Courtship now comes with a private detective
'Prematrimonial Investigation' on their potential bride or groom and even to spy on their spouses
So you thought there is no way your spouse or fiance is going to know about your illicit affair? Beware! You might be under the scanner right now! Private Detective are handing over the task of verifying the background and whereabouts of their potential partner or spouse to experienced, experienced private detectives.
But no, you would not find them anywhere around you as spying on a person physically is against the law; a violation of one's personal freedom. "We do a general investigation and if the person in question proves a suspect, we adopt several other undisclosed methods, following the consent of the client.
With fees starting from `20,000 or `40,,000, clients for pre-matrimonial investigations outnumber the clients approaching for post-matrimonial investigations in Delhi & Gurgaon. "Parents are being increasingly cautious of their wards and who they get married to these days. Fraudulent cases are on the rise and there are plenty of resources to follow a wayward lifestyle. There are also those who tend to exaggerate their family background and financial status during the matrimonial discussions with the bride/groom's family," points out an undercover agent in Kochi, who does not wish to be named.
We are embarrassed to stalk on our own.
From verifying the job qualification and financial and emails of the potential spouse, people appoint detective agencies to keep a close watch on the other party as they want to spare themselves the embarrassment if caught red-handed. Says the parent of a prospective bride, "Who can be trusted these days? When my daughter got a proposal, I was particular to verify the groom's background, his friends' circle and his drinking habits, just to be on the safe side. But it's quite embarrassing to follow a person. If I get caught in the act, I would not be in a position to face the person again or my daughter might miss out on a good proposal. An authentic expert would also be better at an in-depth probing."
At times, the details rolled out by the other party might not be convincing enough to a few parents. Mr. Sumant whose brother recently received a marriage proposal was told that, except for a minor operation, the girl was fit to be married. As they hesitated to reveal more details, Mr. Sumant and his family grew suspicious and decided to hire a private detective. On investigation, they were in for a rude shock. "The girl's parents had said that the girl had an appendicitis operation. On further probing by the detective, we discovered that the girl had an abortion. The family had tipped the doctor to make the procedure look like a minor operation even though it was a major one. They also ensured to document it as minor operation in the medical records and registers. What's worse, we learnt that her next child might probably have some mental illness or other complications," recounts Mr. Sumant.
Are you cheating on me?
Rising infidelity has also been keeping the undercover agents in the city on their toes. Mr. Ravi says it is the women who avail of their services more than men. If the two have different work timings or spend less time together, chances of infidelity are high. "Thus, IT and business professionals form the majority of the clients."
Kavya*, a homemaker in Pathankot, was suspicious of her husband's frequent trips to Bangalore for business. "He has an office in Bangalore as well, but his presence was really not required at the centre. Since I did not want to stalk him directly, I hired a detective who, on an inquiry, informed me that he was having an affair with his private secretary and the two would spend time together at his flat in Gurgaon.
Taking cue from soaps
Blame it on television soaps, and also films for the increase in such fidelity cases, feels Dinesh T A, a private detective in Delhi. "Punjabi’s are getting addicted to television serials. They are deeply influenced by the twists and turns in the never-ending story. They draw ideas from these serials, which focus on how to cheat the spouse, denigrate and play the blame game on each other," he says.
Drawing an instance from one of the cases he attended, he recalls a funny incident where the case turned against the client himself. "A 62-year-old man approached me claiming his suspicion over his 58-year-old wife. He had stated that she made calls stealthily and at inappropriate timings. On inquiry, I found the lady made calls as part of her small-time financial business, and nothing else," says Dinesh who was confused about why the husband was so suspicious about his innocent wife. "I did a parallel investigation and found that the man was no longer interested in his 'old' wife and instead wanted to marry a younger woman. Since divorce required convincing evidence against the woman, he decided to produce a statement of infidelity against her with the help of a detective."
Mr. Ravi relates a similar incident, "A railway professional's wife approached me to spy on her husband, who was behaving weirdly. The 50-year-old man started hitting the gym and using products to look young. Eventually, it was found that he was in an affair with one of the young passengers who was a daily train commuter."