A senior Delhi Police officer probing the communal violence that broke out in the city in February and a National Investigation Agency officer leading the Bhima Koregaon case inquiry are among those who received the Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said 121 police personnel, including 21 women officers, have received the award. “This medal was constituted in 2018 with the objective to promote high professional standards of investigation of crime and to recognize such excellence in investigation by investigating officers,” the ministry said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Rajesh Deo heads the Special Investigation Team, constituted to probe the violence in North East Delhi, which left at least 53 dead and hundreds injured. However, the authorities have been accused of acting in a partisan manner since the very beginning.

In February, Deo was taken off poll duty by the Election Commission after he told reporters that a gunman who had fired shots in the city’s Shaheen Bagh locality was a member of the Aam Aadmi Party. The poll body had said his comments to the media were “totally uncalled for” and had consequences for “the holding of free and fair” Delhi Assembly elections on February 8.

Meanwhile, Vikram Khalate, Superintendent of Police, NIA, is leading the investigation into the Bhima Koregaon violence in 2018. Activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao and Gautam Navlakha are among the accused. The case was transferred from the Pune Police to the NIA in January. The accused have been arrested under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The home ministry did not specify the cases for which the officers received the medals. “Among the personnel receiving these awards, 15 are from CBI, 10 each are from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra Police, eight are from Uttar Pradesh Police, seven each are from Kerala and West Bengal Police, and the remaining from the other States/Union Territories,” it said.