Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Narinder Bhati has landed in a controversy after a video purportedly showed him as claiming that he had got UP IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, who clamped down on the mining mafia, transferred in "41 minutes".
The claim was made by Bhati while addressing a rally in Gautam Budh Nagar, two days after he denied his involvement in the suspension of the 28-year-old officer.
"I spoke to Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav at 10.30 AM and at 11 AM the suspension order arrived.... She behaved so badly and couldn't last for 40 minutes after that. Within 41 minutes, the order came from Lucknow and she was suspended," the video showed him as saying.
Nagpal, a 2010 batch IAS officer, was served the suspension order on July 27 ostensibly for demolishing the wall of a mosque.
Bhati, who is also the UP Agro Chairman and enjoys minister status, maintained that permission was not taken to build the wall around the place of worship. The wall was built to allow people to offer Ramzan prayers in a clean environment, he said.
Asked about the video clippings, Bhati said, "Media was highlighting a concocted version. I had said that it was a victory of democracy. SDM's suspension order was issued by state government."
Slamming the Uttar Pradesh government's decision, BJP leader Nitin Gadkari said the attitude of the state authorities is completely oriented towards vote bank politics.
"They are fanning communal and caste-based sentiments. Harassing a good officer for vote bank politics is improper and that is why the IAS Officers Association has opposed the move," he said.
Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi charged the Samajwadi Party with hiding facts in the SDM suspension case due to vote bank politics.
Asking the IAS officer not to lose patience, she said, "The country needs her. She will be a role model for the nation".
A month ago, Nagpal had lodged an FIR against close aide of Bhati in the sand mining case.
District Magistrate Kumar Ravikant Singh in his report to the state government had supported the suspended SDM and said that the wall was demolished by villagers themselves and no JCB machine was put in operation to demolish it.
Bhati had earlier denied his role in her suspension and said he would quit politics if his links to the mining mafia are proved.
The Samajwadi Party leader had said that the state government had suspended Nagpal, who had cracked down