A video purportedly showing a senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader claiming he got IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal suspended in "just 41 minutes" has put the Uttar Pradesh government in a tight spot.
The video comes after Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav firmed up his stance in the matter of the official's suspension, and said there was no question of revoking the order served to the officer.
The video shows Narendra Bhati, agro chairman who enjoys minister status in the state, telling supporters in the Greater Noida region that he rang up chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav at around 10.30am and by 11.11am suspension orders were served to Nagpal.
This showed the "power of democracy", said the leader, who is also the SP candidate from Noida for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.
Bhati has been in the eye of a storm ever since Nagpal was suspended last week, as it is alleged that he was behind serving her the orders, under pressure from the sand mining mafia against whom she had earlier clamped down.
BJP legislator from Noida Mahesh Sharma has also alleged that Bhati was hand-in-glove with the mining mafia and has asked for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into his alleged links with the mining mafia.
As soon as the video surfaced, opposition parties pounced on the UP government.
The IAS officials in the state are angry with the government for punishing an honest official. Some officials of the IAS association had on Thursday petitioned the union government to intervene and revoke the suspension of the officer.