Continued from The Breakthrough
16th July 2010; 1pm
It had been almost two days since the police started their hunt for Mateen. Tiwari had gathered a lot of intelligence on him. The operation had to be kept under the wraps therefore the police were treading very carefully, they did not want to tip off Damien at all lest he used his political clout to try to get off the hook or leave the country.
Mateen was not a small-time thug but a gangster. He had an impeccable criminal record ranging from his involvement in illegal land deals, drugs, extortions and attempt to murder cases. He was never imprisoned as nobody dared to bear witness against him and he always got off easily. He was a declared Bad Character of his area. He was associated with Damien for the last twenty years. He was Damien’s junior at school before dropping out of it.
Initially he worked completely under Damien’s shadow but then, over the years he had become very powerful himself and had started his own independent operations since Damien was more politically correct and got involved in almost clean and white collared deals.
Damien was never involved in any heinous crime and never got on the wrong side of the law. He used his connections to get into deals which could be resolved with political intervention using Mateen and his likes only to intimidate. Damien had thrived due to his political network. He had made his money mostly by brokering complicated property deals and then lending the money made from them on very high interest rates to desperate people that either he knew well or who were referred to him through his acquaintances.
Mateen lived in Ghaziabad but had left home eleven years ago after his first crime. He had a wife and two children whom he seldom visited. He stayed at several different places and not even his closest associates knew where he would stay till he actually did. He kept moving frequently. His family had disowned him years ago. However, he had never, ever killed anyone before nor did his pattern of crimes suggested that he ever would... but then one never knows.
Tiwari had done a splendid job in tracking Mateen’s whereabouts and then finally apprehending him. The entire operation was conducted very discreetly. Mateen was en route to Mussoorie (a hill station in North India near Dehradun) when Tiwari and his team had picked him up from a bar at Rajouri Garden. He had just stepped out for a smoke when he was picked up and packed off in the waiting police vehicle. The operation was so covert that even Mateen’s accomplices in the bar did not get a whiff of what had happened. Tiwari had informed inspector Raj of the prized catch and the inspector made sure that he was present for Mateen’s reception at the police station. Tiwari had also made sure that he and his team had mellowed Mateen down en route to the police station so that he would behave well while facing their inspector sahib.
Although Mateen was a hardened criminal but even he was totally shaken by the treatment he got from the police team while they were mellowing him down, so much so that when he came face to face with the inspector he did not throw any of the tantrums that he did while he was shoved initially into the car after his ‘abduction’.
“I hope they did not mistreat you?” mocked the inspector.
“What do you all want? Why have I been brought in like this?”
“Sit down. Get him some tea.”
“No, I don’t want any tea but... would like to smoke though!”
The inspector let him light up. “Do you recognize the face in this sketch?”
“Yeah, that’s Prince Bhai... so what??”
“Do you recognize this man here?” the inspector pushed a snap of Bobby’s toward Mateen.
“No, never seen him before in my life.”
“You know Mateen, we know that you and Prince Bhai met him at that bar the other day. We have witnesses and the footage from the bar camera. Now....let me ask you again....do you recognize this man?”
“Well....yeah I met him along with Prince Bhai....since when has that become a crime??”
“No, not meeting but killing is.”
“Are you out of your mind? I need to talk to my lawyer right away!” wailed, a shell shocked Mateen.
“Look mister, you can make it as difficult or as easy for yourself... the choice is yours.”
“See, I had gone there with Prince Bhai because he wanted me to go along with him, that’s all.”
“That’s all!! You guys got into a fight with him, killed him and then put him into his car and burnt the car down with his body inside it.”
There was an eerie silence in the chamber....
“You are making some mistake inspector. I was there, yes. We had a scuffle, yes but then I left. At least I did not kill him.”
“If you did not then who did?”
“I don’t know. Prince Bhai and I had left the bar parking after the scuffle and he dropped me at the nearby Metro station where I had parked my car, after which I drove off to my friend Salim’s place. I was there the entire night. You can check that out with Salim, he is my alibi.”
“Where did Prince go after dropping you off at the Metro station?”
“I have no idea. I have not even spoken with him after that night.”
“Are you sure? Coz we have your call records. You know any wrong statement right now can lead you straight into the jail,” lied the inspector.
“Sir, he called on 13th to tell me that he was being questioned by the police regarding Bobby and that I should keep shut and get out of town for some time.”
“Why would he want you to shut up if he is innocent?” enquired the inspector.
“I don’t know anything about that. I have never questioned him ever before. I respect him a lot for that.”
Just then Tiwari brought in news confirming that Damien’s and Bobby’s cell phones’ records proved that both were located at Rohini Sector 8 between ten and eleven in the night of 8th July. The records also proved that Damien had called up Bobby on his cell phone on 5th July for the first time and between then and 8th July had exchanged calls with him at least fifteen times. Mostly Damien called Bobby, thirteen times. There was enough proof now to place both Mateen and Damien under arrest for the murder of Bobby Patel.
“Mateen I am arresting you for being an accomplice of Damian Vaghela’s in conspiring against and then murdering Bobby Patel.”
“I am innocent sir! I have not killed anyone. Prince Bhai took me there just to be with him. I just went there, downed a couple of drinks and went away. I was not even a party to their discussion as I mostly sat at a distance enjoying my drinks and the music. Besides, it was I who broke the scuffle between the two of them. I am telling you the truth; I did not kill anyone!” screamed Mateen as he was being taken away to initiate the formalities of his arrest.
16th July 2010; 11pm
After arresting Mateen, the inspector went to meet the Deputy Commissioner of Police in his office at Ashok Vihar, New Delhi. The meeting was a formality to brief the DCP of the latest developments in the light of the evidence gathered and to obtain the permission to bring in Damien for interrogation and then on if required to place him under arrest. Though the DCP was fully aware of the facts yet he was apprised about the political and police clout that Damien enjoyed.
The DCP assured the inspector that there shall be no tolerance for any interference in this case. The inspector had then headed straight toward Azad Market to bring Damien in, personally.
Inspector Raj had first approached the local police station for assistance, the Station House Officer of which had already been informed about the operation by the DCP’s office. Taking the local police team into confidence was very important and prudent as the Azad Market area is very congested and notorious with several getaway points. The inspector wanted no lapses.
The inspector was accompanied by four constables when he reached Damien’s residence. It was a well-known fact that Damien was a popular person in his area and taking him in, especially against his wish might create a situation, therefore the four constables.
The inspector reached for the doorbell and very cautiously pressed it. He could hear the soft chime of the doorbell and after a pause a servant opened the door. “Please call Mr. Damien Vaghela.” The servant looked perplexed and tried to close the door on the inspector, but the inspector stopped the door midway by placing his foot between the door and the threshold. He pushed the servant aside and rushed inside. He reached a big courtyard where he saw Damien standing at its corner. He was really surprised to see such a big house in the Old Delhi area. It looked average from outside but from within it was huge; although old but very well maintained, with lots of plants all around.
“Mr. Vaghela, we would want you to accompany us to the police station for some questioning regarding the Bobby Patel murder case.”
“I guess you were done with your queries the last time I had visited you?”
“Well, Mr. Vaghela, some new developments and evidences have come to light, all of which warrants another session with you.”
“Alright then, I will come tomorrow.”
“We have to go now sir! Please don’t make things difficult for both of us.”
“Are you arresting me?”
“No, not yet but I can if you do not comply.”
“You know inspector, if I don’t want you to, you can’t touch me in my area. So I strongly suggest you head back wherever you have come here from.”
“You know Prince, in my entire career until now I have been transferred sixteen times and suspended thrice and most of these have been on account of busting a bastard like you beyond recognition. So I strongly suggest that you save your breath, shut up and get moving along.”
Inspector Raj stared straight into Damien’s eyes. The servant tried to intervene but got a hard slap across his cheek by inspector Raj. He was immediately apprehended by the constables who had followed the inspector in. Seeing so many policemen had its impact on Damien, and he softened up. He agreed to accompany inspector Raj but only after he was allowed to call up his lawyer and a politician friend. The inspector did not want to create a scene and therefore he agreed to Damien’s demands.
After Damien made the calls he silently walked toward the inspector. In the meanwhile, Damien’s parents had come out into the courtyard after hearing the commotion. They were astonished and asked the inspector the reason for his actions. The inspector explained to them in brief but also assured them that they were taking Damien only for questioning and that if he was innocent then no harm would come his way.
The old parents were visibly disturbed and completely crestfallen. They would have never ever imagined even in their worst nightmare that their son would be implicated in a murder charge. Both the parents were retired teachers who had spent their entire lives teaching their students the path of righteousness. They were both highly dejected but somewhere deep within their hearts they always knew that Damien would one day or the other get into trouble because of his waywardness. He was a good kid in his childhood but the extra love, caring and protective attitude of his paternal grandmother had spoilt him and made him the brat that he was and to add fuel to the fire was his college since he attended one of the most famous colleges in the country for higher education. There he developed his network of friends who were presently some of the very influential people of the country. It was this clout that gave wings to his wayward ambitions. Soon he was using his influence to take advantage of the needy people and making money. He had some school friends like Mateen who provided the muscle power whenever required. Mostly he refrained from using people like Mateen and tried to resolve issues calmly by just using his political and police clout, but he was surely incapable of killing a human being and his parents believed this very strongly. Therefore, they were sure that he would get off unscathed.
Nobody uttered a single word en-route to the police station. Inspector Raj ordered tea as he was entering his chamber, Damien in tow. Once inside his chamber he asked Damien to be seated and drink tea peacefully because he knew that once the interrogation started, he would not even be allowed a pee break for a long while.
17th July 2010; 4pm
Inspector Raj was seated in front of the DCP who had been avoiding calls from various quarters all of whom were trying to bail Damien out. Inspector Raj had deliberately switched his cell phone off and had instructed his colleagues and sub-ordinates neither to give him any calls nor to disturb him. It was a grueling night where all night they tried to extract a confession from Damien.
The DCP looked worn out, “Did he confess?”
“No sir. Not yet but we have a watertight case against him. We have witnesses, the evidence and can easily prove that he had the motive too. We have enough to nail the son of a bitch.”
“Are you sure that he is the murderer?”
“Yes sir! I haven’t been so sure in my life. Moreover, Mateen has agreed to become a state approver and testify against Damien too.”
“Oh! That’s good, that will further strengthen our case…. No, I was just asking since he has not confessed as yet. I don’t want to implicate an innocent person unnecessarily, I don’t want to have that on my conscience and lose my sleep over it, you know!”
“I understand your point sir. I assure you that I know what I am doing, and we have the right guy.”
“Okay then, I don’t want any lapses. You are fully aware of the kind of connections the arse has.”
“Not to worry sir. We already have the evidence and all our witnesses’ statements in. After all careful deliberation and legal advice, we have formally booked him under all the relevant sections. It is a fool proof case. We shall be moving the court to hear the case on a fast track mode.”
“Alright then, let’s go and face the scribes and issue the formal statement.”
They both walked out of the DCP’s room and went down the stairs, into the hall where a contingent of journalists, reporters and photographers were assembled, awaiting a formal statement from the police. They were called in by the PRO of the Delhi Police.
“I thank you all for having assembled here at such a short notice,” started the DCP. “I apologize that I shall not be taking any questions at this moment but would only be making a statement regarding the Bobby Patel murder case. The case has been solved! The suspect in this case is Bobby’s cousin Damien Vaghela. Damien is a local businessman and a money lender too who had loaned some money to Bobby’s partners Sandy and Joy some years ago which he was trying to recover unsuccessfully. When he failed to get that back from the duo he tried to fleece it out of Bobby who had already moved out of the partnership by then and refused to cough up the money since he had not taken that loan. After trying hard for some time Damien gave up. In the meanwhile, Bobby grew apart from his partners and started his own business separately, which flourished. Damien got wind of this and to try to extract his money he established contact with Bobby once again. His cell phone records prove that he was constantly in touch with Bobby for a couple of days before and even on the fateful night of 8th July when he and his accomplice, a well-known Bad Character, Mateen met Bobby at a bar in Rohini. There they had a heated argument followed by a scuffle in the parking lot which was broken up by the staff of the bar and the trio appeared to have gone off their separate ways. However, very soon Damien returned to find and attack Bobby with a metal rod. The fingerprints on the rod have matched with those of Damien’s. The strike was lethal; Bobby received serious injuries and slumped down onto the ground. Damien picked up his limp body and threw it in Bobby’s car, drove it to the spot off the highway put Bobby into the driver’s seat, doused it with gasoline and lit it up in order to destroy the evidence and to make it appear as an accident. The entire crime was pre-meditated and well thought of. It is a very heinous crime, qualifying as the ‘Rarest of Rare’ cases, thus warranting a definite death sentence and that is what we all would be gunning for in the court of law....that will be all gentlemen. Thank you once again.” concluded the DCP.
Continued to 'Another Day ... Another Crime'