Two women officers played a critical role in Delhi Police’s biggest arrest of the year

SIs Neetu Sindhu and Preeti Sangwan.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

It was around 2.30 p.m. and the Delhi Police team was following gangster Kala Jathedi and his partner Anuradha Chaudhary for nearly 24 hours. As the couple stopped at a dhaba in Saharanpur- Yamuna Nagar highway, the team waited a few seconds.

“Target in sight and not moving,” said one. The direction to arrest him dead or alive was followed.

The plan was to park one of the three cars at the rear part of the dhaba but the last minute call was to drive all cars right in front of the eatery. The officers immediately swung into action, got out of the vehicles and placed Kala Jathedi under arrest.

In a black turban at the time, the turban was removed to ensure it was him.

women officers

women officers  


But it was Sub Inpector Preeti Sangwan, 27, who quickly moved towards Anuradha and held her tight from behind. “You are under arrest,” she told her.

In the team of 40-odd officials working on arguably the biggest arrest of the year for Delhi Police so far – Kala Jathedi – two were female officers: Sub Inspectors Preeti and Neetu Sindhu, 30.

The two officers from the Special Cell’s Counter Intelligence Unit exclusively spoke to The Hindu about the operation and what it means to be a part of a unit particularly dominated by men.

Going against the grain

Ms. Sangwan hails from Haryana’s Charkhi Dadri where her father is a farmer and mother, a housewife.

Being born and brought up in a town where girls were not encouraged to step out, the officer started breaking barriers right from her school days by completing her higher studies.

She then attended college by travelling a long distance “with a male friend” — much against the societal norms.

But she had resolved to pursue higher education and went on to complete her bachelors in Commerce, and Masters in Computer Applications.

She joined Delhi Police in 2018, and became part o the Special Cell (CIU) in 2020.

“It’s been a great experience here because the learning is impeccable. I have learnt different types of technologies and how to use them in digital investigation. It’s the kind of work that gives me an adrenaline rush. The seniors and colleagues both are extremely supportive,” she added.

An unforgettable case

Recalling the operation to arrest Kala Jathedi, which was named ‘D-24’ – an operation which she claims to never forget in her career, she said she was on the field the last 10 days till the arrest was finally affected on July 30.

After analysing data, the team — which had been working on the case for over one year — zeroed in on a car in which Jathedi could be present on July 20. SI Preeti picked up and followed that vehicle on Mathura-Gwalior Road. The shadowing continued till 1.30 a.m. the next day when they reached Faridabad only to ascertain that the ‘target’ was not in the vehicle. The next day, the team found that they had to find and spot two vehicles in Uttarakhand where the target could be. SI Preeti, along with a team, immediately left for the next assignment.

“We had divided the area 40 km each, road by road, street by street and colony by colony, we looked for the cars left to right. In car, on foot and through jungles also, we kept looking for the two cars,” she recalled.

She had to cover parts of Dehradun and Haridwar.

After struggling for three days, an apartment complex in a district in Uttarakhand was the new search destination. The next challenge was to spot the car in the apartment complex without getting noticed.

SI Preeti was asked to get a scooty, act like a local, and go inside the apartment complex to find whether the white coloured car is there.

And the moment they had all been waiting for arrived.

After walking and scanning for over 4 hours, a suspect car was found. “I wish I could explain the feeling. It was finally done”. The next three hours, she spent walking in the rain waiting for the car’s occupants to come out and to ascertain whether the car they had spotted was in fact Jathedi’s.

They finally came. A man in a turban and a woman.

The team was almost sure it was him. “Even inside the apartment complex, they would drive at a very high speed. That night, they came back in one hour”.

The next day, SI Preeti managed to ascertain the tower in which the target could be residing and the floor using the analysis on time taken by the woman to walk up and shut the door, which the officer could hear.

On July 29, the couple left the apartment at an unexpected time and didn’t come back till the night. With over 20 teams of two-three personnel scattered in an area covering 20 square km, the chase began, with SI Preeti in the lead. Midway, the target managed to exchange cars with a dummy couple and shifted to an SUV. However, all efforts at camouflage were to end in vein by the afternoon of July 30.

Technical support

SI Neetu, a 2014-batch officer, posted with CIU since 2020 and trained by C-DAC and pursuing Post Graduate Diploma in Electronics & IT, spent the last 72 continuous hours of the operation in the CIU office providing technical assistance — critical for last-mile operation — leaving behind her three-year-old daughter at home.

“I would video call with my daughter only during the day because she knows that I’ll be in office at that time but in the evening, she would want to come to office if I would call her,” she recalled.

“My posting at Special Cell has been a revelation of my inner strengths”, she said.

She returned home triumphant and exhausted after Jathedi was finally in her colleague’s net.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 11:22:56 AM |

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