NEARLY 18 years after an encounter in Kolkata’s Park Street area, in which four suspected criminals were killed and two arrested by a team of newly-formed Special Task Force (STF), two IPS officers from the same team would be awarded the President’s Police Medal for gallantry this Independence Day.
Superintendents of Police Rajesh Kumar Pandey and Umesh Kumar Singh were both deputy SPs in the STF in December 1998, when they led a team to Kolkata, where wanted criminals from Uttar Pradesh were reportedly present. While Pandey is currently the SP of the UP Anti-Terrorism Squad, Singh is the Hardoi SP.
Among the four killed in the encounter were Guddu Ghoshi, who had a Rs 20,000 reward on his head. Those arrested were Satya Prakash Tiwari and Manjit Singh, who had a reward of Rs 1 lakh on him. Police had also recovered two revolvers, a pistol and cartridges. The encounter had come just a few months after the formation of the STF in May, 1998, to fight organised crimes.
When contacted, Singh said the encounter was one of the first by the STF outside UP. “It was a big success for the STF,” he added.
Asked why the recognition took so long, he said: “The encounter was earlier recommended for award but the Kolkata Police, which had conducted a magisterial inquiry into the encounter, had withheld its clean chit. Later, the matter was put in cold storage. Recently, the file was revived and it was cleared for recommendation.”
Two more IPS officers are also scheduled to get the President’s Police Medal for gallantry. They are IG Binod Kumar Singh, who is the personal secretary to the Home Minister, and G K Goswamy, the CBI DIG. Binod Kumar Singh, along with two ASPs and an inspector in his team, would be awarded for leading an encounter in Bareilly’s Izzatnagar area in November 2008, when wanted criminal Hasin alias Bunty was killed and a kidnapped person rescued.
Goswamy had led an encounter in Moradabad in June 2005, when two criminals — Jameel and Ali Mohammad — were killed. Jameel, who had a reward of Rs 20,000 on him, was booked in 42 cases and Ali Mohammad was involved in eight. Goswamy will be given the medal along with two inspectors who were part of the operation.