Detectives on demand as parties gather inputs on candidates

Detectives on demand as parties gather inputs on candidates

Detectives on demand as parties gather inputs on candidates

While astrologers and sooth sayers do brisk business forecasting fortunes of political leaders during election times, Tamil Nadu is seeing unprecedented demand for private detectives.

Political parties, including the ruling AIADMK, are said to be hiring detective agencies to snoop on the candidates and keep an eye on the opponents.

Besides piecing together party-level strategies, private eyes are said to be used extensively in gathering booth-level information on the strategies the rival candidates use.

AIADMK sources said the party has hired a Mumbai-based detective agency that has a vast network across the country. Apart from snooping on the candidates and their rivals, the party is said to be using them to gather public opinion to prepare its manifesto.

“After receiving reports from the detectives, our party high command has changed 12 candidates,” an AIADMK leader said, adding that the party rejigged candidate list based on the information the detectives had gathered on how such changes would benefit the party’s fortunes.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a private detective agency hired by a major political party in the state said they have been asked to find out the opponent party’s influence in a constituency.

The agency has also been asked to check on the antecedents of fresh aspirants, including digging out information on criminal cases against them in the past.

“We also keep track on the opponent party’s strategy to influence voters, especially if they distribute money,” the agency said.

The opposition DMK that hired city-based agencies, has also drafted in retired state intelligence wing officials to get spot feedback on election rallies.

A detective with an agency hired by DMK said: “We have been asked to pass on information to the legal wing whether ruling party cadres distribute freebees so that it could be brought to the EC’s notice.”

Private detective industry sources here said out of 17,000 agencies across the country, at least 75 specialise in political espionage and have trained its agents to take up political investigations.

They also added that nearly 500 agents have been engaged by various agencies on behalf of political parties for huge fees.

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