In the detective novels, women investigators are fleshed out imaginatively and convincingly. In real life and in Pune, they are simply smart , brave and meticulous in their work.
Lady private investigators in the city are a small, but a growing tribe. They stand undaunted in their defence of justice, tread risky territories in search of truth and know criminals like the back of their hands. The profession may cost them, but many admit, it is the danger that gets the adrenaline going, day after day.
Their services are being sought after, especially for pre and post-marital investigations. They also take up other marital discord cases, divorce data collection, undercover operations, technical analysis such as finger printing, and handwriting analyses and corporate cases involving trademark infringement.
Secrecy is their middle name and a professional trademark. They won’t reveal their names or any other identity, not even to the media. A lady investigator working for an investigating agency in the cantonment said she had been in this profession for 15 years, but had never interacted with her clients directly. “If people know your identity, it becomes a threat to you and your family. I took up this profession to help women grappling with failing marriages and infidelity. In many cases, I counsel the couple to save a marriage, if the husband shows remorse over committing adultery,” she said.
Her forte is pre and post-matrimonial investigations. Which means collecting necessary information about the prospective spouse before marriage and investigating a partner’s likely extra-marital affair? “Recently, I investigated a case in Aundh. Two young persons could not marry due to family opposition. All of a sudden, the woman stopped meeting the man, but would e-mail him regularly saying that though she missed him and would marry him soon, she could not leave her house as her parents had physically abused her. He requested us to find the truth. After investigations, I found that the woman had got married and was in the US, and had asked her sister to keep emailing the man,” she said.
This investigator became a sleuth after her own bitter experiences post- marriage. “It is important to have requisite information about one’s prospective spouse, before it is too late,” she added.
Another lady investigator, who works in the city-based Corporate Intelligence Services or CIS, handles as many as 8-10 cases every month. “Nealry 90-95 percent women detectives handle pre-matrimonial and post-matrimonial investigations. But it is a tough job, and one is always on the run. It requires a blend of skills, training and planning, without which one would be feel tired. Once we get a case to solve, all the investigators have a meeting with the proprietor of the agency. A suitable person is then assigned the task, and more often than not, such cases are given to women,” she said.
During her five-year stint, it was meticulous planning and brain-storming that kept risks and perils at bay. “My vocation has made me bold and confident. In addition, I have now learned to read people at a glance,” said this self-trained investigator.
CIS’s proprietor Rajesh Pande said his agency has two lady investigators. “They handle matrimonial discord cases and commercial and miscellaneous cases like thefts,” he added.
It’s obvious that Geeta, a freelancer with Sharp Detectives, loves her job. “It is full of thrills. The excitement and the I-can-do-whatever-a-man-can’, the money, the convenience of working when I want to and not being controlled by my work timings made me take it up. I have struck a fine balance between looking after my family and a career, without compromising on either for six years,” she said. Incidentally, she has a degree in forensic science and got on-the-job training from seniors.
She said each case was unique and has specific methodologies. “I have assisted in marital discord cases, divorce data collection, undercover operations and in technical analyses such as finger-printing, and handwriting. I have also investigated many corporate cases involving trademark infringement. During the last two years, I have been allocated mostly post matrimonial cases because of my success rate,” she said.
The biggest advantage in the profession is being a woman, according to her. “We have better access and if we are street smart, we can achieve results better than our counterparts. Many times cases are passed on to us because they could not be solved by other agencies or male investigators,” she said.
Gautam Giri, general manager of Sharp Detectives Pvt Ltd, said lady investigators mad excellent freelance and full-time employees. “We have been around for nearly 38 years and have employed the services of both full-time and freelance lady investigators. There has never been a single complaint or problem about their aptitude. Our industry would crumble if there weren’t for reliable lady investigators.”
“We have offices in Australia and New Zealand too, but full-time lady investigators are more in India than abroad. This shows that women are willing to break the glass ceiling,” said Giri.
The agency has 28 full-time lady investigators and more the 50 freelancers all over the country.