With elections round the corner, an increasing number of politicians are hiring private detectives not just to keep an eye on rival candidates but also their own poll managers.
Congress and BJP candidates in at least three states — Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, which are going to polls in November — have hired private detectives for different jobs.
A Delhi Congress candidate has got detectives tracking his main poll campaigners to find out if they are double crossing him. In Rajasthan, a BJP candidate has asked for daily details of his Congress opponent’s campaign.
“Candidates have hired us to do specific jobs. We’re asked to collect evidence and they use it against opponents and party dissidents,” said Sanjeev Deshwal, president of Certified Private Detective Agencies’ Association. The fee could be anything between Rs one lakh and Rs 10 lakh — depending on the work.
A Congress candidate in Delhi, who did not want to be named, had his own reason: “An election in a city like Delhi can cost close to Rs one crore. We have to trust our poll campaigners. But keeping a check on them helps us to monitor the campaign before it is too late.”
Another Delhi Congress candidate has asked a private detective to tell him in advance which film star his opponent is planning to use in his campaign. He wants a bigger star, said an owner of a south Delhi based detective agency.