HYDERABAD: When 34-year-old Preeti started suspecting her husband’s fidelity, her world came down crumbling. Her husband Akash, a heart surgeon based out of Mumbai, used to come down to Hyderabad every weekend to spend time with her during the initial days of their marriage. However, the frequency of his visits reduced over the years. Limited phone conversations and rare physical intimacy led Preeti to the doorsteps of private detective agency Third Eye.
She wanted to find out if her husband was cheating on her. “Based on details given by Preeti, we started tracking and observing Akash’s daily routine at home and hospital,” says P Damodhar, a private detective with Third Eye. “Our investigative agent got himself admitted at the hospital where Akash works, so that we could monitor him closely. After tracking him for days we found out that Akash was not cheating on Preeti, but that he was a workaholic. He worked about 12 hours a day and never attended calls while on duty.” The evidence presented by the detective agency convinced Preeti. She relocated to Mumbai and their marriage was back on track.
When Express spoke to detective agencies in the city, many of them pointed out that there has been an increase in the number of clients opting for snooping on their partners. With more than 25 private detective agencies operating in the city, over 300 cases of post-marital snooping are reported every month. Kumar of Scout private detectives feels that post matrimonial cases coming to detective agencies are on a rise. “Nowadays, I get to solve 15-20 post matrimonial cases every month, which was not the case three years back when I handled 7-10 cases a month,” Kumar pointed out while speaking to Express. Seconding Kumar, Damodhar says,Third Eye used to handle 10-15 cases every month in 2016. “From there, it jumped to about 25-30 cases a month in 2017.”
However, detective agencies continue to play a crucial, not to mention lucrative, role in the marriage market. Earlier, they were primarily used by parents of prospective brides and grooms to do background checks before a wedding is fixed.Now, they are frequently used by couples themselves to spy on their partners and collect evidence for divorce or resumption of marital ties as in the case above. And private detectives are only too willing to offer the services demanded. Disguising themselves as patients, neighbours or some other obscure character, they shadow individuals for evidences that could make or break a family. Take the case of 33-year-old Varun who lives with his wife in Australia for instance.
The software engineer’s marriage hit a rough patch over constant differences with his wife. As their fights often came to blows, Varun’s wife decided to return to Hyderabad with their son. Varun missed his child but his wife was not answering his calls. Feeling insecure, Varun hired a private detective to keep a check on her.”Our investigator rented a house next to that woman’s place and stayed there for two full weeks,” says Damodhar. “He observed her and her movements keenly and found that she was not having any other affair.
A thorough investigation revealed that Varun’s wife grew up watching her mother dominate her father, which could have influenced her behaviour. When we told this to Varun, he immediately came down to Hyderabad, reconciled with his wife and took her back to Australia.”Most married people coming to us have only one doubt, says Anant Kumar of TJ Private detectives. “They suspect their partner’s fidelity. However, in 90 per cent cases, their fears turn out to be false and their problems are sorted out through counselling sessions that we provide.”
Interestingly, few detective agencies also have in-house counsellors who take over the cases from detectives at the final stages and help couples get over their issues and make it work. However, all of this comes at a cost of `25,000-`50,000 and goes up to `1 lakh.Meanwhile, experts feel insecurity in marriage is one of the key reasons for this trend that is witnessed mostly among young couples.“Nowadays, couples hardly get to spend quality time with each other due to several factors - job timings, choice of profession etc,” says family counsellor Richa Khetawat. “This is when insecurity creeps in. They feel betrayed when their expectations are not met and attention is denied. Personal conversations take a backseat with increase in social networking sites and chatting Apps. This leads to lack of confidence.”
“There has been a change in the preferences of the couples in the recent times,” says Captain DK Giri, head of Sharp Eye Private Detectives. “Earlier, people wanted to be together for a lifetime. But new generation couples prefer to go with the flow, with no clue of what the future holds for them. Moreover, as several people opt for late marriages, non-fulfillment of expectations and desires also lead to mistrust.”
Premarital cases rule the roost
Even now, most cases agencies receive are for premarital checks. “At a time when families are increasingly dependent on matrimonial websites, it’s easier to fool and get fooled by false claims,” says private detective Ravinder Reddy. “Recently, a bride’s family came to me to do a background check on a prospective groom. His profile claimed he was employed with a monthly salary of `1 lakh. However, when we investigated, we found that he had been asked to leave the company that claimed he was not mentally sound,” says Reddy.