Director-General of Fire and Rescue Department and Indian Police Service (IPS) officer R Sreelekha completes 60-years on this Christmas and is all set to retire soon. A 1987-batch officer, Sreelekha, is also the first female IPS officer in Kerala who was promoted to the rank of Director General of Police (DGP).
Earlier in June, she was promoted to the rank of DGP as the head of Fire and Rescue Services department from the post of Additional Director General of Police (ADGP). This appointment marked her as the first woman officer in the state to get the top rank in the state police.
Meanwhile, earlier, there were speculations that Kerala may get its first woman police chief soon since the current police chief Loknath Behera has already completed his four-year tenure. According to rules, a police officer who has been continuing on the same post for more than three years should be replaced before the Assembly elections. However, the LDF government retained Behera, who has played a crucial part in the state’s administration from the beginning. If Behera was moved out earlier, other officers, who were likely to be picked for the top post, include Rishi Raj Singh, R Sreelekha, Tomin Thachankary, Arun Kumar Sinha and Sudesh Kumar. However, since Sreelekha’s retirement is around the corner, Kerala missed the opportunity to have a lady as the State Police Chief.
Sreelekha started her career as a lecturer at the Vidhyadhi Raja College and later worked for the Reserve Bank of India before joining the police service. The DGP rank officer started her IPS journey at the age of 26. Initially, she served as the District Superintendent of Police (DSP) in three districts — Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Thrissur. She even served with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for four years as SP in Kerala and DIG in New Delhi.
The lady IPS officer has also served as managing director for various public sector organisations in Kerala, including Kerala State Cooperative Rubber Marketing Federation and Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala. At Trivandrum Infopark, Asia’s first-ever road safety Hackathon was conducted with her assistance, which turned out to be a huge success.
While serving as the ADGP of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau, she included Tomin J Thachankary in the disproportionate asset case, which paved the way for various controversies. Her inclusive road safety measures as the Transport Commissioner of Kerala helped reduce road accidents and fatalities in 2014. She served as the Transport Commissioner of Kerala from July 2013 to September 2015. She was awarded the Kerala government’s Meritorious Service Award for uncovering the sensational murder case of Mithila Mohan in 2007.
Apart from her police service, Sreelekha is a well-known author who has written around nine books, including Cheru Marmarangal, Neerazhikapuram, Manasile Mazhavillu and others. She pens regular columns in periodicals and magazines. In Vanitha Magazine, her column Marupuram, the other side gained more readers and attention.