The ruling mafia
Honesty is a very fragile commodity in our trouble-torn society, which undercuts the problematic world and sells life at a premium- borrowing the...
Honesty is a very fragile commodity in our trouble-torn society, which undercuts the problematic world and sells life at a premium- borrowing the famous expression of Christopher Fry. It is a pity that a 28 year old IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, Durga Shakti Nagpal, who stood 20th in the All-India rankings, had to learn this lesson the hard way.
In a state where sycophancy is the order of the day, where her seniors practiced the well-groomed hypocrisy as a fine art, by cleaning the shoes of the political bosses in public glare, here is a young girl who walked out of the portals of a university, chose to take up cudgels against one of the most powerful and vicious mafia of this country, which survives hand and glove with its rulers.
There are three important axioms propounded by the ruling leadership of Uttar Pradesh in no unambiguous terms:
"As long as you work hard and get things done, you can steal a little."
-Shivpal Singh Yadav
“You can loot in Lord Ram’s name. After all, everybody has a right on the natural resources.’’ -Azam Khan
“You can do or undo anything. But never-repeat-NEVER poke your nose in a ruling party leader’s activity.’’ A message by ruling SP party by precept.
It is Arun Bhatia, the president of People’s Guardian Party and former IAS officer, who said that IAS officers have become chamchas of the ruling class. Uttar Pradesh has an unassailable and dubious distinction of suspending IAS officers at the drop of a hat. Dozens of them either have been shunted from place to place or suspended for doing their duty.
Here is the present case. When Durga Shakti Nagpal had been posted as Sub-divisional Magistrate of Gautam Buddha Nagar of Greater Noida, she went after illegal miners seizing 24 lorries involved in illegal mining from April to June. Under her watchful eye, the mining department impounded 297 vehicles and collected a fine of over Rs 80 lakh. The mining mafia is controlled by Narender Bhati, an SP leader, who was naturally aggrieved and waited for an opportunity to hit back.
When she was asked by her superiors to visit Kadalpur village where - a wall was being constructed illegally at a religious structure on government land, she gave the villagers two options- either to seek permission to go ahead with construction or dismantle the construction altogether. The villagers chose the latter on their own volition. The District Magistrate said that there was neither a communal outrage nor a travesty of justice. Police records contradict the government’s contention. And yet the officer was suspended by an order at 1:27AM, the early hours of Sunday for inflaming communal tensions! What was more the perpetrator Narender Bhati bragged in a public meeting, with a gleeful smile that he got this officer’s suspension in just 41 minutes, in the wee hours of the night!
This poor novice in bureaucracy should have taken a lesson or two from her illustrious predecessors. For instance Padam Singh, a senior IPS officer-deputy superintendent of Police cleaned the soiled sandals of Her Majesty Mayawati at Naunakpur village, when he was immediately rewarded with a two year extension in the state service. Sycophancy touches new low in Uttar Pradesh as an on duty cop and city magistrate were seen touching the feet of former leader of opposition and current minister in the UP cabinet Shivpal Yadav, uncle of the present Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
While Sonia Gandhi wrote to PM to look into the matter, SP government chose to make it a prestige issue and charge sheeted the officer. Congress needs the support of SP for passing the food security bill in the parliament session starting today. It is unfortunate that in the cross fire of political equations between to erring parties; the career of an honest officer has become the casualty.
Another glaring misuse of power was regarding Ashok Khemka, an IAS officer of 1991 batch. He was transferred – a record 43 times in 21 years- i.e., a transfer for every 6 months for honestly discharging his duties. As the Director General of Land Consolidation and Land records of Haryana, he found serious irregularities in the land deals of congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son-in-law Robert Vadra. Consequently he was demoted five ranks below the Deputy Secretary. Another IAS officer C Uma- shankar was transferred only 19 times. Two transfers were given in a matter of 108 days! Ashok Khemka lamented that such honest officer (meaning Durga Shakti Nagpal) should be protected and her moral strength should be fortified for doing her duty.
This act is a cruel exercise to break the resolve of an honest officer, who is at the portals of her career and aimed at instilling fear among officers, in general. What has been gratifying is the fact that a very important luminary and advocate of Supreme Court Ram Jethmalani came on a TV channel and offered to take up the case of Durga Shakti Nagpal free of cost.
Restraining honest officers is not new in North India. Public memory must bring forth the brutal lynching of IAS officer, Gopalganj District Magistrate in Bihar, G. Krishnayya belonging to a very poor labourer’s family of Andhra Pradesh. While he was returning from an official duty near Khaabra Village on national highway in 1994, Janata Dal-United leader Anand Mohan Singh and his wife Lovely Anand along with several armed henchmen intercepted the officer’s vehicle, dragged him out of the vehicle and shot him point blank. When he was bleeding and still surviving, they killed him with boulders. And then the killing of DSP Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq and two others by former Kunda MLA and minister in Utter Pradesh Raja Bhaiyya and his goons?
Who can forget the cruel nemesis of another upright officer , a Deputy Inspector General of Police (Fire Services) DD Mishra, evicted from office and sent to a mental hospital for accusing the then Chief Minister Mayawati of corruption?
In a country, where 74 percent of the people with criminal records are being elected to the power centres making 1000 per cent increase in their incomes-no wonder we have Krishnayyas, Mishras, Khemkas, Umashankars and Durga Shaktis being victimized and some of them being sent to mental hospitals. No wonder- honesty is shunted to lunatic asylum while power-hungry lunatics are ruling the roost in this country.