Rashmi Rajput for Mumbai Mirror
Mumbai, March 8: When 49-year-old Gracy Gonsalves walks in and out of the Kurla police station dressed in a skirt, bow tie and hat, people mistake her for a woman who has turned up to lodge a complaint.
In fact, Gracy’s frequent visits to the police are not to seek help but to provide some.
“We approach her whenever we need assistance. During the deluge too, she helped us a lot,” says Senior Inspector Vilas D Pawar of the Kurla police station.
In the last 15 years, she has helped solve cases ranging from land-grabbing to theft and murder in and around Kurla.
A year back, Gracy dragged S Malasure to the police station after a poor woman complained to her that the history-sheeter had grabbed her land in Nehru Nagar area. Malasure reportedly wanted to build a hotel on that land. Whether due to her charming demeanour or her no-nonsense attitude, Malasure, otherwise a tough nut, readily agreed to return the land without any conditions.
Such cases are routine for Gracy, a college dropout.
SHE ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A COP
The fourth child in a family of five sisters and four brothers, Gracy was married at the age of 24. Her husband is a field worker in Mazagaon Dock and her only son is a student of Somaiya College. She devotes around 5-6 hours every day for the Kurla police.
“As a kid, I always wanted to be a cop. But my father was just a foreman and I couldn’t study beyond Class X. I worked as an office assistant in companies of the Somaiya and Katira groups. But my heart was always in being a cop.
“In 1984, I wrote to the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. He replied asking me to plunge into community policing and social activism.
“I quit my job and decided to be a cop without uniform,” says Gracy.
Over the years, she has become a known face in Kurla and people now approach her directly with their grievances. Police specially find her help invaluable in family disputes.
“We always factor in her opinion while solving such cases as she is a very respected figure in the community. I really admire her service to the force,” says ACP (Kurla Division) Uttam Chopne.
In recognition of her services, Gracy has received many certificates from the Kurla police.
About 10 years ago, she was designated a Police & Public Relations Officer, a person who acts as an intermediary between the police and the public.
“Rajiv Gandhi was my big source of inspiration. I still treasure all the letters of encouragement written by him. In the last letter dated April 15, 1991, he wrote that he needs the support of the youth to create a dynamic India,” she says.
• We always factor in her opinion while solving family disputes as she is a very respected figure in the community
— ACP (Kurla Division) Uttam Chopne
2000: She helped the police fish out and identify a body found in Mithi River in Kurla. It was that of a Punjabi youth stabbed in Saki Naka (Andheri East) four days earlier.
2004: She accompanied the dog squad that tracked down a man who had shot Sub-inspector I S Waval near the Kedarnath Temple in Nehru Nagar while he was on duty.
2005: Rs 4.09 lakh was stolen from Praveen Tejale’s house. Gracy joined the investigation and found out that the maid was one of those involved in the theft. She discovered that Rs 1.09 lakh was hidden in Tejale’s house itself. Further investigations are on and the police is trying to recover the rest of the
2006: Inspector A R Shaikh asked her to mediate in a property dispute between Placid D’Souza and Rosita D’Souza, relatives, who reside at Hall Village, Kurla (W). Her efforts were successful.
2006: Ranita Rodricks complained that S Malasure, a history-sheeter, had occupied her property in Nehru Nagar. She sorted out the issue