Rajani Pandit is a petite woman. With just one look, it would be difficult to surmise that she is India’s first woman private detective who has successfully solved 75,000 cases in 27 years.
She started Rajani Pandit Detective Services in 1991 and has played many roles during her investigation like a servant, a pregnant woman, a cloth seller and a blind person among many others. She has even penned two books – Faces Behind Faces and Mayajal.
Her sister, Shobha Vaidya says that Pandit has been stubborn ever since she was a child. “I felt very happy when she decided that she wanted to be a detective. She was very determined since she was young and stubborn. She always wanted to prove herself.”
Pune365 caught up with the detective at the Pune International Literary Festival and spoke to her about her journey and her work.
What is the fundamental in style difference between a police officer and a detective?
The common people have a lot of problems within the family, with children or in local businesses. The police don’t have the time to give to such cases. Detectives, on the other hand, give all their time to the case they’re working on. We have to indirectly involve ourselves in the case we’re handling. We work privately whereas the police work with the government.
What is your process like?
We never take a case directly. We first discuss it and try to reason on why we should tackle it. if we think it is just a matter of the client’s suspicion then we don’t take it seriously. If we take the case we make sure we have the subject’s photograph, vehicle number, etc.
What did you feel when you started your agency?
I had no time to think about anything! But I was afraid of I’d be able to reach out to people because no newspaper at that time wanted to take my advertisement. Later on, I had my first interview and from there people found out about me. My phone was ringing till 2 am that night! I got to know that people have several problems and they need a detective to help them solve it. After that, several news articles came about me and there was no need to give an ad in the paper.
Were you discouraged from getting into this profession?
My father was a police officer. He told me that taking this profession up wouldn’t be easy at all. But it’s not that all the tough work can only be done by men and not women. I can also do it! I have gained so much success since the beginning of my career and I feel very blessed.
How has technology changed your work?
Earlier, we had to follow up on each and everything. Through technology, we have been able to access numbers very easily, there are apps we use that make our work easier. There have been many changes in that aspect. But, technology has also created many problems. We get more cases related to the use of technology. At a very young age, children have access to many things which can affect them badly.
Does the Supreme Court’s ruling of Right to Privacy affect the way you work?
Before working on a case, we always sign a contract where the responsibility of this lies entirely with the client. The contract highlights that it is the client who wants to probe into an issue or someone’s private life.
What advice would you give to young girls?
I think that young girls must be encouraged to look at being a detective as a serious career option. It is a great profession where you can help people out. Our clients are always grateful to us for the work we do and that brings us a lot of satisfaction.
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