UP IAS officer who took on sand mafia suspended

IAS

The Uttar Pradesh government on Sunday suspended an IAS officer who had taken on the sand mafia by clamping down on illegal mining in the Yamuna and Hindon riverbeds over the last few months.

Durga Shakti Nagpal, a 2009-batch IAS officer posted as Sub Divisional Magistrate (Sadar) in Gautam Buddh Nagar, had impounded several trucks engaged in illegal quarrying and registered over 20 FIRs.

The reason cited by the government for the suspension was demolition of a wall at a disputed place of worship. According to a PTI report, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav tweeted, "It is an administrative decision. She had ordered demolition of the wall at a place of worship". In a late night statement, the government said Nagpal's action "lacked foresight and disturbed communal harmony".

According to sources, Nagpal had visited a village in Rabupura area of Greater Noida on Saturday following information that a masjid was being constructed without permission. "Though the masjid was built on private land, no clearance was taken. The building was illegal. While the villagers argued, they did not stand in the way when the structure was brought down," said District Magistrate Ravi Kant. Sources said the more likely reason for the suspension was Nagpal's campaign against the sand mafia, which had reportedly affected some senior politicians. "Some trucks that have been impounded have been traced to senior politicians, including members of the ruling party," said an official on condition of anonymity.

As SDM, Nagpal had constituted several flying squads, and often conducted raids late in the night despite receiving several threats. Nagpal could not be contacted.

Dhirendra Singh, UPCC spokesperson who hails from Rabupura, said the masjid was being built on land owned by the gram sabha of Kadalpur village. "The SDM came and pulled it down, saying it did not have authorisation. No notice was given. We brought this to the notice of the UP government," said Singh.

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