Fulu Banerjee hesitated. The young detective was tailing a subject,who had entered a blind alley of Kidderpore,Kolkata,and she wondered whether she should follow. When she decided she should not,it was because of what she had learnt at detective school.
Dont take even a one per cent risk. Just give up if you see your life is at stake, her teacher at Anapol Institute of Management Studies had told her in 2010. Today,she believes she took the right decision; had she followed,she would have run the risk of being exposed.
Fulu Banerjee is part of the first batch of detectives that passed out of Anapol Institute at Kolkatas New Alipore,which itself is said to be the countrys first school for private detectives. She is now one of five women detectives with Anapol Group,a leading security agency engaged in private investigation since 1977.
Satya Ranjan Banerjee,now 77,founded the school after a 35-year career in private investigation. There has been a growing demand for private investigators. So many times,people dont want to go to the police,and sometimes they come to us unsatisfied with police investigations. And I have also seen amateurish detectives have mushroomed, he says.
So I decided to set up this school where people will be trained in a professional manner. They can build a career in private investigation, says Banerjee,who worked as an officer with the Kolkata police for 12 years.
The course is without textbooks. The subjects taught include forensic science,handwriting studies,civil and criminal law,and how various apparatus can be used for crime detection and surveillance. Retired government officials expert in the relevant fields have been roped in; for example,former directors of state fingerprint and handwriting labs teach these two disciplines.
They use chemicals and various appliances to teach how to understand fingerprints and handwriting. We have experts who teach,again with appliances and chemicals,the art of understanding a mans character by seeing how he or she writes a particular letter. There are no books so students take down notes, says Satya Ranjan Banerjee.
The course,which started in April 2010,is of eight months,six months theory and two practical. For practical classes the students are attached with operators of Banerjees own agency and sent on field jobs. Classes are of four hours and held on Saturdays and Sundays. The course fee is Rs 12,000. Age is no bar,though the minimum qualification is XII pass. Besides,Satya Ranjan Banerjee looks for boldness and presence of mind,and says,Private detectives should look very unassuming.
Each batch takes in 10 students. The 20 who have passed out of the first two batches are doing quite well,he says. The first batch cleared in December 2010. Students have set up three agencies,each is earning Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 a month,and it is increasing. The next batch too is doing well,I have heard, says Satya Ranjan Banerjee.
Among his students is S K Hazra,a branch manager with National Insurance Corporation,who feels learning the tricks of the detective trade will boost his present career. But honestly speaking,I also had a passion for private detection and would like to set up an agency later.
Banerjee,who draws his clients from a variety of social backgrounds,relates an anectode about one: The other day,a woman called me and said she had a family problem. I asked her: Is it your husband? She asked,How did you know? I have been doing this for 35 years. Either it is the husband or it is the wife.