Delhi DCP Rajesh Deo among 121 recipients of MHA award
Officers linked to high-profile probes in the 2018 Elgar Parishad case, the 2020 Delhi riots case, the murder of rationalists in Maharashtra and Karnataka between 2013 and 2017 and the 2019 Muzaffarpur shelter home abuse case were among 121 recipients of the Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation for 2020 announced on Wednesday.
The officers include 15 people from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), 10 each from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, eight from Uttar Pradesh, and seven each from Kerala and West Bengal, a Union home ministry statement said. Rajnath Singh introduced the medal in 2018 when he was the Union home minister to promote professional standards in investigations and to recognise excellence by investigating officers.
CBI additional superintendent, Subhash Ramrup Singh, was awarded for his role in finding the pistol suspected to have been used in rationalist Narendra Dabholkar’s 2013 murder from the Arabian sea this year with the help of Norwegian divers. The ballistic report of the pistol is pending. Singh also investigated murders of writer MM Kalburgi (killed in 2015), journalist Gauri Lankesh (killed in 2017), and politician Govind Pansare (killed in 2015). Investigating agencies have claimed that all the murders were linked.
Delhi Police deputy commissioner, Rajesh Deo, who is investigating cases related to the Delhi riots in February, was another recipient. Among the cases he is handling is one involving Jawaharlal Nehru University student Sharjeel Imam, who is jail on sedition charges for allegedly inciting people at anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests.
Deo was in the news before the 2020 Delhi assembly elections when the Election Commission (EC) barred him from poll duty after he was quoted in the media linking a riot accused to a political party. The EC called the comments “uncalled for” and said they have consequences “for holding of free and fair elections”. Deo is also investigating the fire at Delhi’s Anaj Mandi in December that left at least 45 people dead.
Pune assistant commissioner Shivaji Pawar was one of the awardees from Maharashtra. Pawar was the investigating officer in the Elgar Parishad case when the Pune (city) police was leading the probe into the violence that broke out in Bhima Koregaon village on January 1, 2018. Pawar led the team that carried out nationwide searches and arrested left-leaning activists, and filed charge sheets arguing that the activists were conspiring with Maoists to fuel violence. The probe is now being carried out by the National Investigation Agency.
Another CBI officer Vibha Kumari, who probed Bihar’s Muzaffarpur shelter home abuse scandal, was also among the awardees. The evidence Kumari gathered led to the conviction of the main accused in the case, Brajesh Thakur, and 11 others. All 12 were sentenced to life imprisonment in February this year.
CBI’s superintendent Cephas Kalyan Pakerla from Hyderabad was awarded the medal for his investigation into the i-Monetary Advisory scam. As part of the scam, a large number of investors were allegedly duped in the name of higher returns using Islamic banking methods.