'She' and me: An OTT show, an undercover op and a Delhi Police head constable's life journey

The Delhi Police head constable went undercover as a spa owner to honey trap an elusive alleged arms smuggler.

Published: 07th August 2022 02:17 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th August 2022 03:21 PM   |  A+A-


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NEW DELHI: She would put in an eight-hour shift at the police station and head home, the workday only half done.

After a quick dinner with the family, she'd move to a separate room for a phone conversation with a strange man that could last an hour or two – and maybe more.

And that's how it was for three months when the Delhi Police head constable went undercover as a spa owner to honey trap an elusive alleged arms smuggler.

As the 38-year-old sees it, parallels with the much-discussed OTT show “She” -- about an undercover police officer using seduction to capture a drug kingpin and discovering her sexuality in the process -- are inevitable.

Like the protagonist Bhumika Pardeshi from the Netflix show, she, too, donned a femme fatale avatar – only on phone, however.

And like it was for the reel character, the meticulous undercover operation was also a transformative journey from under-confidence to self-realisation and success for the real one.

In fact, the police officer told PTI during the course of an exhaustive interview at her police station, she wants to be recognised as Jaya Shinde, the fake name adopted by the character in the Netflix series.

And this Shinde* is also a fan of crime thrillers and a fitness enthusiast.

"There are many similarities between the character in ‘She' and me," Shinde*, whose identity cannot be revealed on grounds of security for her and her family, told PTI.

Playing the role of a seductress, an undercover cop along with her real life responsibilities as mother of a teenage daughter, wife and daughter-in-law took their toll, she said.

"There were several times I felt frustrated about many things, be it talking for hours to him or listening to his nonsensical talk. I would be like why am I even listening to him, but I fortunately had my husband to support me. He would never ask me about my operation but would boost my confidence. That support from my family helped me reach where I am standing today. Even my in-laws and my daughter have been very supportive of the kind of work my profession demands from me," she added.

Her story has every trope of the crime thrillers she so loves – intrigue, investigation and a successful end complete with exchange of gunfire and arrest.

The powerful arms supplier Ayaj alias Ajju, who was finally arrested in February this year thanks to her operation, had kept Delhi Police on its toes for a while, she said.

He had a huge supply chain across Delhi and its neighbouring states.

“Though we had intelligence inputs about his activities, it was important to connect with him and gain his trust to actually trap him to confess about his dealings and how he operated through gangs," Shinde* said.

The trap was laid in November last year when Shinde* was still a constable -- following the successful operation she got an out of turn promotion and is now a head constable.

She didn't meet him during the course of the three-month operation in which she first drew him in by posing as a damsel in distress and then transforming into a seductress, she said.

Giving details, she said she used a fake name, SIM card and a new phone to contact her target.

She approached the Agra-based arms supplier with the pretext of setting up a spa in the city.

“"It was strictly professional to begin with. It took me almost one-and-a-half-months to completely gain his trust. “As part of the operation, there were times I had to speak to him for hours, engage in seductive talk and ensure he keeps calling me and answers my calls… It started with speaking to him for an hour, then many hours." Through stratagem and wile, she slowly gained his trust.

"He would pick up my phone some days and other days not. When he'd call me after two-three days, he would share with me the issues at home and how he got stuck at his work or was out of town,”" she said, recalling her long days when she would have to spend time talking on the phone after work instead of spending time with the family.

Shinde* said he never told her directly about his activities but she could read between the lines thanks to skills honed during her police career.

He also suggested garments might be a better business option than a spa.

Asked if he ever confessed to liking her, she said, "Absolutely."

"He thought I was staying alone, so he would say I will prepare chicken curry for you and when I come to Delhi I will stay at your place," Shinde* said, adding that she once even spoke to his children.

Ajju lived in Agra with his wife, two daughters and son.

The idea was to nab him when he came to Delhi to meet her.

"Twice he told me he would be crossing Delhi and if time permits he would meet me. Both the attempts failed and the trap laid by the police went in vain," she added.

"But I had a gut feeling that he would make it. On one such day in February, he called me and said he would be coming to Delhi but did not reveal where…." Recapping the events leading up to the dramatic arrest, she said senior officers were informed and a special team with the help of technical surveillance traced his mobile number and tracked his location.

Finally, in the early hours of February 8 this year, Ajju was intercepted by a 16-member police team when he was coming to Delhi in his car.

"I was made to stand at a distance. As soon as his car arrived, the police asked him to surrender. It led to a brief exchange of fire in outer Delhi's Samaypur Badli area and he was shot in the leg," she added.

Ajju was arrested as was his accomplice, and arms and ammunition seized.

The now head constable, who joined Delhi Police in 2006 and had been posted in the outer north district of the force since November 2021, looks back at the operation with satisfaction.

As a constable, she was mostly limited to office work such as analysing data.

It was just not enough, Shinde* said.

She was hankering for something more challenging and the opportunity presented itself with ‘Operation Ajju'.

And the rest, as she says, is her personal history.

In “She”, now in its second season, the titular character is portrayed as someone who is lonely but discovers a new aspect of her personality during the operation.

Shinde* said she can relate to Pardeshi's character.

Growing up, she felt left out and lonely.

"This could have been also because my siblings got more attention than me,”" she said.

‘Operation Ajju' over, the dynamic 38-year-old is hoping to work on more such operations and face new challenges.

(*name adopted to protect identity)


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