NEW DELHI: Private detective agencies are in high demand this poll season as candidates and different political parties are hiring them to pry and scoop out dirt about their rivals.
The agencies are being tasked to keep a tab on day-to-day activities in the rival camp and find out the strategies they are formulating for the polls.
Those who didn't get tickets are also hiring these agencies to sabotage the campaign of those who are contesting, industry insiders said.
Political parties are hiring detective agencies to keep an eye on their opponents, to know their strategies and also to find out information related to hidden criminal records, illicit relationships or videos that have the potential to derail one's election campaign, Kunwar Vikram Singh, Chairman of Association of Private Detectives and Investigators, said.
"Agencies are also being approached by those who haven't been given a ticket to contest the polls to mar the party candidate's image and scuttle their prospects of winning," he said.
According to Mahesh Chandra Sharma, Managing Director of GDX Detectives, hiring private detective agencies during the poll season has become an established practice now.
"However, due to more pre-poll alliances this season, a new trend has emerged where disgruntled members who are not in favour of the pacts are hiring services of detective agencies to collect information about the alliance partners, to break it or even use it later to blackmail to secure better portfolios in case the alliance wins," Sharma claimed.
Chief of another detective firm on condition of anonymity said this time more hiring is being done at an individual level to know strategies, modus operandi of opposition candidates and find out whether the lobby supporting him is also supporting his rivals.
Besides, some parties want to keep a tab on the activities of their own workers, especially those who have been denied tickets, he said, adding that the main aim is to see whether anybody is acting as a back-stabber or passing on important information to rivals.
"The amounts being charged for services range anything between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 60 lakhs and the clients don't shy away from opening their kitty for a favourable result," an official of an agency said.