HYPNOTIC MURDER

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

MURDER WEAPON WAS SIMPLE. OR WAS IT? NOBODY WOULD HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT IT ! AN INTRICATE INVESTIGATION FOR THE FAMED DETECTIVE INSPECTOR!

HYPNOTIC  CRIME

 

Shefali Rustagi wiped her hands, picked up Rohtang's briefcase and handed it over to him with a smile. Her husband was in no mood to reciprocate; his clean-shaven face with thick eyebrows, piercing small eyes, bulbous nose and thin lips remained expressionless. Opening the main door with a jerk, he walked out without any words. 

Looking at his retreating figure, Shefali frowned, shrugged,  closed the door, and turned towards the kitchen. Her husband's problems in his office were well known to her, and as it appeared to her that Rohtang would be extremely lucky if he could retain his job.

Shefali was a woman who, although she had seen forty-three summers, had nurtured herself and looked young and attractive. She had long black hair tied in a loose bun, her pink dressing gown was wrapped around her slim figure, and her face was devoid of any makeup. She proceeded to the refrigerator and opened the door; her cooking rituals were about to begin.

For the next hour and a half, she remained busy in the kitchen, where-after she came out and sat in the dining table chair to take a breather; the clock on the wall had just chimed 11.00 a.m.

At that time, she heard her mobile phone, kept on the dressing table in the bedroom, ring.

"Hello, Shefali." Her husband's Aunty's voice alerted her instantly.

Nayana Kumari was an old, widowed woman of around eighty years; she exhibited a no-nonsense attitude, especially while interacting with Shefali. For some unknown reason, immediately after her marriage fifteen years ago, an animosity had developed between them, which had shown no sign of diminishing over these years. On the contrary, it had worsened to the point that both of them had scarcely spoken to one another or had met for more than two years. It made no difference that her luxurious apartment on the first floor, across the town in the upmarket residential area, was only a matter of fifteen minutes’ drive through western by-pass from Shefali's house; moreover, Nayana Kumari lived alone and often complained about her seclusion to Shefali’s husband and called him many times.

That day, Shefali took hold of herself and replied dryly, "Hello, Aunty Ji."

"Come to my house tonight, at 7.30, with Rohtang and stay with me for the night."

She got off the phone.

This abrupt behaviour was very normal on her part, and Shefali was not surprised. She thought for some moments and dialled Rohtang; she needed to understand what his mother could be broaching; knowing her, it could not be anything pleasant.  

------------------------------

It was about 7.15 p.m. when Shefali sounded the bell in Nayana Kumari's apartment; Rohtang stood alongside her, looking gloomy.

Guddu Sarya, the young manservant, opened the door and let them in. Looking around the tastefully decorated living room with hidden lighting, upscale furnishings, and tapestry with distinctive golden tones, giving a striking and sparkling impression, Shefali silently appreciated, somewhat reluctantly. If anything, the old lady had a refined taste in setting up and maintaining her home. Only if her personality had been benign, the relationship could have been congenial.

She glanced at Rohtang, but his face had no expression, and without much ado, he occupied the plush sofa and took out his mobile phone. Seeing him, she too sat down across him on another sofa and gestured to Guddu to inform the old lady.

Almost twenty-five minutes later, when both of them had begun to fidget, Nayana Kumari came in her wheelchair. It was mechanised and self-propelled, which she deftly manipulated while moving through the maze of furniture in the living room and then stationed herself before them.

The first impression one got when confronting her was that of a dominant personality with a frail physique. She was wearing a light pink gown, and a cream shawl was draped across her legs. Her hair was milky white and cropped short, adoring a pinched pale face with a hooked nose and red pouting lips. The most important part of her countenance was her big watery eyes behind black-edged glasses, which appeared to be flashing.

"Glad to see you both here... after so many years," she said with a voice that was hardly a hoarse murmur and then asked Guddu to bring coffee.

Rohtang did not bother to respond, but Shefali said, "I hope you are keeping in good health." Then getting up, she came near her, "Why have you called us, Aunty? Anything urgent?"

The old lady waved Shefali away, and she returned to her seat and sat down demurely.

Nayana Kumari said, "Let me not beat about the bush and come to the point straight away.”  She then looked down at her gnarled hands for some seconds, which were shaking perceptibly, and continued, "My health is very frail, I do not know how long I  will live, so I want to cancel my old Will and make a new Will in your favour, for many of my properties which you must have presumed, are of a substantial value …"

She stopped and watched them, but there was no answer.

With a sigh, she went on, "You both are my loved ones, and so it is natural that you benefit after my death."

Now, Rohtang stirred and regarded her intently; there was a look of surprise on his face. "This is entirely unexpected, Aunty; we cannot thank you enough..." There was, now, a hint of enthusiasm in his voice.

The old lady cut him short.

"Do not rejoice too soon. There is a condition for my bounty. I know that you are having severe problems in your office, and therein lies my condition; you have to donate to charity all the money you may have embezzled by falsification of accounts; I know you have been accused of that and which may be true. You are free to fight your case; I am not concerned at present.

“What I need is written consent from you first thing in the morning before you leave this apartment about following this condition and also that, in future, you will never pursue any dishonest means in your life.

“If you do not agree to my condition, however odd it may sound to you,  then I will ask my lawyer not to make my new Will in your name, and you will forego everything. Every rupee!”

Rohtang stared at her for many moments, then cleared his throat, “Aunty, what is this? Why do you have that condition for an innocent man?”

“You have not proved your innocence!  As of now, do you really think that I will bequeath so much of my property to a criminal at large?” Her voice rose one step higher.

“ But, Aunty, this is totally unfair! And who is a criminal?” 

She snorted and looked away. “Either you accept my condition or be prepared to lose all your benefits from my new Will. This is all I have to say.”

She rapidly turned her wheelchair and, while moving away, instructed Guddu, “Do take care of them, give them dinner and show them the guest room next to my room.”

Rohtang and Shefali looked incredulously at the receding figure as she went out of the room.

The time was 7.55 p.m., and the coffee cups were already on the centre table.

They sat in deep thoughts.

------------------------------------

A day later, Ravish Kumar got a missed call on his mobile phone from his mother, Nayana Kumari. The time was 2.17 p.m. in the afternoon, and he was driving his Maruti 800 on his way to his mistress's house, located in the south-west part of the city. In fact, he was talking to her and so could not take his mother’s call.

He was a tall man of some forty-eight years of age, with a square face and a goatee beard. He wore his hair long, which mostly remained unkempt, and that together with his crumbled and cheap clothes made him seem an undesirable character. But his appearance was deceptive; due to his smooth-talking abilities and a keen mind, generally, he could always etch out some livelihood, mostly dubious in nature. His favourite pastime was as a Casanova; various women found him quite desirable, and his casual affairs with them were well-known.

His latest so-called lover was Sheena Malkhani, about whose background he did not have much knowledge. But she was pretty and exciting, and that was sufficient. Their relationship, however, had turned resentful in recent days; her biggest grouse was his financial woes despite his very rich mother with whom he was virtually on a non-talking term.

“Yes, mother,” Ravish said with a frown.

“Come to me tonight and stay for the night.”

It was virtually an order from her. Before he could say any further, the call was disconnected.

----------------------------

That evening, it was 8.25 p.m., Ravish was sitting diffidently in the chair placed alongside the bed on which Nayana Kumari was lying with a light-yellow coloured blanket-covered till her waist.  The bedroom was in semi-darkness, the dense green coloured window curtains were pulled together, the air conditioner was creating a mild chill and keeping the atmosphere of the room pleasant. The side table against the bed had a glass of water and very few medicines; surprising as she had multiple ailments.

“Mother, why have you called me after so long? Any problem?”

Somehow, he felt uncomfortable; he could not forget the conflicts he had with her on numerous occasions during the bygone days when she had virtually renounced him as her son; after that, she neither kept in touch nor wanted to know his welfare at any time. His response was likewise.  

She regarded him silently, then, with a sigh, sat up on the bed with some difficulty and supported herself with some pillows.  

“Let me be very blunt from the beginning. I never tolerated your dishonest attitude from your younger days;  I never could understand how I had such a useless son like you; it must be the fault of your father’s genes. I know that you are a petty criminal, a womaniser,  but those are past. Now I am in the last stage of my life, and I want to make amends and forgive you, but for that, you have to change your ways for the better, totally, and I want a written consent from you before you leave this house tomorrow morning.”

“What the hell are you saying, mother? This is silly; why should I do that? I did nothing wrong!”

“You will have to reform; otherwise, I will ensure that you lose your natural inheritance despite being my son. If you agree, good, I will cancel my old Will and make a new Will! And that’s final; no more discussions…”

She lay down, and with a wave of her hands, dismissed her son.

As Ravish came out from the bedroom, he called Sheena. Her biggest grouse against him was about to be taken care of by his mother.

-----------------------------

“A challenging crime investigation.” Thought Detective Inspector Samsher Brahma of the Homicide Squad, sitting at his desk.

Nayana Kumari, a seriously ailing widow of considerable age, whose reputation as an immensely wealthy lady was well known, had been found brutally murdered in her bedroom of a luxurious apartment two days earlier.

A manservant had found her during early morning at 5.45 a.m., strangulated by a piece of wire; so vicious had been the strangulation that the wire had sliced through the flesh of her neck, cutting her arteries and veins, and resulted in massive bleedings.

The post-mortem report had indicated her time of death sometime between 1.30 a.m. to 3.30 a.m. during the night.

Although the method of murder and the time of such a heinous crime was clear, it was not apparent; how did the killer enter and exit and why an odd wire was used as a murder weapon and left at the crime scene?

The inspector was at his desk at the station house that morning, deep in thought. He called Sub Inspector Ahmedi and asked,  “We begin by interrogating various individuals in this case.  Brief me about them.”

“Sir.” Ahmedi sat down before the inspector’s desk with a sheaf of paper, which he read for a few moments. “We have already spoken to the manservant, Guddu. He told us that the old lady was introvert and irritable; usually, very few people met her or interacted with her.

“But during the beginning of the last week, there were two exceptions. She had called and met her nephew, Rohtang Rustagi and his wife, Shefali, and a day later, her only son and descendant, Ravish Kumar. These people had a very strained relationship with her, and the visits were after long gaps, at least after a few years. They stayed overnight with her in the apartment.”

The inspector replied, “We have to interrogate them. Call them. Anyone else?”

“Guddu had also told us that two doctors used to regularly attend to her, since very long; one of them is Doctor Subic M., an allopathic doctor, and the other one is Dr. Abraham R., an alternative medicine expert. Besides, Gurnav Banhu, the lawyer, handled her legal matters for many years.” 

“Why alternative medicine was required?”

“Guddu said that she was allergic to many allopathic  medicines, particularly pain killer medicines for her acute body aches.” 

The inspector thought for some moments and said, “All these three gentlemen will need to be investigated. In the meantime, let me have a look again at the wire by which murder was committed.”

Ahmedi picked up the packet containing various knickknacks recovered from the crime scene and extracted the wire, and handed it over to him, who looked at it closely. It was thin, uncovered, not very long but sufficient for use as the murder weapon, with a loop at one end.

“Why this loop?” The inspector stared at it, frowning, “Was something attached to the wire through this loop? Could this wire have some other use? This can be a clue in addition to being the murder weapon.”

-----------------------------------

The next day morning Shefali and Rohtang were sitting before the inspector at the police station.

Shefali was saying, “Inspector, her death has been so shocking to us; till now, we have not been able to overcome this tragedy!”

“When was the last time both of you had gone to her, on your own?”

Now Rohtang spoke, “Honestly, we cannot remember … not less than a couple of years ago.”

“Any particular reason?” The inspector queried.

“I will be frank with you, Inspector. She was so much annoyed with us that she refused to see us; it was a great surprise when we got her invitation,” Shefali replied.

“And why did she call you both?”

“Just trying to patch-up with us.”

“Did it happen?”

“Would have taken time…”

“After that visit, did you get in touch with her?”

“No, why should we?”

The inspector stared at both of them for a few seconds and then said, “Can you throw any light as to who has killed her?”

“She was not a pleasant lady; we are sure that she had many enemies, and being so stinking rich, anyone might have killed her.” Rohtang did not mince his words.

The inspector took out the wire from his desk drawer and laid it on the table. “Have you seen this wire when you had visited your Aunty that night?”

Shefali looked at for some moments, then turned towards Rohtang, where after she shook her head, “No, what is it? Anything to do with the murder?”

“We have still to find out.” The inspector kept the wire away, not wanting to reveal the fact.

 “Where were you both at the time of her murder?” He asked.

“At home, Inspector, in bed!”

“Anything else you think is important?”

There was no response, and both avoided the inspector’s gaze.

-------------------------------------------------

That evening Ravish was questioned by the inspector at the police station. He seemed composed and was replying without any hesitation.

“No, Inspector, I did not visit her for almost three and a half years. She had rejected me long ago… why should I keep in touch with her? And I have not seen this wire. Why are you showing this useless thing to me? Anyway, I have no idea who could have killed her, and I was at home when she died.”

“But you have not replied why she had called you,” the inspector said.

“I think she was softening and wanted me back.”  

“Did you go back to her after that visit?”

“I did not feel it necessary.”

The inspector kept quiet for some moments, then asked, “Nothing more, which can give us a clue to her killer?

“I have told you everything, Inspector.”

He looked uncomfortable, which did not escape the inspector’s notice. 

------------------------

Later, the inspector was saying, “Ahmedi, after speaking to these three people, I am getting a gut feeling that they are not coming out clean. The only thing I understood was that Nayana Kumari was a thoroughly unlikeable old lady, but was it enough to get herself killed? This case is still unclear; we need to do more investigation; check out the entire social and personal backgrounds and mobile call records of Rohtang and Shefali, as well as that of Ravish. Get their fingerprints, unobtrusively. And also, do likewise for the two doctors, the lawyer and Guddu. I think that may reveal some clues about this crime. Let us talk to the rest of them.”

The sub-inspector nodded and asked, “Sir, shall I call those two doctors and the lawyer tomorrow?”

“First, I will talk to the manservant.”

----------------------------------------

The next day, the inspector was talking to Guddu. He was standing before his desk at the police station with a touch of apprehension showing on his face.

“Do sit down, Guddu. Where were you that night?”

“Sir, in the servant’s room outside the apartment.”

“Since how long you have been working with Madam?”

He sat down, gulped a little and asked for water. After a sip, he took hold of himself and said, “Sir, I have been with her for the last fifteen years  after I completed my school education.”

“So, you must be aware of her personality and behaviour quite well.”

Seeing Guddu’s nod, the inspector continued, “What is your opinion about her and her relationships with Rohtang, Shefali and Ravish?”

“Sir, Madam, was a kind woman at heart, but very strict in her conduct; she hated wrong attitudes, unethical and fraudulent activities; the qualities of her nephew and son were exactly what she loathed…”

“So why did she call them?”

Guddu looked a little uneasy, lowered his eyes and then looked up.

“Sir, I am sorry to say that I had eavesdropped upon Madam’s conversations with these people….“ 

He stopped suddenly and, with folded hands, pleaded, “I have no bad intentions, I did not take any advantage … I have not killed her… I respected her, sir!” 

The inspector clicked his tongue, “You do not have to worry if you have not done anything wrong. Tell me without fear.”

“Sir, she was trying to mend the bad ways of her nephew; she thought he had stolen a large amount of money from his office;  also correct her son: who is a bad character, a womaniser and has sexual harassment charges against him. She told them that if they did not change and become reformed, she would cut off her nephew from her new Will for many of her properties … and stop her son from getting, I think, rest of the properties after her death…” 

“I see. And what were the responses of the nephew and the son?”

“They must have thought about the matter overnight and in the morning, at the breakfast table, agreed. They also gave that in writing as she had wanted.”

“All right, so these two men buried their hatchets with the old lady, so to speak, and she would have become amenable to them! Besides, did she have a soft corner for anybody?”

“Well, she was very nice to Doctor Subic. She was also on good terms with Dr. Abraham, as well as her lawyer, Gurnav Banhu.”

“Anything else?”

“Madam had become very sick about three weeks ago, almost in death bed. Another doctor had treated her on the recommendation of  the lawyer.”

“Why, another doctor?”

He shook his head.

The inspector remained thoughtful for some seconds, then said, “Guddu, we are not yet through with the investigation. So, we will talk to you again when we think fit.

“By the way, I am surprised that you have such a good understanding of inheritance!”

“Sir, many times I overheard the lawyer discussing with Madam…”  Saying that Guddu took his leave.

-----------------------------

The inspector ordered Ahmedi to call Gurnav Banhu, the lawyer.

He was a short man with shifty eyes and cropped hair, impeccably dressed in a black coat and white trousers. He appeared as a man who did not tolerate any nonsense. A permanent frown seemed to remain on his face.

The inspector gauged him for a moment or so and spoke.

“I know you are a busy professional, but this is a murder case, and one of your important clients is the victim. So, I expect total cooperation from you.”

Contrary to general appearance, Gurnav’s demeanour was friendly.

“No problem, Inspector. I am here to help you. Indeed, Nayana Kumari was my esteemed client, and I will do my best to see that her killer is caught.

“I understand that Nayana Kumari was relooking at the inheritance of her nephew and son, post her death. Wills & Testaments are involved. Can you throw  some light about it?”  

They had a long discussion.

----------------------------------

In the afternoon, the inspector was sitting before Dr.  Abraham in his chamber.  He was a corpulent man, dark-complexioned, short with a slight limp. He had a hoarse voice and brusque behaviour.

“Dr. Abraham, we understand that many times Nayana Kumari could not tolerate allopathic medicines, and she preferred alternative medicines. Can you tell us why and about your line her treatment, for our understanding?”

 Dr. Abraham cleared his throat and began.

“Out of many unusual and alternative therapies used over the decades, one of the accepted ones is “hypnosis.” Here, a patient's psychological aspect is given great emphasis, and within the intangible realms of mind, hypnosis alleviates many patients’ body pains and other diseases.”

The inspector said, “ So, Dr., you are a medical hypnotist. Tell me about your methods.”

Dr. Abraham continued, “Here, use of a pendulum is common where a patient is induced to a “state of trance” by using the eye fixation method. He concentrates by continuously staring at a moving round object attached to the end of a wire which swings back and forth steadily.”

“Please explain in the context of Nayana Kumari.”

“Well, she had her usual old-age medical issues. In fact, what she wanted was sensitive handling of her ailments; many times, listening to her sympathetically could take care of her sufferings.”

“And what would you have done if she needed medicines? More particularly for her acute body pains?”

“Then, I would have used hypnotic treatment to relax her and let go of her distracting thoughts.”

“I see,” he nodded, “and how would you do that?”

“I prefer the pendulum method of hypnosis.”

“As you say, a wire is used in a pendulum…” The inspector murmured to himself and then sat thinking for some minutes;  a clue seemed to be emerging.

“Can I see that pendulum?” He asked, eventually. 

Dr. Abraham said after a slight hesitation, “I will show you.” He got up and went into the next room.

He came back after many minutes with a round object with intricate designs and placed it on the table. He shook his head and said, “Here it is. I am sorry, Inspector, I seem to have misplaced the wire of this pendulum. I am forgetful many times.”

The inspector took out the murder weapon-wire from his pocket. “Is this the part of your pendulum?”

He attached the wire with the round object. “Yes, Inspector, from where you got it?  

“From the bedroom of Nayana Kumari.”

The inspector did not elaborate further but noticed that Dr. Abraham’s face became pallid.

-------------------------------

Doctor Subic, the allopathic doctor, regarded the inspector with a slight smile.  He was a tall, pleasant-looking man with a fair complexion and charming manners.

He was in the inspector’s room.

“Inspector, her untimely death is very unfortunate, but she would have suffered more if she had been alive; she could not tolerate many of the allopathic medicines for numerous complications, including congenital heart problem, to be specific.”

“So, did she lose hope?” The inspector inquired.

“Just the opposite. She refused to give up and wanted a long life, which mindset is very important to survive. She believed in alternative medicines, and another doctor used to treat her. I do not know much about that since those are mumbo-jumbo treatments.”

The inspector then took out the murder weapon-wire from his desk drawer and laid it on the table. “Have you seen this wire when you used to  visit her?”

He picked it up and scrutinised it.

“Yes, I have seen it, a few times, on Nayana Kumari’s side table against the bed. A pendulum was fixed at its end; I believe it belongs to Dr. Abraham.”

“Did she ever speak to you anything other than health?”

“Yes, Inspector. She was a lonely woman and wanted a confidant to whom she could open her heart and her problems.”

“The last question; did she call you often, at any time of the day or night?”

“Quite so, Inspector.”

--------------------------------------------

That night the inspector lay on his bed, thinking deeply. He had many inputs about the case. Perhaps he was missing some vital links. Was there some new character in the crime?

In the morning, he called Ahmedi and said, “We have examined the footage of the main door CCTV camera in that apartment without any success but unfortunately missed the one which is fitted above the back door.  So, I want to see that footage, then the mystery of entry and exit of the killer may become clear.”

Later during the day, Ahmedi came in, “Sir, there is no footage. Somebody had switched off the power supply to the camera.”

“Is that so? That means the killer had entered the apartment through that back door.” The inspector thought for some moments and said, “Get the fingerprints taken from the switch of that power supply and the handle of the back door.” 

Soon after, he gave further instructions.

------------------------------

Three days later in the evening, the inspector and Ahmedi entered Doctor Subic's chamber, unannounced; they found him with another lady, petite and smartly attired. 

Doctor Subic, who was sitting in his chair,  looked at the inspector with a frown. “This is an odd time to come to my clinic, Inspector; I close it at 7.30 p.m., and now it is 8.10.” 

The inspector occupied a chair without any invitation and looked at the lady. “Do I presume that you are Ms Sheena Malkhani, Doctor Subic’s sister?”

“How do you know me?” She looked surprised.

“My job is to investigate and find out, ma’am.” The inspector replied.

“What do you want now?” Doctor Subic’s irritation was palpable.

The inspector stared at him for many seconds, then said in a menacing voice, “I have come to make an arrest!”

“What? Is it a joke? You cannot arrest me without any reason!” Doctor Subic’s voice rose.

“I did not say who I wanted to arrest. You jump to the conclusion, fast, Doctor, is it not?”

“Ok, ok, tell me your work and go away; I have an appointment elsewhere.”

“Doctor, now listen to me carefully; I am charging you for the murder of Nayana Kumari! You are entitled to legal help if you want. I can wait.”

“What the hell! Have you gone insane, Inspector? What bloody proof you have to arrest me? And why should I murder anybody? I am innocent!!”  Doctor Subic virtually screamed.

“I will also tell you why you have murdered! And I will tell you what proof I have. Of  course, all these will also be placed before a court.”

Doctor Subic was about to make a threatening move, but he subsided when Sub Inspector Ahmedi restrained him roughly.

The inspector’s demeanour was now relaxed.

“The motive for your murder was to stop Nayana Kumari to make a new Will in the names of her nephew and son,  dividing her vast properties. And also cancelling her old Will  under which you were to inherit all her properties worth many crores of rupees.”

“What rubbish things, you say!”

“Well, her lawyer Gurnav Banhu has pertinently revealed to us that initially, she had made a Will in your name. But soon, I believe that your behaviour started to change; you became overtly impatient, greedy, and ultimately as a most dangerous move,  planned to kill her early to get her vast properties. This was necessary as you had realised that even in her precarious medical condition, she could live perhaps for a few more years!

“Fortunately, she got an inkling about your killing plans, and so she could not have kept you a beneficiary of her Will. It was too dangerous!

“So, like I said, she wanted to cancel her old Will and make new Will in favour of her nephew, Rohtang and her son, Ravish, who were annoyed with her and she with them for very long. But she wanted them to be reformed and was willing to forgive them. As soon as she was satisfied after talking to them, she instructed Gurnav Banhu to change her Will in their favour, dividing her properties, and you would have been totally deprived. Who knows, you could even land into some trouble on her bidding?”

Doctor Subic was staring at the inspector intently.

“I did not plan to murder her at any time. And how would I have known all these inheritance details? You are totally wrong in your assumption. Moreover, you have no evidence.”

“Is that so? We checked from Gurnav Banhu’s office and found that you discreetly extracted this information from there. I may add that your sister, Sheena Malkhani, had also informed you about the talks her so-called lover, Ravish Kumar, had with his mother, Nayana Kumari, that night. There are call records.”

“I totally deny all these.”

The inspector smiled. “Is that so? Do I need to tell you all the incriminating facts now?

“Well, that night’s incident was the beginning of the plan of your crime. Nayana Kumari had to be eliminated before she could make her new Will,  cancelling the old one. And that you did, the next week, at the first opportunity.

“The first step was to ensure entry into her apartment without her knowledge. This was possible since you had duplicate keys of her main door and the back door. You must have got these from her earlier, convincing her that for the sake of her health and support, you needed unhindered entry at all times.

“That night of the murder, you knew that her servant, Guddu,  had gone to his quarter, and there was nobody in the apartment. Since that was safe, you planned to make an entry from the back door. But there was a problem; it had a CCTV camera installed above it. Knowing fully well the apartment's layout, you had managed to access and switch off the camera earlier in the afternoon.  

“When you entered her bedroom, sometimes between 1.30 a.m. to 3.30 a.m. during that night, you found her sleeping; you went to her bed and picked up from the side table against the bed, the murder weapon-wire. This wire, part of a pendulum, had been used during that morning by Dr. Abraham for hypnosis treatment and left carelessly there. You had seen it in the afternoon when you had visited her. It was your plan to murder her with that wire so that he could become the prime suspect.

“Then you went ahead and murdered her mercilessly and escaped through the same route of the back door. You had not  switched on the CCTV camera, then, which was the beginning of many mistakes on your part … giving us the clue of the movements.”

As the inspector paused, Doctor Subic snarled, “Ok, so is this your make-belief story? There is no proof; no court will accept this. Well, you have tried; now, Inspector, leave me alone…”

“Not so fast, Doctor,” the inspector interjected, “hear me out fully.”

By then, Doctor Subic had stood up to go, but he stopped abruptly and bent down to open a drawer of his desk.

The inspector went on, unperturbed, “We have lifted fingerprints from the switch of that CCTV camera and the handle of the back door, and matched with yours, Doctor, they are the same. You should have been careful not to make this mistake.”

Doctor Subic straightened, “I was not physically present in that apartment that night. So, your hypothesis falls flat.”

“Is that what you think?” The inspector replied. “As you were leaving the apartment that night, you received a  call from Sheena, perhaps she was enquiring about the crime status, and you took that call. And that was another mistake; we fixed your location from that call. Now, we will definitely establish your crime, Doctor. No use trying to wriggle free …”

While saying these, he watched Doctor Subic closely, whose face was gradually taking a different hue. The inspector unhurriedly took out his service revolver from his shoulder holster, “I expect a  confession from you… before the authorities and in writing!”

 “There is nothing to confess; I have not done anything…” Doctor Subic was now hollering. “Go away, you scoundrel… you inspector… these kinds of absurd proofs will not help you!”

The inspector sighed audibly, put his revolver back in his holster, and casually looked away, saying, “Perhaps you are overconfident about your crime and think we cannot prove anything. Well…!”

As if on a cue, Doctor Subic, with a sudden ferocious movement, swooped down, picked up a pistol from his open drawer and, pointing at the inspector, squeezed the trigger!

There were two simultaneous firings. A bullet came out of  Detective Inspector Samsher Brahma’s revolver from the floor level where he had hurled himself; it lodged in Doctor’s right shoulder! He screamed, and his pistol fell on the ground with a clutter!

The doctor’s bullet wedged in the woodwork of the opposite window! 

“This is the final and most dangerous mistake you have made,”  the inspector smiled and stood up from the floor, “… which makes life easy for the prosecution and us.”

He then turned towards Sheena, who had retreated in a corner, shielding her face,  “And ma’am, along with your brother, we regret to also arrest you, being an accomplice to the murder of Nayana Kumari.”  

Sub Inspector Ahmedi led out to the police van, the injured Doctor Subic, and Sheena.  Two more policemen accompanied them.

----------------------------------------

The next day morning, the detective inspector was recapitulating the case with Ahmedi.

“Various discussions with Gurnav Banhu and Guddu at different times really gave me critical clues. Without them, this case could not have been cracked.  

“Nayana Kumari was unduly influenced by Doctor Subic to make a Will & Testament in his favour two years ago. Since she was a lonely and sick woman, it was not difficult to please her. She had so much affection for him that he had knowledge about virtually all her personal matters and activities and had access to and control her properties. Ultimately, she made a Will in his favour.

“This state of affairs lasted for almost one year, after which she started getting severe doubts about his behaviour and real intentions. About three weeks ago, she became violently sick thrice, and she doubted that Doctor Subic was trying to poison her for his criminal gains.  Another doctor was called.

“Gurnav Banhu was then consulted, who advised her to first disinherit Doctor Subic to save her life.  And cancel the old Will favouring him and in lieu thereof, after forgiving the estranged nephew and the son, make a new Will in their favour. Since both the nephew and the son were undesirable characters, she was reluctant at first but later agreed, provided they mend their ways; she tried to lure them with her properties' inheritance. Hence, an ultimatum was given to them to go straight, to which they agreed.

“When Doctor Subic came to know of this, he checked discreetly from Gurnav Banhu’s office. He found that the process of the Wills would start soon, and all would be lost, and so he moved to kill without any delay.

“Interestingly, this criminal Doctor knew about the forgetful nature of Dr. Abraham, who had left behind the pendulum wire with his patient. So, Subic used that wire to commit the murder and frame Abraham.

“Ultimately, the brother-sister duo thought they were smart and could pull off this crime successfully...”

As soon as Detective Inspector Samsher Brahma paused, Sub Inspector, Ahmedi said, “Not smarter than you, sir! But another query. How did you eliminate the nephew, his wife, and the son from being suspects? And Dr. Abraham too. The lawyer and the manservant were also initially suspected…”

“Those three relatives could not have killed her on that date when her old Will in favour of  Doctor Subic was still in place and in force, so there was no motive of financial gain for them, and I did not believe that they had the guts to kill for any other reason. Dr. Abraham had no motive to kill his rich patient. The last two persons, you have mentioned, similarly had no motives; in fact, they helped us to nab the killer.”

He smiled and concluded, “At the end, full credit goes to you, Ahmedi, for obtaining the fingerprints of all these suspects from various likely and unlikely surfaces and getting them compared from the fingerprints lifted from the crime scene.”

He patted his subordinate’s shoulder affectionately.

Sub Inspector Ahmedi stood up and saluted.

 

AMITAV GANGULY

8th March 2021

 

 

 

 

 


Submitted: March 08, 2021

© Copyright 2021 AMITAV GANGULY. All rights reserved.

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