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Meet India's Own Sherlock Who Once Went Undercover As a Maid to Crack a Murder Mystery

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Last Updated: October 31, 2018, 11:08 IST

Meet India's Own Sherlock Who Once Went Undercover As a Maid to Crack a Murder Mystery

'I’ve also received a few threats here and there–but my work is clean, my mind is clear and my courage is unwavering.'

"A detective is born, not made," reads Rajani Pandit's 'about me' on her website.

With her father working in the CID, Rajani had learned the art of a thorough investigation at a very young age. In fact, she was only 22 when she cracked her first case.

Born and brought up in Maharashtra, the 50-year-old desi Sherlock Holmes claims to have busted more than 80,000 cases since she first donned the detective's hat. Sharing her journey with Humans of Bombay -- a page that catalogs real-life stories, Rajani, considered India's first lady detective - narrates how it all started and why a particular case in her investigative career is etched in her memory.

“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," she said.

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Image credits: Rajani Pandit

Inspired by her own investigative officer father, Rajani was keen on taking up her first case. "So I offered to investigate. 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," she further added.

With no Internet and social media back in the day, Rajani turned into a full-fledged detective with the help of word of mouth. Despite knowing the dangers that revolved around the job, the detective decided to "marry" her job.

"It’s a tough job, my parents didn’t even know until much later! 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."

But what catapulted her to 'fame' and grabbed the media eyeballs was when she solved a murder mystery by going undercover as a maid for six months. The case also happens to be her 'toughest one'.

"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," she revealed.

"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."



Image credits: Rajani Pandit

With nowhere to go, Rajani devised an escape plan - the day the hitman came to her "owner's" home.

"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!"

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