Coming out in support of suspended Uttar Pradesh IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, Congress President Sonia Gandhi has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure that the officer is not unfairly treated.
In a letter to the prime minister, Gandhi said there is widespread concern that the officer in the course of her public duties was seen to be standing up against vested interests engaging in illegal activity.
"We must ensure that the officer is not unfairly treated," she told the prime minister.
Nagpal had shot into limelight by acting against the powerful sand mafia in the state.
In the letter written by her as the chairperson of the National Advisory Council, Gandhi asked Dr Singh to focus on the issues highlighted by the present case.
A 2010 batch IAS officer, 28-year-old Nagpal was suspended on July 27 as sub-divisional magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar District for allegedly ordering the demolition of a wall of a mosque, on the ground that it could have triggered communal tension.
Nagpal, whose cadre was changed to Uttar Pradesh from Punjab in August last year, is attached to the Board of Revenue in Lucknow.
Earlier in the day, Dr Singh had declined to answer queries about Nagpal when reporters asked him about it, after the all-party meeting called by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath had replied in the negative when asked whether the issue of problems faced by an officer in a state can be raised in Parliament.
Speaking separately, Samajwadi Party Member of Parliament Shailendra Kumar indicated that the issue is being resolved.
"This issue is under the consideration of the state leadership. She has met the chief secretary. Some way will be found out, the issue is gradually being resolved," he said.
To a specific question whether the suspension is likely to be revoked, Kumar merely said, "some way will be found."
Gandhi's letter to the prime minister has come amid growing demand for revoking the suspension of the IAS officer.
The Centre had earlier said that it was awaiting a report from the UP government, based on which it will decide the future course of action.
"We are awaiting a report from the Uttar Pradesh government. As per the rules, the state government needs to send a report (on suspension of an officer) to the Centre, which is awaited," Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy had said.
He said the future course of action will depend on the UP administration's report.
This is the letter written by Gandhi
Dear Prime Minister,
It is reported that Ms Durga Shakti Nagpal, a young IAS officer of UP has been hastily suspended for unsubstantiated reasons. There is widespread concern because the officer, in the course of her public duty, was seen to be standing up to vested interests engaging in illegal activity.
We must ensure that the officer is not unfairly treated. At the same time, this particular instance has highligted the need to assess whether there are adequate safeguards in place
to protect executive functionaries working beyond the average call of duty to uphold the law.
The implementation machinery must feel that the conditions are conducive to the delivery of public services without fear or favour. I know that some good beginnings have been made towards administrative reforms, but the issues that have come to be profiled in Ms Nagpal's case also need focus.