The Water Cooler

Mamata Transfers Supercop to Police Training School

Damayanti Sen is not Inspector Vijay. Unlike the muscled, trigger happy super cops who always triumph in the end of a satisfying Bollywood movie, the story of this IPS officer is not so rosy. Her mistake was to persist on the track of the culprits and crack a high profile gang rape case. Her reward is a transfer to a low profile position.

Damayanti’s reaction on her transfer order. Photo by Anandabazar Patrika. More on http://bengali.yahoo.com

Damayanti has a Masters Degree in Economics. She entered the IPS in 1996, and in 2009, became the first woman ever to grace the post of Deputy Commissioner, Detective Department, Kolkata. She was Joint Commissioner in February 2012, when a woman was gang raped in Park Street, Kolkata. One of the suspects involved was related to a Congress leader.

The case got some negative publicity right at the beginning as the local police station did not cooperate with the victim, delaying the process of lodging as FIR. Next there was a confusion over identifying the criminals. It didn't help when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee publicly claimed that the case was 'fabricated', 'cooked up'.

Damayanti continued with the case despite all the roadblocks as she felt 'something must have happened that night'. The CM was not happy at this.  Damayanti had to meet Mamata, and even told the press that the case was resolved through 'teamwork', and she was definitely not on an individual 'going against my organisation'. Finally the culprits were identified and most of them captured.

Reports of Damayanti's transfer started making the rounds. And on April 4, 2012, Mamata finalized her transfer.  The victim felt it was 'unfortunate', and the controversy over Mamata's quote resurfaced.


Damayanti has got a promotion. From Joint Commissioner at the Detective Department, she is now Deputy Inspector General (DIG) … but at the Police Training School, Barackpore. Former Police Commissioner Sandhi Mukherjee is one of those who question this 'reward'. "Police officers can't be treated like football. Damayanti was a brave officer, she was a professional. What can this transfer mean?" Trinamool Congress MP and singer Kabir Suman said, "What has happened is unfair and is wrong. This transfer smacks of vengeance. It was revenge." He has even composed a song in her honor.


Faced with public outcry and criticism, the Chief Minister has defended her decision volubly. It was apparently 'the right of the state government' to 'get the job done by someone who is more effective.'

An Open Forum on Facebook 'Our Pride Damayanti Sen: The Bengal Tigress' https://www.facebook.com/groups/146525445467847/members/#!/groups/146525445467847/ already has 120 members protesting the transfer.

But Damayanti is neither Inspector Vijay nor Agent Vinod. She is a slightly built woman with a family and a very no-nonsense air about her. She worked on the case from an office in Lalbazar Police Head Quarters. There were no dramatic shoot-outs, detectives in disguise, or thrilling car chases. 

How would Damayanti Sen's story end? Let us know what you feel.

Columnist Profiles

Follow Us on Facebook

Blogs