Harssh A Poddar is an Oxford-educated lawyer and Chevening scholar who left a corporate career in London to join the Indian Police Service (IPS). He is presently posted as the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Nagpur. He is the youngest awardee of the GFiles Award for good governance in 2018.
A recipient of the Best Officer award and the Home Minister’s Award for National Integration during his civil services training, his work has focused on youth empowerment and deradicalization. The Maharashtra Police Youth Parliament Project conceptualised by him has inspired 42,000 youngsters to fight crime and terror. He has
also launched an innovative project, Udaan, that provides free career guidance to students in zones of communal conflict.
During the recent spate of mob-lynchings in India, he led an extensive campaign against fake news in rural Maharashtra. His jurisdiction in Malegaon was the first in India to launch criminal action against those who perpetrate fake news. He also led a three-hour operation in which the police rescued a family from an armed lynch-mob of three thousand people. This is possibly the only instance of a successful rescue among the lynchings prompted by false rumours of kidnapping gangs in India. He spoke about the ground realities of these incidents at TEDx Gateway 2018, Asia’s largest TED event.
As part of the SMART police initiative, he has been recreating rural police stations with a view towards providing city-level policing services in interior Maharashtra. He has successfully headed the investigation of several organised crimes and has also authored a book on the law relating to investment frauds.