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Chapter 12 : Twist In The Tale
But there was a twist to the tale some days later.
Within a week’s time after that meeting with Kulkarni, a friend of Shinde telephoned him from Pune, informing him that he had visited a government hospital in Pune, to visit some victim of an accident getting treatment there.
To his surprise, he found Vijaya lying unconscious in the ward in the next bed of the patient he had visited. Since he was their family friend and since he had met Vijaya many times in the past, he could immediately identify her, in spite of all the bandages disfiguring her face to some extent.
He told the doctors attending to her that her name was Vijaya and that he knew her family in Mumbai.
He asked them as to why there was no family member(s) by her side, the doctors said that she was admitted in the hospital in an unconscious state and that there were no identification papers or identity cards with her.
She did not have even have a purse or an identity card with her when she was found. In fact there was nothing connected with her, when she was found in the unconscious state. That’s why they could not identify who she was and where she had come from etc.
Since she was in an unconscious state, when the police found her in an accident spot, it became a police case and so, she had been admitted in this government hospital. She has been in a coma for the past 3 months or so, with the result that they did not know anything about her, or about her family members, or whether anybody knew her in Pune.
They said further that whenever anybody visited the hospital attending to the patients in the neighbouring beds, they would make an enquiry to them, whether they knew her. So far, the reply was in the negative.
So his friend urged him to immediately visit the Pune hospital to take care of Vijaya.
On hearing the news, Shinde broke down completely and thanked his friend profusely. He asked for the details of the hospital, its address, the expenses involved, the names of the doctors, their telephone numbers etc, so that he could contact them and do the needful in the matter.
He told his wife and their son what message he had received on the phone. His wife broke down completely like him, while their son remained composed and felt relieved that, at last some ray of hope about Vijaya has come out. He said that they should immediately rush to Pune without any delay whatsoever.
Shinde immediately informed his lawyer Sharma, and asked for his opinion, on whether they should inform the police about it, or just visit the hospital and meet the doctors to discuss about her health position.
Sharma cautioned him that not telling the police will become an offence and so they have to inform them without fail. He said that after all they had filed a missing person complaint with the police when Vijaya went missing, and now when he received the news of her whereabouts, he should immediately inform the police. And they should follow their instructions after telling the police about it he continued.
Accordingly, they went to the police station immediately and met inspector Kulkarni and told him the news received by him through his Pune friend.
Kulkarni asked for the hospital’s phone number from Shinde and after getting the number, dialled it and identified himself to the doctors concerned, who were treating Vijaya. He told them that the girl they were treating in the hospital was identified as Vijaya by a friend of the family.
He then asked them the name of the police inspector, who was handling the case and his phone number. After a short delay the doctors gave him the name of the inspector and his phone numbers also.
After telling them that her parents had registered a missing person complaint about her 3 months back and from that time onwards, the police were trying to solve the case. So, the police will have to verify the identity of the patient under their treatment and if found to be Vijaya, as claimed by Shinde’s friend, they would have to complete all the formalities etc.
The doctors confirmed that the Pune police were trying to find out about her for the past so much time but they could not succeed till now. Now that one person has identified her, they hoped that the matters regarding her case could be solved satisfactorily.
Kulkarni asked them about her health condition and got the status report from them.
After thanking the doctors, he dialled the phone number of the Pune police station and identified himself and briefly explained the situation to him. The inspector was obviously relieved to hear the news from Kulkarni that after 3 months of puzzle, some progress was being made in the case, and asked Kulkarni what he proposed to do in the matter.
Kulkarni said that he would send a sub inspector and a constable along with Shinde family members to Pune, as soon as possible, once the formalities were done at his end, so that Pune police could handle the case at their end, interacting with Shinde family members.
Shinde family members were so impatient that they wanted to leave for Pune immediately and goaded Kulkarni to complete all the paperwork necessary for their records.
After a couple of hours or so, all formalities were completed and they left for Pune, with the police personnel. Since Shinde wanted Sharma also along with him he also went with them to Pune.
(To be continued)
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