NEW DELHI: Cracking an al-Qaeda module, busting a spy ring backed by ISI and blowing the lid off an espionage racket purloining secret papers from Oil Ministry were some of the major breakthroughs for Delhi Police this year even as it was at the centre of a political storm in the wake of a "raid" on a canteen at Kerala House here.
There were confrontations between police and AAP government on a range of issues as it arrested five MLAs belonging to the party on several charges evoking strong reaction from the ruling dispensation in the city.
The probe into mysterious death of Sunanda Pushkar, wife of former Union minister Shashi Tharoor, who was found dead at a 5-star hotel on January 17 last year, remained a mystery despite a case of murder being registered in connection with it.
Pushkar's viscera samples were sent to FBI's lab in the US, but the report – which is now again being analysed by a medical board here – did not clear the air, even as conspiracy theories continued to fly thick and fast.
Five Aam Aadmi Party MLAs – Jitender Singh Tomar (then law minister), Manoj Kumar, Commando Surender Singh, Somnath Bharti and Akhilesh Tripathi – were arrested in separate cases under charges that ranged from forgery and cheating to domestic violence, attempt to murder and provisions of the SC/ST (prevention of atrocities) Act.
While Bharti was arrested for allegedly assaulting and trying to kill his wife Lipika Mitra, former law minister Tomar was arrested on charges of cheating and forging degrees pertaining to his education qualification.
The tussle between Delhi Police and the AAP government kept taking turns. The AAP had strongly opposed appointment of M K Meena, Joint Commissioner of Police as the chief of the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB). The party even accused Delhi Police to be the "most corrupt" on the basis of a survey.
The row intensified with the AAP government alleging Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi of corruption in connection with his membership at a housing society and procurement of apartments – one of which Bassi had sold to his brother.
While the ACB did not flinch in initiating probes against even the seniormost government officials in connection with alleged "scams" that ranged from CNG fitness certification to procurement of onions, the top cop sparred back countering allegations one after another.
Cases of sexual assault on women and children continued to witness a rise with records revealing that as many as 1,856 rape cases were reported till October 31 and in 824 of them, the victims are reported to be below 18 years. In 2014, 2,166 rape cases were reported, in which 1,004 pertained to minors.
A number of cases of rapes of minors triggered outrage against police. There were protests following rape of a four-year-old girl at northwest Delhi's Keshav Puram area. Rape of two other minors – aged two and seven years – at east Delhi's Anand Vihar and west Delhi's Nihal Vihar in October led to criticism against police.
In February, with the arrest of 13 persons – including five corporate executives, a scribe and an energy consultant – Delhi Police's Crime Branch cracked open an espionage network which allegedly stole secret documents from offices, including that of the Oil and Petroleum Ministry.
The force was severely attacked by Opposition parties after a police team inspected the Kerala House canteen on October 26 following a complaint that beef was being served there.
Most of the Opposition parties as well as Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy condemned the action saying the "raid" at the state guest house was an attack on federal structure of the country.
Delhi Police later arrested Hindu Sena leader Vishnu Gupta, who was the complainant in the case, along with his aide, on being instructed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who also directed police chief B S Bassi to "be careful while acting out on such complaints in future".
In April, Delhi Police's Special Cell tracked down wanted gangster Neeraj Bawana, while his maternal uncle, former Independent MLA from Mundka Rambir Shokeen, now declared proclaimed offender by a court, continues to be at large.
The murder of former Najafgarh MLA Bharat Singh outside a private function on March 29 also kept the sleuths on their toes. Six persons were arrested by the Crime Branch within a fortnight in the case.
The ones whom the Crime Branch could not track down, later killed an eyewitness, Singh's driver.
In June, Delhi Police cracked open three modules allegedly involved in arranging school admissions under quota reserved for people from economically weaker sections and arrested 10 people under three separate cases.
The police are probing the roles of more than 200 people, including school principals, clerks and parents, in connection with the same. However, none of them have been named in the charge-sheet filed so far.
The police also received a lot of criticism with regard to the probe of abduction of an Uzbek woman, who was found murdered more than six weeks after she went missing in late September.
Things got worse when her associate, another Uzbek national, was too found murdered by a man who managed to mislead the police for more than a month and had almost got a clean chit in the case.
On November 26, the Crime Branch of Delhi Police arrested one Kafaitalluah Khan who was an alleged Pakistan Intelligence Operative (PIO) heading an espionage racket here backed by the ISI. Later police claimed the spy ring had links with someone even at Pakistan High Commission here.
The nabbing of Khan was followed by the arrests of a serving BSF personnel Abdul Rasheed, a former army hawaldar identified as Munawwar Mir and a school teacher Sabar from Rajouri district in Jammu and Kashmir. A serving army rifleman identified as Farid Khan was also nabbed.
In December, the Special Cell of Delhi Police cracked open an al Qaeda module and arrested three persons including Mohammad Asif, a resident of Uttar Pradesh's Sambhal who is believed to be the chief of the group's 'motivation wing' in India. Two others Abdul Rahman, a madrasa cleric, and Zafar Masood, who is alleged to have acted as a financier, were arrested from Cuttack and Sambhal respectively.
With this case, the police also ascertained the identity of chief of al Qaeda module operating in the Indian sub-continent (AQIS). Police identified him to be Maulana Asim Umar, who had so far appeared in several videos over the Internet with his face covered.
In 2015, for the first time, Delhi Traffic Police used helicopters to monitor and regulate traffic movements in crowded Delhi road stretches on three occasions – Durga idol immersion, Diwali and during the India-Africa summit.
The steep increase in cases of motor vehicle theft prompted Delhi Police to launch a mobile application to register such cases without having to visit a police station.
Records reveal that about 88 motor vehicles are stolen everyday in the national capital, with the city witnessing around 83 per cent increase in vehicle theft cases compared with the average of past three years.