Back to Chapter 7
Chapter 8 : Police Explanations
Later on, inspector Kulkarni called Habib’s family members and their lawyer to come inside the police station to hear their points of view. It was a long and tedious discussion. Emotions were running high in their interactions with the inspector.
Kulkarni did not tell them that Habib was not responsible for Vijaya’s disappearance, as he had told her family members to gauge their grievances fully.
But they were convinced that Habib was totally innocent in Vijaya’s disappearance case also, as he was found to be innocent in the bomb blasts case, as per the judgement given by the court.
When Kulkarni asked them why they were saying that Habib was innocent, they replied that he was a very good boy, believer in Prophet Mohammed and Allah, regular at offering namaz and a law abiding person. He would not indulge in any illegal and unlawful activity whatsoever under any circumstances. Hence the question of his hand in the disappearance of Vijaya or any other criminal activity did not arise at all in their point of view.
They insisted on the inspector to release him immediately absolving him of all suspicion.
In all these dialogues, the inspector had allowed Vijaya family members and their lawyer also to be present. But he had asked Smita family members to go outside once he had completed questioning them.
After discussing various issues, Inspector Kulkarni invited all of them, namely Vijaya and Habib family members along with their lawyers to accompany him to the first floor of the police station. Puzzled and after a lot of hesitation they followed him.
He directed them to a medium sized hall on the first floor and asked them to check the scene inside through a side window. They were standing on the corridor of the floor.
What they saw there surprised them no end. Habib was playing table tennis with somebody and having a jolly good time from his appearance!
There was a couple of carrom boards, with some people playing the game. There was also a long table, on which 4 or 5 chess boards were present and some people were playing chess. There was a big table nearby, where some people were reading magazines, which were spread out on it.
There was also a TV set there in the room but at that moment the set was off. In one corner, partly hidden by a metal partition, 2 men were doing bench press exercises, while 2 others were lifting dumb bells, indicating that that section was a small gym!
The puzzled people looked at Kulkarni and waited for him to say something. Looking at their puzzled faces, Kulkarni smiled and asked, “Wondering what is happening here?”
When they nodded their heads as if to say “Yes”, Kulkarni said “It is the police club and the people you find doing exercises or playing games are policemen who are off duty now. The club was actually in the adjacent building, but that building is being remodelled and expanded. So temporarily we have shifted the club to this place”.
Unable to curb his anxiety, Habib’s father asked him, “What about Habib? How is he playing table tennis here?” He showed both nervousness and a bit of relief in anticipation of receiving some good news.
Kulkarni said, “Come, let us go down back to my table to continue further” and all of them trooped down to the ground floor again. Habib’s parents and their companions threw repeated glances at Habib playing table tennis before they descended the staircase to the ground floor reluctantly.
When all of them were seated around his table, Kulkarni asked a constable to bring tea for all before starting to talk again.
“Let me share a secret with you all. Habib was never arrested at any time!” and gave a pause.
Terribly surprised and shocked, Habib’s parents literally shouted, “Habib was never arrested? What are you saying saab? Please don’t confuse us. We are not in a mood to play any games, inspector saab, please” they pleaded.
Habib’s father asked, “If he was not arrested, why is he here, instead of in our house?”
Kulkarni said, “Calm down please. I will tell you everything as to what all plans we had been making in this case and in similar other cases”.
He asked the people seated around his table “What is the function of the police in any state?” and waited for their reply.
Sharma replied that the police force is supposed to protect the citizens from all sorts of dangers, whether from thefts, robberies, rioting, looting, rapes, murders etc by providing proper law and order services.
Kulkarni said, “OK, but all of you must be knowing that the police force in India is heavily overworked in all states due to various reasons, so that many times we face many shortcomings in dealing with the cases on hand. So, we have to face criticisms all the time from the press, TV, politicians and the public for our shortcomings. But whenever we do good work it goes without any sort of appreciation”.
Habib’s father immediately said, “It is not so saab. We do appreciate it whenever the police do good work, but the only thing is that we may not come out tom tomming about it”.
Kulkarni said, “Anyway, let me say something very confidentially to all of you. Please keep the matter to yourselves for the time being”.
(To be continued)