MUMBI: Rajani Pandit has a reputation to protect. The first woman private detective in the country feels she is being ‘victimised’ for obtaining call detail records (CDRs). In February, the Thane police had busted a gang of detectives which illegally sourced and sold CDRs. Rajani was arrested for allegedly procuring CDRs for her clients. Out on bail after a 40-day judicial custody, the detective is determined to find what landed her on the wrong side of the law and, in the process, salvage her hard-earned esteem.
“I’ve been in the profession for almost 40 years now and have handled over 75,000 cases with an intention to serve society. I’ve built a reputation with my conduct all through these years, and I shall protect it now,” Rajani, 58, told The Sunday Standard.
“When the CDRs are being made available openly in the market, don’t you feel the investigation should have been focused on the people making them available to others? Instead, it was targeted towards the people to whom it was sold.”
It was the curiosity in Rajani that landed her in a male-dominated profession. “I was busy with my studies at Ruparel College. One day, I realised that one of my classmates was acting in a weird manner. She used to bunk classes a lot. I decided to trace and found that she was going out with a group of eight-ten boys. I realised that she was trapped in prostitution.
“I decided to inform her parents, who initially did not accept it, but later thanked me for informing them. That was the turning point,” she reminisces. The year was 1983.
After her graduation, Rajani worked at pharma companies on short assignments. During one such job, she got another case: one of her colleagues realised things had started ‘disappearing’ from her home. She cracked the puzzle. There was no looking back after she started her detective firm in 1991.
“In the beginning, I used to place advertisements in newspapers to get business. People from Delhi Doordarshan interviewed me after seeing one such advertisement. It gave me a nationwide exposure. I worked for all. Politicians, businessmen and Bollywood stars were regulars. My work ethic of not exploiting them with the information I possessed helped me in getting more clients,” she says.
The author of two books —Faces Behind Faces and Mayajal — is a recipient of many awards, including the Hirkani award from Doordarshan.
Rajani is the subject of a documentary. Her investigations are going to be made into a film Kuttrapayirchi. For now, she is determined to clear her name.