It’s barely noticeable, on 24x7 alert and one of the latest gizmos Indians are using largely for ‘shady reasons’. The spycam has moved from pulp fiction and sting operations into middle-class bedrooms.
Raman Jairath should know. “In the last three years,” says the Delhi-based importer and distributor of electronic goods, “sales of spy cameras have shot up by about 200 per cent. Earlier, people used detectives; now they prefer their own equipment.”
Among the biggest buyers are errant spouses and warring in-laws. Vishwas Sharma of Delhi recently bought a pen camera for his mother, so she could keep tabs on her other’s son wife. Last year in Mumbai, a widow complained to the police that her in-laws had placed spycams in the house to keep tabs on her. In a counter-complaint, the in-laws insisted they’d done so because they feared she would do them in for the property.
It’s not just in-laws who are resorting to spying. The parent-child relationship has problems too. Says Rahul Gandhi of Delhi-based RG Technologies: “We’ve had a father who wanted to catch his son stealing money, a son who wanted to find out how his parents were dividing the family money, and a couple who wanted to keep a watch on their child’s nanny.”
The price of spycams, at electronics stores and online, ranges from Rs 2,000 to Rs 1 lakh or more. Pen cameras cost Rs 1,500-6,000 and are most popular.
(Some names changed on request)
(Inputs from Mini Pant Zachariah)