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Detect the Detective in India?

Remember television programmes like 'Byomkesh Bakshi', 'Tehkikat', 'Suraag', C.I.D, Karamchand, not to forget books like Sherlock Holmes and the Enid Blyton series? All about solving crimes on your own, these were more so fascinating because they were solved by private detectives or special ops who followed a jurisdiction of their own.

But have you ever wondered what private detectives look like in real life? Thus far the concept of a private eye is that of someone with extraordinary intelligence, problem solving skills and an uncanny ability to even smell blood!

However in real life, they are not versions of Robert Downey Junior or Matt Damons with uber cool jackets and state-of-the-art gizmos and magnifying glasses. They are common folk like you and me, roaming amongst us with a treasure trove of secrets and information and the keen eye that knows where to look and when.

The pearl city is host to about 150 of these private detective agencies. And the beauty of them is that they are a hub of multi-talented professionals from every possible field. Be it a doctor, a management executive or even a teacher, if you've got the skills, you'll find a spot for yourself.

In a generation with work spilling over to the home front and time differences being reduced to the seconds, the intense pressure that is being piled on to the society is forming a large breeding ground of problems. From gambling to infidelity, there is a heady mix out there that will keep these 100 odd agencies on their toes.

Cases like background verification, matrimonial screening and security services have picked up pace in recent times as the luxury of being able to simply trust a person is a rarity. Agencies like Sharp Detective Private Limited, Globe Detective Agency, Real Eye Detective and Investigative Agency and Private Spy 007 are some of the more popular ones.

Captain Devendra Kumar Giri, a retired service man and the chairman of Andhra Pradesh chapter of the Association of Private Detectives in India and also the founder of Sharp Detective PVT LTD has been in the business for the past 30 years. Besides being a veteran, the Captain is also the recipient of the Ratna Shiromani Award (for professional excellence and scientific approach in private investigations).

The agency began operating since 1978 and till date has about 600 full time professional private investigators (PI) and about 1000 desk operatives, working from around the world. "Our part-time investigators come from different fields. We have doctors, corporate employees, engineers and many more. Depending on the subject of the case, we put them on board."

The business part of these agencies does not seem that lucrative, as a lot of investment goes into infrastructure and the investigators. Also adding to this list are a lot of personal initiatives taken up by the agency. Giri explains, "Apart from personal and commercial problems of people, we even take up a few cases from the State government that do not fall under policing. Like when we took the initiative to track down Veerappan. Our 200 member team from around spent almost five years in the jungles of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh with an aim to put an end to his trail. But we had to wait as it was possible only when they announced a reward on him."

While that may the PI end of things, for the people who come in everyday looking to find an answer to their predicament, the catch isn't in catching your spouse/child/partner red-handed but in making sure you go to the right agency that won't swindle you.

Says Giri, "Setting up a private detective agency is not everybody's piece of cake. Every second day an agency comes up, takes up five cases, functions for less than two months and their chapter closes. People trust these agencies very easily with all their confidential matters and in turn get blackmailed by them."

He adds, "According to the law, all the private detective agencies have to register with the State government under the Private Security Agencies (Regulation) Act, 2005. But unfortunately it has not yet been implemented in Andhra Pradesh. In my case, I set up shop in Maharashtra, registered my agency there and then took an all-India permit." In the present day scenario, not just the adults, but even kids need to taught the importance of being alert. With the rate of substance abuse among young teens shooting up, the need to be alert is all the more essential.

"We go to various corporate companies and schools and create awareness on the importance of being alert. Small things like checking belongings at your residence before locking it, taking care of one's belongings while shopping, and for kids to be alert before and after school are stressed upon."

Children are more prone to distractions which is why Capt Giri feels its vital that we teach our kids to protest when a stranger touches them inappropriately or asks them to sit in their cars or even try to get friendly with them. "A lot of trouble will be curbed right at this point if we do so," he foretells.

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