Gizmos give private eyes sharper sight, clearer sound

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    Tailing someone at the behest of a client was a hard task for private detective Sanjay Sonawani 20 years back. He would often walk several kilometres to follow the person only to be disappointed when his quarry entered a house or private compound out of bounds for Sonawani. The information blackout would last until he emerged again.

    "Once a person entered a place, say a flat or a bungalow, we were clueless," recalls 48-year-old Sonawani, who has been running Rovers Detecting Agency for the past 24 years.

    Hi-tech gizmos have changed all that. The methodology has metamorphosed in the past few years. Now Sonawani and his staff of over 55 across Maharashtra use GPS, high-end spy cameras, advanced cellphones/GPRS and more to make their work easier and more efficient.

    "The changing face of technology has had a big impact on private investigation. The latest equipment reduce stress on investigators and saves time. New technology is used by detective agencies to gather usable information and intelligence. The better the product the larger the info," said Gautam Giri, general manager (West), Sharp Detective Agency, a 42-year-old agency.

    At Sharp, the research put into procuring these devices from around the world is phenomenal and easily takes up 50 man-hours a week. On an average investment on gadgets is approximately 15 lakh per annum. Giri adds that investigators at Sharp use devices like hidden cameras, GPS trackers, audio/video devices that can be hidden in photo frames, clocks, ties, caps, belts, TV, stereo and so on, night vision devices, and bionic listening devices that allows conversation to be heard from a distance of 100 feet.

    On an average, Rovers Detective Agency gets around 30 to 40 cases a month. "Not every case demands use of technical equipment. But still, on an average, we spend between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1.5 lakh a month on gadgets," adds Sonawani.

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