She spies

Love for thrill is drawing many small town girls to Delhi to play Miss Marple in real life. Manoj Sharma finds out.

delhi Updated: Feb 22, 2009 23:42 IST
Manoj Sharma
Manoj Sharma
Hindustan Times

At the plush office of Lancers Network in South Delhi, a premier private detective agency, pretty young women are sashaying around in jackets and trousers. Aged between 18-28, these women look like marketing executives, but they actually work here as private eyes. And most of them are from small towns.

“A growing number of girls are coming to Delhi from small towns to work as detectives. There are about 400 women detectives in the city and most hail from small towns,” said Kunwar Vikram Singh, Chairman, Lancers Network and President, Association of Private Detectives of India.

Akriti, 24, chief investigating officer, Lady Detectives India, a Delhi-based all women detective agency, said: “We have about 75 women working with us. Everyday, I get inquiries from girls from small towns wanting to join us.”

Undercover thrill

It’s the excitement of doing something different and adventurous that draws them to the profession. “In school, I was fond of watching TV serials like Karamchand. You see, there is never a dull moment in our profession,” said Anju Rawat, who hails from Pauri in Uttaranchal.

Neetu Verma, who hails from Meerut, said: “My parents wanted me to be a doctor, but I was looking for some thrill in life.” Verma works with Tejas Detective Agency.

The agencies, in turn, are happy with the girls. “Most girls who work with me are from farmers’ families. They have good looks, are intuitive and courageous,” said Singh.

Bhavna Paliwal, who runs Tejas Detectives, agreed. “They have no hang-ups and are willing to work hard,” she said. Paliwal herself is from a small town in UP. She has trained about 50 girls till now.

Many, however, admit they do not tell their parents about their nature of work. “They say they are working as research assistants with us” said Singh.

No honeytrap girls

From corporate investigations to finding out whether the man you have selected for your daughter is ‘Mr Right’, to exploring whether your spouse is faithful, these girls handle all kinds of investigations.

Looking beautiful and innocent helps. “People open up easily. But I am not a honeytrap girl. In a pre-matrimonial check, the idea is to judge the character of a man, not trap him. So, I act in a dignified way,” said Neha Jain, 25, from Indore, who works with Times Detective.

Among the cases they handle, 60 per cent are pre-matrimonial investigations, with most families looking for some lowdown on the bride and the groom. They use a variety of tricks and devices for collecting information from surveillance of the person to talking to neighbours, colleagues, domestic helps and driver.

“We also try to meet the person under the scanner as marketing girls, insurance agents, etc. to get professional and personal details. In post-matrimonial investigations where we are generally required to give proof of infidelity, we have to use spy cams,” said Paliwal.

Sleaze and the city

What these detectives discover during the course of work also often hurt their sensibilities. “It’s shocking the way men, women and even children in this city act in private,” said Niharika Sharma, 27, who works with Tejas.

At times, these women also get into trouble. “Once when I went to meet a man for a pre-matrimonial check as an insurance agent, he almost dragged me into his bedroom. Many men I met have failed the character test,” said Rawat.

(Names of some women have been changed)

First Published: Feb 22, 2009 23:34 IST