Meet our desi Sherlock Holmes, the lady detective who has cracked more than 80,000 cases

India's first female detective Rajani Pandit

“For 6 months, I went undercover as a maid to live with the woman who was suspected of being the murderer”

India’s first female detective Rajani Pandit

The Hush Post: ‘A detective is born, not made’. This is how Rajani Pandit’s website introduces her.

Often described as the first woman detective of India, Rajani Pandit solved her first case just at the age of 22. Since father worked in the CID, she learnt the tricks of the trade earlier in life. Born and brought up in Maharashtra this desi Sherlock Holmes claims to have cracked more than 80,000 cases till date.

Narrating her story to Humans of Bombay, which publishes real-life accounts, she particularly mentioned her first case. She said, “I was in college when I solved my first case. I worked part-time in my first-year as an office clerk. A woman who I worked with told me about the thefts in her house. She had her eyes on her new daughter-in-law, but had no proof. So I offered to investigate. I was always a curious person–with my father in CID, I had learned the art of a thorough investigation. I set up a watch across the street. I found out that this lady’s son was actually the thief. When questioned, he admitted to the thefts… after that, my career took off! I was 22 years old when I started.”

‘Knew the dangers associated with the job’

There was not internet or social media back then. Rajani had to be dependent on people to extract information. She knew about the dangers of the job, but confidently moved ahead.  “Once my dad found out, he reminded me of how dangerous this profession is– but if he could do it, so could I! So I continued with my investigations. I was married to my job. I just never had the time or desire to start a family”, she said.

‘Went undercover as a maid for 6 months’

Rajani also remembers a case which according to her was the toughest. “My toughest case was gathering proof for a murder investigation. Both the husband and the son were murdered, but with no proof as to who did it. For 6 months, I went undercover as a maid to live with the woman who was suspected of being the murderer. When she fell sick, I took care of her and gained her trust slowly. But once, during pin-drop silence, my recorder made a ‘click’ sound. And that’s when she started doubting me. She refrained me from going out at all.

Then one day, the hitman who she hired, came to pay her a visit. That’s when I knew it was my chance. So I cut my foot with a knife and told them that I had to go out to get bandaged. I ran out, went to an STD booth and called the client to come home with the police. They were both arrested that day!”

Rajani Pandit has written two books, won countless awards and been featured by news channels. “I’ve also received a few threats here and there–but my work is clean, my mind is clear and my courage is unwavering. But most of all…I’m a homegrown, desi Sherlock — how’s that for a Resumé opener?” added Rajani.

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