Greater Noida: IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, widely believed to have been suspended for taking on a mafia illegally extracting sand from river beds, was always concerned about environment.
So say those who have known her for long in Noida, a region bordering Delhi where some influential politicians are said to be in collusion with the sand mafia.
"Upright and fearless" -- is how an officer, who has known the 28-year-old Nagpal, described her to IANS.
According to the officer, she took a keen interest in uprooting the sand mafia. "She was quite concerned about the environment and initiated action to curb the menace."
A family friend added that Nagpal, who is now viewed as a crusader against corruption, hailed from Chhattisgarh and had always been "a bright child".
After completing her B Tech (Computer Science) from IP University`s Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women with first division, she stayed back in Delhi to prepare for the civil services.
She stayed in a rented accommodation in Mukherjee Nagar in north Delhi and passed the civil services examination in 2009. She was ranked 20 out of 875.
When she was in Delhi, she met her future husband, Abhishek Singh, who was also preparing for the civil services examination. Both got selected and got married, said a close relative.
Initially assigned to the Punjab cadre, Nagpal got her first posting as sub divisional magistrate (SDM) at Mohali.
But she changed her cadre to Uttar Pradesh after marriage as Abhishek Singh was working in that state.
After her cadre changed, Durga was posted in Ghaziabad as an SDM in September 2012, and then posted as SDM (Sadar) in Greater Noida in Gautam Budh Nagar district.
Her husband is currently executive officer in the Dadri Municipal Council. The couple stay in a group housing society in Greater Noida.
The officer got 17 FIRs lodged against the sand mining mafia, seized 274 dumpers, four earthmoving machines and four dozen tractors, an official said.
Nagpal`s father-in-law, Kripa Shanker Singh, is a retired Uttar Pradesh cadre Indian Police Service officer.
Nagpal was suspended July 28 after she inspected an under-construction mosque in Kadalpur village in Rabupura area of Greater Noida. Its construction had not been cleared by the government.
It is alleged that Samajwadi Party leader Narendra Bhati, who has a cabinet minister rank, was frustrated by the drive against illegal mining and boasted that he got Nagpal abruptly suspended.
Several serving and retired IAS officers have come out in support of Nagpal and have asked the chief secretary to revoke her suspension.