When love has started blooming on social networking sites; when online matrimonial sites play the match maker and marriage arrangements continue to be based on exaggerated classified matrimony ads in newspapers, private detectives have a lot to turn their eye on.
The cases of fraudulent marriages are ironically becoming more and more frequent in these day and age of instant connectivity. The shrinking of joint families and growing consumerism have also eroded the trust factor in many an alliance.
Detective Vikas Sonkar from a Zirakpur based investigating company, Elevates Security Pvt Ltd, says," Earlier most of the marriages were arranged by reliable members in the family or trusted friends, and the matches were fixed within the families and communities. Today marriages are fixed through matrimony sites, matches are found on Facebook and couples get to know each other through Skype. With these mediums, the chances of meeting fraudsters instead og genuine matches have increased manifold."
Punjab perhaps has been the worst hit by fraudulent marriages because of the Punjabi's penchant for settling abroad. The sordid tales of brides abandoned by their NRI grooms seem to be endless. Sonkar, who has been in this business for the past 10 yrs, says,"Visit the site National Crime Records Bureau(NCRB) and you will be surprised to see that the number of fraud marriages has only grown over the years. That's why in the last decade, the concept of pre-matrimonial investigation has picked up. In Punjab people are so obsessed with going abroad that they marry anyone without doing any sort of background check."
The process of Pre-Matrimonial investigation involves getting information about six main factors-
Outof all these, the two things that the families are extremely curious to know are the details about the character of the bride or the groom and of their ongoing affairs, if any.
Sonkar says,"No doubt people have started hiring private detectives, but spying is still a taboo, especially in the case of matrimonial alliances. Even today, clients don't feel comfortable in revealing their identities. Many of them procure a different sim card/number to contact us and they discard it after use."
The investigation procedure in such cases usually varies from 15 days to month, depending on the complexity of the case.Det. Vikas Sonkar generally charges Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 for a case and the amount increases depending on the complexity of the case.
Sharing the case study of a high profile textile industrialist's daughter, Detective Sonkar says, "This family grew suspicious about the boy whom their daughter wanted to marry. The boy seemingly belonged to a wealthy family. But when they hired us, we found that the different luxury cars that the boy drove in to meet them were mostly borrowed from his friends. He only had a motorcycle and hailed from a very ordinary family. He had even faked his address."
It is not just the women who are victimized. Wealthy men too are targeted by greedy brides. An NRI from UK, who, on his visit to India, fell in love with an Indian woman, was about to marry her till he hired a private detective. He says,"The woman was divorced and had a seven year old daughter. I made up my mind to marry her and adopt her daughter. Once back in UK, I even sent her around Rs 20 Lac for the things she said she needed-LCD, AC, gold, her daughter's education etc. Then she wanted to start her business and even buy a house. I had sent the amount to make the down payment, but sensed something wrong. After hiring a private detective, I found out the money I sent was never used to buy any house or start a business. What had made me suspicious was the fact that this woman would never revert promptly to my messages or calls. She always called me back hours later. Even her family made excuses that she was busy. But through this detective I got to know that most of the money that I sent was used by her brother for cricket betting. Also, she was simultaneously having affair with another married man who was mostly with her and that was the reason she avoided my calls."
While the surge in pre-matrimonial investigation reflects the growing deceit in matrimonial alliances, post-marital investigation which far exceeds in the number of cases than those of pre-marital investigation shows the growing lack of commitment among couples.
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