On September 20, R Sreelekha became the first woman in Kerala to be promoted to a DGP. Sreelekha, who hails from Thiruvananthapuram, has a few firsts to her name. In 1987, she became the first woman IPS officer from the Kerala cadre. Prior to this she worked as a bank officer and a lecturer. Later, she became the first woman superintendent of police in the state.
She has worked as a District Superintendent of Police in Thrissur, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta before moving on to her stint with the CBI where she earned the nickname 'Raid Sreelekha'. During her stint with the CBI, Sreelekha has worked as an SP in Kerala and DIG in New Delhi. She has been part of a team that has conducted raids on several influential people, thus earning her the nickname.
This feisty police officer's achievements don't stop here. She completed MBA in Human Resource Management from IGNOU in 2005. She was also awarded the prestigious Chevening Fellowship by the Government of United Kingdom.
Officer Sreelekha takes on her new role with hopes of bringing more women as deputy superintendents of police, circle inspectors and sub inspectors. She firmly believes that presence of more women officers in the force will help women come forward with their problems to the police. Sreelekha who initially faced gender discrimination in the force, has been an advocate of gender parity in the Kerala Police Force.
She has also served as managing director of Kerala State Cooperative Rubber Marketing Federation and as the managing director of the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala. One of the high profile cases handled by her include Kiliroor sex scandal case and probe into the involvement of Kerala Information Commissioner K.Natarajan, who had allegedly persuaded a DySP to leave out the name of V.S. Achuthanandan from a list of those accused in a land scam case. Sreelekha has also penned a few books in Malayalam including Neerazhikapuram and Maranna Doothan.
In 2004, the officer who has also undergone specialised training at Scotland Yard, was awarded the President's Police Medal for Meritorious Service. While serving as a Transport Commissioner, she has substantially reduced the number of fatalities caused by road accidents. She has been instrumental in starting a counselling centre HATS (Help and Assistance to Tackle Stress) for police officers who are suffering from mental stress so that police officers get help in solving family problems, financial problems and so on. Married to Dr. Sethunath, professor of paediatric surgery at Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, she has one son, Gokul, who is an MBA student.