized and many persons arrested. According to a police spokesman, about 30 trucks and dumpers carrySing sand were seized from Sector 39, Sector 44, Sector 49 and Sector 71 police stations.