RETURN OF MURDER

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic


A UNIQUE WAY OF A KILLER TO POSTPONE THE TIME OF MURDER BY PROVING THAT DEAD MAN WAS STILL ALIVE.

Submitted: June 09, 2018

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Submitted: June 09, 2018

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RETURN OF MURDER

It was late Monday evening, around 8.15 p.m. and Ishat was in the office of Rupert Dewan, the Radio Station Boss. Dewan was a large obnoxious man with an  unruly mass of white hair. Standing before his table Ishat was listening to him with increasing apprehension.

Dewan was saying in a high-pitched voice, “Ishat, I am very annoyed with your performance … is this the way you do your work for radio plays?  Those you have conceived… they are awful flops. And your USP of imitating voices of celebrities … it is miserable. I have received several calls from the audience, critics and public; so many were complaining about your pitiful work…”

Suddenly his voice rose to scream - bordering on anger and irritation “…. this has been happening for last several months... no signs of improvement… none.”

Ishat was stunned to hear all these. No words came from his lips.

Suddenly Dewan appeared to take hold of himself. Leaning forward with an ugly scowl on his face, he said “Do you know how much harm your poor- performance is doing to my radio station’s business… of course, you don’t bother...”

Then abruptly standing up he said, “I can’t afford to keep you any longer… this is the end. I terminate your services, here and now! I also cancel all my payments to you for the business loss I am suffering.”

Saying that he picked up an envelope, containing Ishat’s termination letter and threw it towards him …hitting him on his face. Ishat was fortunate that his eyes escaped from being hurt. Then with gritted teeth, Dewan said, “Return the money I loaned to you last year …every pie. With interest.”

It was such a great humiliation; it was patently unfair! No man with self-respect could endure this. Ishat’s eyes were filled with brazen tears! What could he do? Perhaps he needed the solace of his friend and colleague, Hari or find some way out.  

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Next day morning Ishat was at the breakfast table, his thoughts were depressing when he heard the noise of an approaching police jeep. Looking out he saw a tall strapping handsome man, in a police uniform, alight from the vehicle and started walking towards the door. Another uniformed man, short and rotund, followed him.

He was Inspector Nokul Hegde of the Homicide Squad with Sub Inspector Mubarak.

Sitting on the sofa, the Inspector was speaking,” I am sorry to barge in your house so early in the morning, but I have to make some inquiries about an attempted murder of Rupert Dewan, yesterday. I understand that he was your Boss while you were working with his Enjoy Radio Station.”

He stopped and looked at Ishat.

Ishat knew Rupert Dewan was a venomous character with anti-employee attitude, so unscrupulous that almost anyone working with him would have thought of bumping him off at some point in time. Frankly, this world would be a better place if that scum of a man went to hell. And he had ideas how to do that.

Ultimately, Ishat didn’t say anything but merely returned his gaze.

“Well”, the Inspector continued, “Tell me whatever you know about this man, his organization and why you have left that job after working for almost seven years.”

Showing his sadness Ishat spoke frankly about Rupert Dewan and what he thought about him, the whole set up and his experience. Sub Inspector Mubarak took notes of those.

Little later after a few more inquiries, both left.

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Ishat heard nothing from the Inspector during the day but that evening he called him. “Mr. Ishat… remember my visit to you … we will appreciate if you can come to the Police station now.” 

Suddenly Ishat got worried. It was always dangerous to come into the investigation net of the police.

Inside the Police station, the Inspector took Ishat to a room which was bare except for a table and two chairs. Ishat occupied one of these and the Inspector pulled the other one a little away and sat down.

There were two glasses of water on the table one of which the Inspector picked up and drank it at one go. Wiping his lips with the back of his hand he settled down and cleared his throat. Ishat didn’t touch the other glass although his mouth was dry.

The Inspector began,” For your information, Rupert Dewan, your ex- Boss is now dead.  He didn’t survive the attempt on his life. So, it is a murder.”

He stopped to gauge Ishat’s reaction, but he didn’t react, so the Inspector continued.  

“Are you interested to know how Dewan was strangled to death? I may have guessed the modus operandi of the murder but the identity of the murder is yet to be clear.”

Ishat watched him not showing much interest, but it seemed that the Inspector had decided to tell irrespective of whether he wanted or not.

He went on.

“As you had already said, Rupert Dewan was an extremely unlikable character. We understood that he was roundly hated by virtually everyone in his office. And we found that the murderous attempt was made on him in his office much after regular office hours.  Most probably an insider was involved since the building security had clearly told us that during the evening hours, no outsider had entered the building, only the office staff had left for the day.”

The Inspector paused then went on.

“That narrowed down our investigation of those persons who were in the building during that evening. Now, who were there? In three other offices, there were five men. Out of them, three were peons. In your office, there were four men, you, two of your junior colleagues and a peon. That excluded the Victim. Opportunity wise one or more of these persons could have killed, but who?  I spoke to all of them.”

Inspector Nokul Hegde then excused himself, got up and went out of the room. Ishat sat there thinking …. his mind was wandering …what would the Inspector reveal now?

The Inspector returned and took up his narrative.

“It appeared that the murderer was known to the Victim since there was no forced entry. It couldn’t have been otherwise as there were other people in the office who would have known.”

“The murderer entered the chamber of your ex-Boss, which was at a distance from the main hall.  Hence it was not possible for others to see who entered and left that room unless someone deliberately kept a watch. This was what the office staff told us.”

“It was clear that the killer had entered and throttled the Boss, left the building unobtrusively. If he was an employee he would have digitally signed out with a recorded time. We checked the data and found that one person had left before you and one after you. You had left around 8.37 p.m. The Peon was still waiting for the Boss to go. During all this time, the Peon didn’t see any person from other three offices enter the office, therefore the killer was from the Boss’s office.”

“Sometimes at 9.55 p.m. the Peon saw the daughter of Rupert Dewan come and enter her father’s office. Immediately he heard her scream and on entering found the Boss lying on the ground having fallen off from his chair. He appeared dead but was in fact unconscious.  We were then called.”

“There were signs of struggle and marks on his neck showing that he was strangled by killer’s hands to bring death.  Dewan’s left hand with the wristwatch had hit the ground. It was an old winding watch which had broken and stopped, showing the time of 8.27 p.m.  This must have been the time of the attempted killing. Moreover, his mobile had fallen on the floor and broken in two parts.”

“Here I must add that we believe that the killer neither knew that Rupert Dewan was feebly alive, nor that a broken watch had pinpointed the time of his attempted murder. Otherwise, the killer would have finished his job and taken away the watch.”

The Inspector shifted in his seat and settled down more comfortably.

“Now the interesting part. The daughter had received a call in her mobile from father’s mobile at 9.12 p.m. asking her to come to the office. Curiously his voice was normal. How could that be possible since he was unconscious and on the verge of death since 8.27 p.m.? Besides three calls were made by his daughter to his mobile between 8.45 p.m. and 8.55 p.m. These remained unanswered. This was unusual according to the daughter, but we knew that it had proved his near-death status at that time. It was important to understand here that the location of Dewan’s mobile was the office building or near about.”

Inspector Nokul Hegde stopped for many moments, deep in thoughts. Then continued. 

“What is the mystery?  My mind tried to find a possible answer. Was that calling real or a hoax? But the daughter was swearing that her father had called at 9.12 p.m. It was unmistakably his voice. The call also had come from her father’s mobile number. But he was nearly dead then.  This could only possible if someone else had called. Was he the murderer? And how, the mobile was broken!”

“Then my thoughts veered on the likelihood of the murderer trying to set up his alibi or defense …which meant he was afraid that he could be found out. But how was he to ensure that he would be safe? I had to enter into his criminal mind to answer this.”

The Inspector stopped and looked at his mobile messages, then resumed.

“If he could establish that after he killed his Victim, which he thought he did, the dead man was still alive, his alibi would be set. Hence it would look that the murder had happened later than the time of the actual killing”.

“The plan was that even after the murder, Rupert Dewan would appear to be alive at say 9.12 p.m. Thus, the murderer could safely escape within this intervening period. If the police question him about his whereabouts at the time of murder which will seem to be after 9.12 pm, he is already safely away from the murder site.”

“It is very difficult for any murderer to establish this type of alibi. But it will be very easy if he has unique skills by which he can imitate Rupert Dewan’s voice accurately over mobile so that even his daughter will not know that her father has not spoken but the murderer.”

The Inspector then tried to be modest, “With my years of crime-solving experience, I believe that the method I have explained to you now, may have been used. The voice of Rupert Dewan was cleverly imitated by the murderer. “

Saying that Inspector Nokul Hegde abruptly got up and spread his hands.

“After all these explanations yet, I am unable to move forward. It is only a hypothesis which has to be confirmed and we have to find the murderer.”

While listening to him Ishat’s tension was rising. This was so familiar. And was the Inspector asking for his help?  If he helped the Inspector what would happen to him? Ishat remained speechless. 

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Following morning as Ishat was turning the newspaper with a cup of tea at his side when he noticed a small news item on page four meant for local news. It was innocuous enough.  It read that Rupert Dewan, the well-known owner of Enjoy Radio station who was hospitalized on late Monday night for an attempted murder was declared dead by mistake. He was alive. An internal probe of the hospital was going on.  

The news was a whiff of relief to Ishat! This was God sent! At least it might take away the Inspector from his back! Thank goodness for that!

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That evening, Ishat got a call in his mobile from an unknown number. The voice which was so familiar was saying in a threatening note, “Ishat… I am damn sure that you are recognizing me… you murderer …. you have failed in your crime to kill me …. Now you must face your punishment … you creep… come immediately to the Police station and give yourself up before Inspector Nokul Hegde.”

The line was disconnected abruptly.

This was totally unexpected. Rupert Dewan, who was now alive was threatening Ishat!

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With nervous steps, Ishat entered the Police station and asked for the Inspector. It was a late night.

Nokul Hegde was present in his office; seeing him, Ishat blurted out, “Inspector …. Rupert Dewan is not dead… I read the news today and …...”

“Is that so?” Inspector said. “Do you believe in the news like that?”

“But…” Ishat said and stopped. Would it be advisable to tell about the call he had received from Rupert Dewan, implicating him? Was it a fraud call?  Was he landing himself in trouble? Everything seemed muddled.

The Inspector was staring at Ishat, leaning against the door of his office, then said, “I think I had given you enough details, yesterday evening, for you to come clean on the modus operandi of the crime…  for you to tell us the truth, but you didn’t. Glad that you have come to your senses now.”

He then closed the door.

Ishat sat down and wiped his face.

“Inspector…there is some mistake… I have neither killed Rupert Dewan nor I tried to kill him…. I swear to God. Yes, I thought about killing him, who wouldn’t have…. he is such a scum of the gutter, but that doesn’t mean I have actually done something so drastic… And he isn’t dead…” His voice trailed off.

The Inspector went to his chair and sat down, “Mark my words... Ishat and listen carefully… I strongly believe that you...yes you... are the originator of a unique idea of murder and alibi…. you are responsible.”  

Then, he suddenly became insistent…. very firm, his eyes were blazing “Am I not correct… tell me … Admit it?”

Ishat gaped at him, couldn’t reply. Reluctantly he was conceding in his mind that the Inspector’s guess was correct. Amazing!

Perhaps his face was revealing his thoughts.

The Inspector smiled and spoke.

“You are wondering how I know your idea…well it is not that difficult. You forget that we know you are a senior artist specializing in radio plays and voice imitation.  We also know that you are very creative… over the years you have suggested plots of murder mystery. Many in your office have said that. One can, therefore, make a reasonable conclusion about who could have conceived this unique murder idea.”  

“But that is not proof enough. There must be the motive and the opportunity. In your case, the motive was there since Rupert Dewan had behaved very badly with you, fired you and refused to make any payment.  Besides, the opportunity was also there since you were present at the crime scene just before the murder. Thus, you have been the first suspect.”

“But …” Ishat cried out loudly, “How can I be a suspect in his murder? I am telling you that Rupert Dewan is not dead …I did not try to murder him… I don’t know who has tried!”

“We will come to the fact whether Rupert Dewan is dead or not, a little later …”  the Inspector responded.

Ishat looked at him aghast; wanting to respond.

Ignoring Ishat, the Inspector went on, “Like I said, initially I did suspect you. But while talking to you and evaluating your reactions it didn’t seem that you were a guilty man.  You were quite open about negative thoughts you had of Rupert Dewan and that fateful evening’s incident with him. No killer would clearly tell about his harsh feeling for his victim and the altercations he had with him minutes before the crime.  I also think that your motive is not strong enough. Generally, people don’t kill their Boss, on getting fired. You appear to be innocent.”

“So, there must be another person who has the real motive for this murder and who is also a voice imitator artist. And he too was present near the murder scene.”

These words of the Inspector caught Ishat’s breath. God forbids! the Inspector was about to tell him the name of the murderer!

Inspector Nokul Hegde continued impassively “You may not be involved in the murder, but you have done a foolish act.  I presume that you must have revealed your unique idea of murder to a junior colleague….”

The Inspector paused then went on, “…Now, who can he be? There are three voice imitators in the office other than you but only one person can be pinpointed, and he is your close colleague in office …. Hari.”

The name didn’t surprise Ishat now! He wanted to interrupt but the Inspector went on relentlessly.  

“Both of you and Hari have been very unhappy with Rupert Dewan and your revelation of the unique murder idea to Hari may have been a casual talk between you two.”

“Here I will venture to say that through our incisive investigation we found that Hari’s motive to murder Rupert Dewan is much stronger as compared to you. The reasons are more than one. First was Dewan’s long illicit affair with Hari’s wife. Second and the most heinous crime was that Dewan had attempted to rape the minor daughter of Hari. This information was very difficult to find out, but we had our sources. That was the ultimate trigger for Hari to kill Dewan. With this motivation, your unique murder idea offered him the assassination plan.

That fateful day, just before the lunch hours, Dewan had fired Hari from his job on a flimsy excuse, to ruin him. Perhaps Dewan wanted to marry Hari’s wife by playing dirty some tricks.

Hari was already ready to take revenge, his plan was clear, so he carried it out ruthlessly. Maybe you never suspected that a casual chat had resulted in such a serious crime.”

Saying this, the Inspector went out and asked Sub Inspector Mubarak to bring Hari into his room. He had already been summoned to the Police Station.

Meanwhile, Ishat’ mind went into a tizzy. Hari was his good friend and Ishat had full sympathies for him.

The Inspector then returned to his chair and resumed.

 “My investigation had revealed that Hari was in the office that fateful evening. That was his last day in office. He was keeping a watch on your movement. He surely had heard your arguments with the Boss. After you left his chamber in a huff, he took the opportunity to enter the room, committed the crime and then left the office at 8.31 p.m. You left thereafter at 8.37 p.m.  Your last colleague left at 8.44 p.m. All exits were by digital signing and had been recorded.” 

“Here we understood that when Hari and all went out none of you knew that the Boss was dead. The Peon had seen you, Hari and another colleague enter Boss's room from time to time which he thought was for official work, he was also not aware as he waited for his Boss to leave after which the office was to be closed.”

“While investigating, we found that Hari had made some fatal mistakes. He took from the PA of the Boss, the mobile number of his daughter. None in the office knew her number.”

“Another error was Hari calling her from Dewan’s mobile phone.  

This was what happened after the Dewan’s assassination, as we found out and deduced.

Hari picked up Dewan’s mobile and left the office. He went to a nearby restaurant and ordered food. While waiting in the restaurant he got three calls from the daughter which he ignored. Then he boldly made a call at 9.12 p.m from the restaurant itself asking the daughter to come to the office. He knew that daughter would take some time to reach.

Little later, in the pretext of going to the washroom of the restaurant he left the restaurant and entered the next-door office building from the back entrance and into the Boss’s office through his bathroom door which had a second entry from outside and it was unlocked. He knew about that. The Boss’s peon didn’t notice this entry. 

As Hari entered the bathroom in rush he slipped, and Dewan’s mobile fell on the bathroom floor. It broke into two parts and a small piece came out loose and went out of sight. Hari hurriedly picked up the two parts but missed the small piece.

After that Hari entered the Boss’s office and kept the two broken mobile parts near the dead body showing that in the struggle mobile had fallen and got broken. He then wiped his fingerprints and escaped from the second bathroom door closing it behind him. It remained unlocked.

The Boss’s peon never knew any of these activities as he was sitting outside the main door of the Boss’s office.

Thereafter Hari went back to the restaurant in quick time, had his meal and left much before the daughter came into her father’s office at 9.55 p.m.

He thought that he was smart to keep his own mobile at home throughout the fateful evening so that his presence at home is established …. After the murder, he would have gone home first kept the mobile there and then returned to visit the restaurant to complete his murder plan….”

Inspector Nokul Hegde paused, then went on.

“While investigating, we found the broken piece of mobile in the bathroom. We had already noticed the time of death as 8.27 pm when Dewan’s watch had broken and stopped and came to know that the ignoring of the three calls from the daughter between 8.45 pm to 8.55 pm was unusual for a father to do.  Like I said, all these put me on the track that killing had happened before 9.12 pm and murderer had tried to establish an alibi.”

The Inspector stopped and then smiled at Ishat. 

“In comparison, while investigating you I became certain that you had not committed the murder and called the Boss’s daughter because, at that time of 9.12 p.m., you were still traveling to another part of the town. There were witnesses who saw you in the local train. You couldn’t have called from Dewan’s mobile location of which was his office building or near about.”

The Inspector again paused then continued, “Now the truth about Rupert Dewan can be said.  Whether he is dead or alive? In the interest of investigation, the fake news was planted in the newspaper that he was not dead.”

“Hari who always thought that Rupert Dewan had died that evening was told about this fake news. We asked him to call you imitating the voice of Rupert Dewan and putting the blame on you. He thought it was to trap for you, but it was, in fact, to trap him. He readily did this also thinking that we were suspecting you and so he was very safe. But he didn’t realize that his perfect imitation of his dead Boss’s voice showed that he had rehearsed well for this crime. A good imitation needs some practice. That is another mistake which will nail him. And we recorded his voice too.”

The Inspector got up and opened the door. He turned to face Ishat.

“To help us now you must admit to me now and later in the court, about your unique idea of murder and alibi. This is crucial since this maybe not in the realm of a usual murder trial. The Judge must be made to convince that this is possible. Also, you must tell the court that you have discussed this idea with Hari, though casually and innocently and have nothing to do with the murder. We will support you with our findings. Our prosecution lawyers will also do the rest to nail Hari.”

There was, now, absolute silence, Ishat could hear the noise of the vehicles moving on the road near the Police station. 

Ishat was impressed about the Inspector’s brilliant piece of investigation.

Then, nodding emphatically Ishat said, “You are right Inspector…I can now admit before you that I did, unfortunately, conceive this dangerous idea of murder and told Hari in a careless manner not knowing that he would actually put it into practice.”

Just then Hari came in. He was a medium built powerful looking man. He appeared calm as was his normal personality. But as the Inspector explained to him his misdeeds, Hari suddenly lost his mental balance… with a high-pitched scream, he picked up a chair and threw it towards the Inspector and ran towards the door.  Sub Inspector Mubarak and another policeman surrounded and held him. He was taken away to custody.

Inspector Nokul Hegde was unhurt. Calmly he shook hands with Ishat and escorted him out the Police station. He also asked Ishat to visit the Police station in the days to come to help in the prosecution. 

A successful case!

Next day morning the Inspector got a call in his mobile, “Congratulations Inspector for successful closure of the case.”

The voice was of Rupert Dewan, the murdered man!!!!

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