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Ashok Chakra for martyr

Major Mukund Varadarajan, 32, who was killed in a counter-terrorist operation in Jammu and Kashmir in April will be posthumously awarded the country’s highest peacetime gallantry award, Ashok Chakra, on Independence Day.

Varadarajan, then serving in 44 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), displayed outstanding gallantry during the operation in which three terrorists were killed in south Kashmir’s Shopian area.

Another soldier killed in the same operation, Sepoy Vikram, will be posthumously awarded the Shaurya Chakra, the third-highest peacetime gallantry award.

Also among the awardees are two naval officers who sacrificed their lives trying to save fellow submariners onboard INS Sindhuratna in February. Lieutenant Commanders Manoran Kumar and Kapish Singh Muwal will be posthumously awarded the Shaurya Chakra. Their courage ensured the survival of 94 crew members and safety of the submarine.

“They limited the damage area preventing the spread of fire to the battery compartment, obviating an extremely dangerous possibility of damage to entire submarine,” a navy spokesman said.

An IAF chopper pilot is among the 12 Shaurya Chakra awardees from the armed forces. Wing Commander Huvey Upadhyaya located the wreckage of a crashed army helicopter in Siachen area in March and saved the lives of two army pilots in extremely challenging circumstances.

The country’s largest paramilitary force, the CRPF bagged 71 gallantry medals. “It is the largest haul of gallantry medals by any force on single occasion which clearly reflects the bravery of our personnel,” said force’s Inspector General (operations) Zulfikar Hassan. Prez’s medal for CBI’s coal scam probe’s chief investigator.

The CBI’s deputy inspector general (DIG) Ravi Kant, who leads the agency’s Supreme Court monitored probe into alleged irregularities in coal block allocations during 1993-2009, has been awarded the President’s police medal for meritorious service.

Along with him, 23 other CBI officials were awarded either the President’s police medal for meritorious service or police medal for distinguished service.

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