In 2005,the President awarded him the Indian Police Medal for his extraordinary capabilities. Three years later,the Mayawati government suspended him for negligence,indifference and inaction.
Dhirendra Kumar Rai,DSP,spent four years under suspension until it was revoked by the Samajwadi Party government last week. Before that,he had won many rewards for his excellent performance over a career that began as a sub-inspector in 1976 awards,cash prizes and a tenure of seven years with the CBI.
So what had Rai done to be declared negligent by the Mayawati government?
During his stint with the CBI between 1999 and 2006,he was one of the officers investigating the disproportionate assets case against Mayawati. He not only unearthed a huge,allegedly disproportionate amount of property but also interrogated her in 2005.
Though several officials including an additional SP went to Mayawatis home in Delhi on May 10,2005,it was Rai who,CBI sources recall,was assigned the task of questioning her. He also searched her house at 13 Mal Avenue,Lucknow,and spoke to several members of her family as well as BSP founder Kanshi Rams sisters in connection with the case.
Rai went on unearth what is often referred to as Mayawatis gift theory. He found that Mayawati claimed to have got gifts in the form of money from several people including Kanshi Rams three sisters. His investigations also uncovered wealth in the name of the wife of Siddharth Kumar,Mayawatis brother.
So pleased was the CBI with his work that it rewarded him twice,in 2004 and 2005. In a recommendation for a reward,R M Krishna,then additional SP,CBI,wrote: [Rai has done commendable work by locating large a number of donors who were not traceable earlier. This involved lot of risks as the donors are associated and connected with top politicians and bureaucrats. This also required a lot of dedication and sincerity on the part of Rai. And in the recommendation for the Police Medal,the CBI SP said: He has rendered valuable assistance in connection with the Taj Heritage Corridor inquiry and unearthed huge disproportionate assets acquired by Mayawati,former Chief Minister of UP.
The charges of negligence came after Mayawati returned to power in 2007. Rai,posted in Special Task Force in Chitrakoot,was leading a team chasing a gang of dacoits when an encounter took place,resulting in the death of six members of the STF.
The team had gone in search of Thokiya alias Ambika Patel,a dacoit who carried a reward on his head,on July 21,2007,in the Chitrakoot jungles. The following morning,Rais team shot dead a member of the gang. He made several telephone calls to the SP for additional forces,Rai later said,but none came. The team was returning from the forest when it was ambushed by the Thokiya gang.
Rai was transferred from one post to another in quick succession. In May 2008,he was suspended and sent a chargesheet that said he had not informed senior officers about the encounter and was negligent in his duty as the team leader,because of which the STF lost six policemen.
This argument failed to convince the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court after Rai appealed against the suspension. The court observed that Rais 29 calls speaks volumes,whereby the petitioners cry for help remained futile. On July 15,2010,the court ruled in favour of Rai and slapped a fine of Rs 3 lakh on the government. Judges Devi Prasad Singh and S C Chaurasia observed that records have been fabricated by the authorities to initiate the disciplinary proceeding against the petitioner. Such action,they felt,would demoralise the police force and no officer would take a risk on his own to fight terrorists or dacoits.
The Mayawati government then filed a special leave application in the Supreme Court against the High Court decision,where the matter is still pending.
Sources in the police department say several officials had suggested that Rai meet Mayawati once. But Rai refused, said one source.