Detective Vikram Singh refuses to disclose the names of his high-profile political clients. But he does drop one name. Union Minister and Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia, he says, called on his services when he wanted voter management data of his constituency.
Intelligence gathering for the election seems to have spawned a mini-industry of sorts if one were to go by the numbers being quoted by Singh, who is chairman of the Association of Private Detectives of India. According to him, a whopping 15,000 people have been mobilised in the last three years to pass on vital information that could help swing elections one way or the other. Active in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh, the network is made up of teachers, NGO workers, dhaba owners, local reporters—people most likely to be in the know. “One has to find highly politically motivated people for this sort of job,” says Singh.
Next time you grumble to your barber or dhaba owner about your no-good MP or MLA, you might actually have the attention of the man himself.