Rajani Pandit

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Rajani Pandit is an Indian private investigator who is regarded as the first woman private investigator in the state of Maharashtra,[1] and sometimes the first in India.[2] She has been the subject of a documentary, written two books, received numerous awards, and is considered one of the most famous detectives in India.[3] Her investigations are going to be made as feature film named as Kuttrapayirchi. Trisha will be reprising the character role of Rajani Pandit.

Early life[edit]

Rajani Pandit was born in 1962[4] in Palghar, in the Thane district of Maharashtra. She grew up in a middle-class family, and her father, Shantaram Pandit, worked as a sub-inspector in the local police department.[5]

As a child, she loved reading mystery and spy novels. She once took it upon herself to investigate cheap counterfeit merchandise that was circulating in local markets, and successfully located the source.[6]

She studied Marathi literature at Ruparel College in Mumbai[7] where she first became interested in detective work when, in 1983, she investigated a classmate who was involved in prostitution.[5][8] Concerned about her classmate's behaviour – and afraid that the girl was being "taken advantage of" by others – Pandit informed the girl's parents. When this was not enough, Pandit proceeded to gather photographic evidence, which convinced her classmate's father to take action.[6]

Although her father initially expressed skepticism at her desire to become a detective, Pandit's mother supported her in the endeavor.[7]


After college, Pandit worked as an office clerk, but this changed after she agreed to help a colleague in need. The woman had noticed that money was going missing from family accounts, and she suspected her daughter-in-law might be the culprit – but had no proof. Pandit patiently tracked the daily schedules of all the woman's family members, and discovered that the youngest son was the true thief. This was her first paid case as a private investigator, and it motivated her to put her skills to use on a more regular basis.[6]

Pandit says that when she solved her first "case" in college, the grateful family of the girl that she investigated encouraged her to go into detective work as a profession. She found that "No qualification is required to be a detective. It requires concentration, hard work, struggle, in-depth knowledge and dedication towards the profession." As a result, Pandit started her agency, Rajani Pandit Detective Services, also known as Rajani Investigation Bureau, in 1991.[5][9] She set up an office in Mahim, Mumbai and, by 2010, employed a staff of 30 detectives and was handling about 20 cases a month.[10]

Pandit sometimes encountered resistance due to her gender: in 1986, a newspaper refused to advertise her brand new detective agency, incredulous that a woman would ever choose an investigative career.[6]

In a 1998 interview, Pandit said her firm had handled "domestic problems, company espionage, missing people and murders" throughout India and abroad, sometimes in disguise. "I've played a maidservant, a blind woman, pregnant woman, dumb woman—fear is not a word in my dictionary", she remarked.[1] Discussing her work in a Times of India interview, Pandit spoke of a case where a woman was allegedly involved in her husband's death where Pandit worked undercover as a maid in the home for six months.[11] In another case, she pretended to be a lunatic to investigate two business executives.[5]

More recently, Pandit has begun training and hiring other women to work as detectives.[6]

Call data record scam[edit]

On February 2, 2018, Pandit was arrested by Thane police in connection with a scam in which several private detectives had allegedly obtained and sold call data records illegally. Pandit was released on bail after spending 40 days in jail.[12]


Based on her experiences, Pandit has written two books: Faces Behind Faces and Mayajal. The former has won two awards, while the latter has won six awards.[1][5]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In addition to honours for her books, Pandit is a recipient of the Hirkani award from Doordarshan that honours women achievers.[3] She is the subject of a documentary film made by Dinkar Rao, titled Lady James Bond.[3]. Her investigations are going to be made as feature film named as Kuttrapayirchi. The actress Trisha will be reprising the character role of Rajani Pandit.

Personal life[edit]

Pandit is single, stating in interviews that she doesn't want to become divided between family and work.[5]


  1. ^ a b c Pritha Sen; Saira Menezes (5 October 1998). "Spy Girls". Outlook Magazine (India). Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  2. ^ "Detective dues". Education Times. 30 April 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Ramadurai, Charukesi (17 September 2011). "The real lady detectives of India". The National. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  4. ^ "The under 'cover' life of a private eye". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Private eye: The woman behind the mask". Times of India. Mumbai. 21 June 2003. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e "India's first woman private detective is right out of a pulp fiction novel". www.trtworld.com. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  7. ^ a b "India's First Woman Private Detective on Her Favourite Cases and Numerous Disguises". The Better India. 25 April 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  8. ^ Dutta, Damayani (19 June 2008). "Women of mystery". India Today. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  9. ^ Thomas, Anjali (5 April 2008). "Do you smell infidelity? Dial a P.I." Daily News and Analysis. Mumbai. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  10. ^ Verma, Varun (28 March 2010). "Ladies Detective Agencies". Telegraph India. Kolkata. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  11. ^ Sinha, Seema (2 November 2010). "Spying on your spouse?". Times of India. Mumbai. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  12. ^ Walmiki, Arvind (14 March 2018). "CDR scam: Mumbai detective Rajani Pandit released from jail". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 5 June 2018.

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