Continued from Damien
14th July 2010; 2pm
The inspector reached his office and had just entered his room after freshening up when Rana knocked at his door.
After seeking permission, he entered the room, “Sahib, as you know that Kishan and I were undercover, following Sandy. We did not find anything really out of place until now. Today morning at around ten, he went to Dilli Haat. There he met a woman. Initially everything looked normal but after some time both of them started arguing with each other. Apparently, Sandy and that woman were having an affair which, in all probability had now gone sour. Sandy was denying the affair, whereas the woman was adamant and was vehemently accusing him of fooling around with her. He was accusing the woman of trying to wreck his happy family life by lying to his wife about this cooked up affair, whereas she maintained throughout that she did not lie and it was him who was a liar and a rogue who was cheating her by not disclosing that he was already married. They kept accusing each other. Then, all of a sudden, the woman realized that Sandy was video recording the entire conversation on his cell phone. Sahib, this is when all hell broke loose. The lady started screaming at him and even tried to assault him. She tried to snatch his cell phone away, but he moved quickly to protect his cell phone from her clutches, then he gathered his wits and took off with that woman on his heels. It was quite a scene. We followed them out but lost Sandy as he got into his car and dashed off in a jiffy.”
“How did she look like?” asked the inspector.
Rana immediately took out Kishan’s cell phone and showed him the video recording. After sensing some trouble brewing up, constable Kishan had positioned himself very cleverly; this enabled him to film the entire action. The video quality was very good although the sound was not up to the mark.
“Who do you think is lying?” asked the inspector.
“Sahib I can’t really say but I think the woman couldn’t have been lying.”
“Why do you say so and that too so confidently?”
“Sahib she looked like a decent woman. Why would she lie about such a thing and malign her own reputation?”
“I agree but then why was Sandy recording the conversation unless he was trying to gather evidence for someone and that one does only if one needs to prove a point. The point here, which Sandy was making, was that he was innocent and that the woman was falsely accusing him of having an affair with him. Sandy was probably trying to record the whole thing to prove his innocence to his wife or someone else. What do you say?” the inspector enjoyed these kinds of debates.
“Sahib, you could be right, however could there not be a possibility that Sandy is as guilty as charged and was recording the conversation only to fool his wife. I mean he might have been acting the whole thing out, just to later on show the recording to pacify his wife or who so ever that he might want to prove his innocence to, because there was nothing really credible which happened to prove his innocence but then he could tell everyone that he went and tried to get to the truth by confronting the woman and even recording the same. An attempt he would not have made had he been guilty. This would lead his wife and others to believe that he is innocent.”
“Yeah....you could have a point. Do you think this woman could be connected to the Bobby Patel’s murder case in any way?”
“No sahib. When Sandy got away, I approached her and told her that she should report the matter to the police but she refused stating that it was her personal matter and that she would sort it out herself. Then I lied and introduced myself to her as Asif. She told me that she did not know me and that’s when I told her that I was Sandy’s and Bobby Patel’s friend. I wanted to throw her off guard and see her reaction. She stared blankly at me and told me that she did not know Bobby, not even heard of him until someone told her that Sandy was being suspected of his murder. I told her that Bobby and Sandy were friends and that I knew him through Bobby and whatever I had heard from Bobby, Sandy was definitely needed to be reported in as he was anything but a gentleman. She just looked at me hard and asked me to mind my own business before walking out on me. Even when they were arguing with each other, the woman had mentioned how Sandy had been fooling her for the last three years and how he had concealed that he was married all these years. This means that she was around Sandy for only three years, therefore she might not have even known Bobby because the partners had long split by then.”
The inspector nodded in agreement as he saw logic in what Rana was saying. “She is a very attractive woman ... I can’t blame Sandy for this misdemeanor of his, eh! Poor guy must be blaming his stars for all the unforeseen troubles. First, the Bobby Patel murder case and now this. Now I firmly believe that what goes around always comes around.” chuckled, the inspector. He then pulled out his cell phone and called up Sandy, “How are you Sandy....I heard you had an argument with a woman at Dilli Haat today, is that correct?”
“How do you know about it inspector?” wondered Sandy.
“That’s not important. Who is she?”
“I don’t know her. I swear. She went to my house the other day after hearing about Bobby’s case and met my wife. While chatting with her she claimed that I was having an affair with her. I have never ever seen her before in my life. I don’t know why is she lying and what she wants from me?”
“That’s very strange because mostly if one would behave in such a manner, one would do it to blackmail the other party but here since she has already gone to your house and spilt the beans, I don’t think blackmailing is her motive. Maybe she is telling the truth. Tell me how did you meet her today if you don’t know her? How did you reach her?”
“That’s because she left her number behind with my wife. I called her up and fixed up that meeting. I wanted to expose her lies.”
“Well, this seems to be your personal matter. What can I say? I only called to ask you as to how she knows Bobby?” lied the inspector.
There was an eerie silence on the other line of the phone....” She knows Bobby?! Inspector, if that’s the case then I think Bobby’s trying to set me up, I mean he was trying to set me up to get back at me.” Sandy reacted immediately.
“But Bobby’s dead. Even if what you are saying is correct and she is acting at Bobby’s behest, why would she bother you now….after his death? Did you ever see her with Bobby or did he ever mention her to you all?”
“Sir, I have told you that I have never ever seen this woman before until today and as for Bobby mentioning her ever before, the answer is NO!”
“Okay. You take care. Call me if you need any help and just text-message me her number, just in case…. Have a good day.” The inspector smiled as he disconnected the call. He had deliberately lied to Sandy just to check whether the woman was in any manner connected to the Bobby Patel’s case or not. Now he was convinced that she was not. However, one thing which seemed slightly out of place was....if Sandy was telling the truth about her then why was she harassing Sandy....or probably Sandy was lying about the whole thing to avoid a very livid wife.
The inspector turned his attention to his sub-ordinates and applauded Rana and Kishan for their good work. He then asked them to call off their undercover operation on Sandy. Rana was slightly surprised but nodded in the affirmative and left the room. Inspector Raj had a couple of strong reasons to call the surveillance off. First, he had a strong logical reason to believe that Sandy was not involved in Bobby’s murder. Second, after today’s telecom Sandy would be alert and lastly, the inspector also felt bad for Sandy since nothing was working right for him at the moment, so he wanted to give him some space. Therefore, he decided not to deploy anybody to snoop around Sandy anymore.
Inspector Raj was feeling famished and was about to step outside to grab a bite when he was stalled by Tiwari’s entry into his room. His face was lit up like the evening skies do during Diwali, “Sahib you were right! Damien’s fingerprints match with those that were found on the rod.”
The inspector had known this ever since Nira had told him that Prince Bhai was none other than Damien. It was the alias Damien used in his circle of goons and friends. He just wanted to be absolutely sure about this and that is why he was waiting for the fingerprints report.
“Good work Tiwari. Now get Damien’s cell phone track and match it with Bobby’s. This needs to be done strictly under the wraps till I instruct you otherwise. I want a watertight case before announcing our prized catch because he is a very well-connected man, you know. I don’t want to take any chances. Also get an artist over to the police station to get the sketches done up of the duo who met up with Bobby at Rocky’s bar the other day, especially the other guy who was with Damien because we’ve got to find him. It’s damn important. Hurry up! We don’t have much time for all of this.”
14th July 2010; 6pm
Sandy was seated in inspector Raj’s room. He was summoned by the inspector in the afternoon right after he had finished his telecom with the inspector relating to his incident at Dilli Haat. He had received another call from the inspector, asking him to reach the police station as soon as possible and he did just that. He was waiting at the station for the last one hour now since the inspector was in a briefing session with his senior.
Sandy was shifting in his seat nervously as he did not know what the inspector wanted now. Ever since this Bobby Patel case had cropped up, his life had been thrown completely off the track. Sona had not been in her elements since the time Rosa had met her. She had stopped talking to him and had retracted into a shell of her own. His life was in shambles and he did not have a clue as to how to pull through and put it all back together. He knew that he had not killed Bobby but did not know how to prove his innocence. The way his luck was going these days he had a very uncanny feeling that the inspector had called him in to implicate him in the murder.
The more he thought of it the more he was becoming anxious. Suddenly his anxiety took over him and his breathing became very heavy and he started gasping for air. He had a blood pressure issue which seemed to have gotten the better of him. As he was struggling to breathe, the inspector stepped inside the room. Seeing Sandy’s condition, he hurriedly offered him a glass of water. Sandy seemed slightly better after a couple of gulps.
“Are you alright?” asked the inspector. Sandy nodded his head after taking a deep breath. “The reason for calling you here is that I wanted to tell you that I think we know who the killer is. You are off the hook.”
Sandy looked up at the inspector in amazement and disbelief.
The inspector reacted by smiling back at Sandy’s bewildered demeanor. “Yes, you have heard me right. You are no more under suspicion of Bobby’s murder as I think I have the killer. However, I need your help in identifying him and then bearing witness against him in the court.”
Sandy was perplexed.
“Look, if you want to get out of this case you have to help, not only Bobby and me but also yourself.”
“What do you want me to do?” quivered Sandy. He was relieved beyond comprehension.
“Do you know who Prince Bhai is?”
“Yes! It is an alias that Damien uses.”
“Can you identify him?”
“Of course, I can!” The inspector led him to the main control room of the police station and asked the constable manning the computers to show them the previous day’s CCTV footage of the main entrance of the station of between 1pm and 3pm. As the footage was being run, the inspector asked the constable to freeze the frame where Damien enters the station, just before he had moved into the ACPs office. The footage was then zoomed in to bring Damien’s face into focus. The inspector looked at Sandy enquiringly as he inspected the image very carefully before confirming that indeed that was Damien, alias Dugu Bhai.
“Fantastic! Now you can go home in peace man. However, I would want you to keep this a close secret till the time you read about the revelation in the news. You are a free man!”
The inspector shook Sandy’s hand and was just about to bid him farewell when Tiwari entered and showed inspector Raj the sketches of Damien and his accomplice at the bar that he had got made basis the description given by Rocky to the police artist. The inspector once again looked at Sandy for his support and handed him the sketches.
Sandy again identified Damien immediately but seemed to struggle to recognize the accomplice.
It had been a difficult period of time for Sandy, therefore the inspector told him to take it easy on himself. “It’s alright; I don’t expect you to recognize this other bloke. You have already done enough. Don’t be too hard upon yourself.” The inspector asked him to hand back the sketches.
As Sandy was giving the sketches back to the inspector he suddenly held back and glanced at the second sketch once again. “This is Mateen!” exclaimed Sandy.
“Are you sure about this?!”
“Absolutely! He is a close associate and friend of Damien’s. He is also a local thug who lives in Ghaziabad. He even came to our office once along with Damien. He always carried a pistol with him and used it to intimidate people, including us. I have not seen or heard from them over the last couple of years, though.”
“Do you know where he lives in Ghaziabad?”
“No. But these guys and their entire group used to hang out at Janpath, at the marketplace below the old Indian Oil Building. I am sure that you would certainly find someone or the other who could help you with this information. These guys are very notoriously popular there.”
The inspector immediately instructed Tiwari to make copies of the sketches for the record and also to check out Mateen’s details from Janpath. He ordered Tiwari to pick up Mateen and present him at the station for interrogation as he knew how important Mateen was as a witness in the case. He once again thanked Sandy for the help and bid him farewell.
The last five words resonated in Sandy’s mind even while he was driving away from the station. He had never ever in his life, felt as elevated as he was feeling right now. Tears had actually begun to roll down his eyes, onto his cheeks the moment he had heard those five words from the inspector. He had almost convinced himself that the inspector would implicate him in the case falsely and had thought of all the worst things but when he heard the inspector of letting him go, he could not believe his ears for a moment. Suddenly his faith in God and the justice system of the country was re-established. He knew very well how it was so easy to frame people in false cases in an endeavor to gain brownie points and the hastiness to close the case file. It happened all the time. He was so thankful to inspector Raj; initially he had thought of him to be a rogue and a scoundrel but now his impression about the inspector had taken a complete three-hundred-and-sixty-degree turn. It was due to the excellent policing and investigation work done by the inspector that Sandy was free today or else it would have really been very difficult for him to prove himself innocent. He just wanted to get to his family as soon as possible and tell them that he was a free man. The only thorn in is flesh left now was…Rosa.
Continued to "The Arrest"