London: A growing number of Indian-origin families are using the services of private detectives to check on prospective grooms for their daughters before finalising an arranged marriage.
Companies based in the UK claim that demand for this new kind of pre-wedding service by Asian families with roots in the Indian sub-continent mostly comes from brides-to-be.
While costs for such background checks start at 100 pounds, Raj Singh, a director of Lion Investigations, recently charged as much as 4,500 pounds for several weeks of surveillance.
"It's a range of different things, sometimes from as simple as what car he [the groom] drives or how much he drinks, to international surveillance," he told 'The Times'.
Sukhdev Malotarah, 54, used Singh's services to find out more about his potential son-in-law from India.
"I contacted the investigators because I needed to be sure that everything was above board. The first time we met the family [of the prospective groom] it just didn't feel right, they were very interested in our way of life in England and my daughter's earnings," he said.
A three-week investigation involving the use of local agents in India yielded information of a kind he "could not see coming".
The groom-to-be, Malotarah told the newspaper, had openly boasted of his plan to marry his daughter only to get into Britain and then leave her once he was settled.
He was also heard insulting her weight and was found to drink heavily.
"It cost me over 2,500 pounds but it was worth it in the end. I would have paid out a lot more if the wedding had happened, and my daughter would have been heartbroken," he said.
Leon Hart, another private investigator, said he gets between 10 and 20 inquiries a month from Asians who are about to marry and about 70 per cent of his clients are female.
Many of his clients hire investigators to simply trail a prospective groom to explore if he is hiding any unpleasant secrets, while others pay out further to dig into details of his sexual history and health.