by Nirupama Akella
Back to page 1 of Chapter 17
He had always found it highly interesting that at that precise moment when Shiksha had said that she had found something, this girl had developed a painful back ache and could not get up to go inside. Maybe if she had gone in, her friend would have still been alive or as Parul herself had pointed out bluntly both of them would have been dead and gone into oblivion by now. “Not going inside had probably saved her life --maybe…” -- the Inspector had mused and then contacted his Senior Constable who had been left in charge of the station to run a thorough background check on Parul Desai.
“Maybe she was a member of a terrorist gang planted here to befriend the granddaughter of the Chief Election Commissione.” Another constant source of worry had been the Principal of the college, Sister Prudence and her ever faithful employee, Sue Danely. They had been interfering from the beginning -- speaking to everyone under the sun without even informing him. Three days earlier he had been awakened one morning at five’ o’ clock, to find himself on the floor and the telephone ringing shrilly -- it had been the Chief Election Commissioner himself. Clad in his pajamas with a day old stubble resting on his chin, he had been told that two private investigators were arriving that morning in the college direct from Delhi with the ex- chief of Delhi police and his wife and second son.He had been plainly upset by the great man’s clear implication that he was obviously not fit to handle the case of the disappearance of his eldest granddaughter and, was sending in experts from the capital. His granddaughter had to be found and the guilty punished as soon as possible. The Chief Election Commissioner had minced no words and ordered him to do his best or else he would personally see that this was his last case ever in his police career. Inspector Chauhan had stumbled through his early morning routine, and rushed to the college to find out if the Sister had spoken to the press! But his marathon had been in vain.
Sister had placidly informed him that she had indeed spoken to a very dear reporter friend of the local newspaper to see if the press could help -- after all it had been a full two days and they, the police had come out empty handed.
Wonderful, he had thought miserably, they were all walking over him! His police career had been ruined forever -- with the press proudly drumming him in their newspapers about his lack of interest and indolence. And then the experts had come in, accompanied by the Chief Election Commissioner’s wife and the second son- when had done their duty and shred him publicly to pieces! His reputation had diminished and now he was at their mercy and he was their little toy. The experts had coolly dismissed all his theories as utterly fantastic and pronounced a few of their own, coinciding dangerously close to those of his donkey Junior Constable and that girl. He had not been able to sleep that night- he was sure to lose his job now -- and his Junior Constable was flying high! Maybe they would make him the Inspector.
Of course, he still shared office with the experts and heard the daily reports, rantings and complaints! The Principal’s secretary had yesterday sailed into the hall and told the five smartly suited men and himself in his sweaty Khaki uniform about some Rajeev Ghosh and her two sightings of him on the days of both disappearances. She had recounted everything in great detail -- “curious and strange, isn’t it” -- she had asked at the end, “makes you wonder!” -- and the experts had nodded and replied in perfect unison -- “Very Strange!” -- and the ex- chief had then ordered a background check on Mr. Ghosh! Of course, the order had been issued to him and all reports had been duly handed in the wee hours of this bright morning! They had been duly devoured and a grunt of approval had come his way. That’s all -- that was his job -- to do their biding and thoughtfully chew the crumbs that fell in his way.
To be continued..../-Back to page 1 of Chapter 17