The series of stories done jointly by Mr. Shyamlal Yadav & Mr. Jay Mazoomdaar of The Indian Express  on One-rupee Jan Dhan trick wins the ACJ Award for Investigative Journalism for the year 2016.

The ACJ Award for Investigative Journalism for 2016 went to Mr. Shyamlal Yadav & Mr Jay Mazoomdaar of The Indian Express for the series of stories done jointly by them on One-rupee Jan Dhan trick. The series was published in The Indian Express in September 2016.

The winner was chosen from 84 entries by a three member jury with Justice A.P. Shah, former Chief Justice of the Madras and Delhi High Courts as the Chair, and Prof. Jayati Ghosh, renowned economist and columnist, and Mr. Krishna Prasad, former Chief Editor of Outlook as members. Justice A.P. Shah presented the award to the two journalists at a public function in Chennai.

The award comprises a trophy, citiation and a cash component of Rs. 2 lakhs.

The citation by the jury on the winning entry reads:

“ ’The One-Rupee Trick’, by Shyamlal Yadav and Jay Mazoomdaar of The Indian Express, revealing the abuse by bank officials of the zero-balance accounts of India’s unbanked, is the winner of the second ACJ Award for Investigative Journalism. In the jury’s considered view, the series measured up to the basic canons of contextual reporting—exposing wrongdoing in a flagship government scheme in the larger public interest. In doing so, Yadav and Mazoomdaar drew the nation’s attention to how public servants have fallen prey to perception management in a media-saturated era, by spending out of their own pocket to dress up data. By using the Right to Information Act to ferret out the details, the two reporters have demonstrated that the deft use of the landmark legislation can result in a wealth of riveting stories outside the straight, narrow and predictable.”

The jury also made a special mention of four other entries:

Nikhil M Babu in India Spend: Unspent Money For Dalits/Tribals, $42.6 Billion = 8 Times Agri Budget

Raghu Karnad and Grace Jajo in Akshar Magazine: Confessions of a Killer Policeman

Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava in Hindustan Times: The Jungle Gangs of Jharkhand

Utkarsh Anand in the Indian Express: The Great Government Bank Write Off

The ACJ Award for investigative journalism was instituted last year. The fist award went to Nilita Vachani for her story ‘Inside Job—the woman who was sacrificed to nab Raj Rajaratnam’ published in Caravan in November 2015.