Damayanti Sen shot to fame during the infamous Park Street gang rape case a decade ago.
New Delhi: Damayanti Sen, the IPS officer of West Bengal cadre who shot to fame during the infamous Park Street gang rape case a decade ago, has once again been entrusted by the Calcutta High Court to lead the investigation into the four rape cases that rocked West Bengal in the last one month. Damayanti Sen is known to her colleagues as an upright officer who does not compromise with her work even under political influence.
A senior IPS officer from West Bengal, who spoke to this newspaper on the condition of anonymity, said that the choice of Damayanti Sen to lead the investigation into the rape cases in Bengal is an apt choice by the court as she can bring justice to the victims and their family members. “I have known Damayanti ever since she joined the force. Having worked with her, she is a very bright and upright officer. She will not compromise on her work. Even during the gang rape case of Park Street, she defied the Chief Minister of West Bengal and went ahead with the investigation and came out victorious,” the IPS officer said.
During the Park Street gang rape case, Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee was quick to call the incident as a “fabricated incident”; despite this, Sen went ahead and told the media then that “there has been an incident and it will be investigated”. Sen carried out her investigation and confirmed that indeed “rape had taken place”. Sen and her team filed a chargesheet against the accused and later all the three accused were found to be guilty by the court and sentenced to punishment.
It is this strength and resilience that Sen had showed in 2012 that has made the Calcutta High Court believe that she would be the correct IPS officer to lead the investigation into the multiple rape cases in Bengal. The Calcutta High Court’s Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj ordered that senior IPS officer Damayanti Sen would oversee the investigation into the four rape cases of Deganga, Matia, Ingrezbazar and Banshdroni. The Division Bench had said, “Past experience shows that Sen is capable of conducting an impartial inquiry.”
Damayanti Sen, a 1996 batch IPS officer, is now the Special Commissioner of Kolkata Police. But her story within the Bengal police has not been a smooth walk. Soon after defying the Chief Minister in 2012, over the Park Street gang rape case, within two months. she was shunted out of the Kolkata Police and posted into a not so significant posting.
The then 42-year-old IPS officer who was posted as Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) with the Kolkata Police was shunted to a comparatively less significant post–as deputy inspector general (Training) of the Bengal police in Barrackpore, within two months of her defying the then Home Minister and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Sen was the first and the only woman officer to have served as Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) in the Kolkata Police. Since then, Sen had been tossed around the Bengal police in less significant posts which many of her colleagues see as “punishment” posting for not towing Mamata Banerjee’s line.
One of her junior colleagues in the Kolkata Police this correspondent spoke to said that “Ma’am has been punished for standing with what was just and right. We knew there was a rape case that happened in Kolkata in 2012, but she did not agree with Mamata Banerjee and she was sent to punishment postings year after year. The Bengal police for years have lost a bright mind like Damayanti Sen.” Sen was only brought back to Kolkata Police in 2019 after seven years of being posted in departments like administration, training, welfare affairs and even sent to Darjeeling during this period. However, in 2019 she was brought back to the Kolkata police as additional commissioner of Kolkata Police and now she is posted as Special Commissioner of Police with the Kolkata Police.
Born in 1970, the 52-year-old IPS officer had done her post-graduation in economics from Jadavpur University in Kolkata. A native of Bengal, she was given her home cadre after she qualified the UPSC examinations in 1996. Not much is known about her family and parents, but what is known is that she is a single mother and had not married. She had adopted a child in her early days and she has been taking care of the child all through these years.