Suitcase

I am standing in a very crowded street…my eyes are searching for a known face…..I have killed time, money and a lot many other things to be here…exactly here….exactly for this point of time…for that man. And he is about to show up…just for one last time…as today is the day when I will be cleansing this earth by his cursed blood…”

*

It was merely seven o’clock next morning of July and Mahipalpur Chowk was surrounded by the crowd. People were looking at an opened suitcase, which had a plastic bag that was bathing in blood. Most of the people were swaying away from the situation as it was soon to be turned into a crime scene and nobody wanted to get involved, just enjoy. In next thirty minutes, police arrived, sealed the place and started the investigation. Within next hour, there were cops all over the place and a forensic team which arrived to finally open the plastic bag. A group of policemen were asking the crowd about the suitcase when another police van arrived at the scene.

Senior Inspector Rathi came out, dressed in civil uniform, like a superstar comes out of his vanity van. He was a well-built man in his early thirties and had a bald patch on the centre of his head. With an attitude of a prince, he took off his aviators with his left hand, while his right hand was adjusting his bushy moustache. As he approached the crime scene, an inspector dressed in uniform approached him to discuss the details. He saluted Rathi, who paid no attention to him, but in return, asked in a deep and penetrating voice, “So who got bowled today?”

Rathi was one of the gems in Delhi Police, with zero corruption charges and a brilliant track record. The only trouble his superiors had with him was his penchant of involving cricket in his questions and replies while on investigation.

“The forensic team is yet to open the plastic bag, sir.” the inspector replied.

“So are they waiting for a toss or third empire’s decision?” he asked, getting irritated. “Sir they were waiting for your arrival. This situation is very delicate.” the inspector replied. “Ah! So they are waiting for the captain…I see…” Rathi said, with a self-complimenting tone.

“Detail me now, inspector.” he ordered.

“Sir, it is still not sure what happened. It was the night watchman who found the suitcase. We got a call in the morning from the night watchman Mohan, who comes on the patrolling duty in the night. He was also the first to arrive on the scene.” the inspector briefed him about the situation. “Hmm… well, will deal with him later, let’s get that plastic bag open.” Rathi said. He and the inspector were given the mouth mask to wear before going further. “Why this?” Rathi asked. “Trust me sir, this may be your first time. What you are about to see or smell, is something you will wish you never have to do it again.” the forensics guy said.

As Rathi and his fellow inspector crossed the ‘do not cross’ tag and approached the bag, they froze on the spot. The fellow inspector covered his mouth and ran to a safe distance from the crime scene to vomit out. Rathi’s eye were still glued to what he was seeing in the plastic bag. It was not a body.  Not even a body cut into pieces and put in the bag. In fact, that would still be counted as human, to what he was seeing. Eye balls, intestines, lungs, brain, liver and every other body organ that is present in a body, was out, filled in a plastic bag. Rathi looked around. He sensed that crowd had no idea what was in the bag. So he signalled the forensic guy to pack it up and take it to the lab.

With that, the crowd started thinning.  He could hear some of the people being disappointed, to not able to see the contents of the bag; while some were not happy as they felt their time was wasted as they saw no action. As furious as he was on their comments, he needed to keep his full focus on the case.  The fellow inspector was still recovering from the sensual trauma, when Rathi patted him from the back, “Glad you didn’t pass out, or else I would have suspended you myself. Take me to the night watchman. And I mean right now.” he ordered his fellow inspector in his deep voice, “And have some water. I don’t want your stinking mouth obstructing my batting with the watchman.” he added.

The watchman was standing near the police van, shivering and afraid. Delhi police was not considered a very ‘friendly inquiry’ kind of police. Watching Rathi approaching him all serious and furious, he lost his calm. Rathi was very well known in the area. Firstly for his cricket obsession and then for his ‘slap first convict later’ approach. He bent on his knees and cried to Rathi, “Saab! I did nothing…I was just patrolling like always…last night I saw the bag, but thought it was a stranded one. It was only in the morning when I saw the stray dogs trying to tear it off, I approached it. There was blood oozing out. It was only then, that I called the cops. Saab! I did nothing….mother promise!”

Rathi kept looking at him, with his face becoming more firm with watchman’s every sentence. He then asked, “What are your duty hours?”

“Saab…All night…from eleven in the night to six in the morning.”

“At what time did you spot the bag?”

“Around one in the night. I take a round of the entire alley. It takes me five minutes on my cycle. It was in that process that when I crossed the chowk, I noticed the bag.”

“Who else comes on the duty with you?”

“I am the only one.” Watchmen replied, now easing out as Rathi has not slapped him.

“So you noticed the bag in the night, lying stranded, and yet, you called in the morning?”

The watchman then realised the grave mistake he made. Before he could come up with an explanation, Rathi slapped him hard on his right cheek. Before the watchman could recover from the shock, Rathi grabbed his collar and spoke in a fierce tone, “You just let a stranded bag kept laying in the middle of the chowk, and your little Sherlock brain deduced that it must be a waste. NOT ONCE did you think that it could easily have been be a BOMB? And what do you think we cops are? A bunch of IDIOTS? To whom you will sell the cheap front row tickets for a test match and in return, show us a T-20? What a perfect timing. One round, and it was not there. The next round it was. Now come on…your game is up. Where is your other batsman? Who are the sponsors of your little 20-twenty? Who is the organiser? TELL ME!” Rathi shouted, shaking the watchman by his collar.

The watchman was now on the verge of breakdown. He stared crying, with tears flowing from his eyes, “Saab…! Mother promise I didn’t do anything. I never miss my duty, neither let any one pass by while on round. I can never be involved in any such kind of activity. Trust me Saab! Ask anyone.”

Rathi let the watchman’s collar loose and ordered a constable to take his statement, as he started walking towards his van. The horrific images of the plastic bag contents were still clear to him. The case was just in the beginning phase and he already felt exhausted. He had to solve it fast. He needed to use his three days guarantee method. Right before the telecast of India vs. Australia Test Match Series, which began in four days, he needed to close the file. This three days guarantee method was something that he invented to use on cases that required all his attention. Till date, he had solved more than ten complicated cases in less than three days, or on the third day, right before the clock would strike twelve in midnight.

He went and stood near his van, thinking about the watchman’s statement when his fellow policeman joined him. “Sir, I don’t think this watchman has the guts or brains to pull off something like…that!” he said, his voice filled with the disgust of what he saw. “Agreed. But we still need to keep an eye on him. Also, look for any CCTV footage that you can find. I am sure, something must be there.” Rathi said, his mind still processing the whole crime scene. He might not have admitted, but it was too much, even for him. His thoughts were interrupted by the fellow inspector. “Err…sir, they don’t have a CCTV for this society.” he said.

Rathi looked at him surprised, “What? No third umpire? Damn’it!” he was quickly running out of the options. No witness, no CCTV footage, he had lost this innings. Just as he would come up with any other thought, his phone rang and his eyes widened like an excited child. “We may have something at least.”

“What happened sir?” the fellow inspector asked. “They have found a letter in the midst of the thing.” Rathi said. ”We know now that who the owner of those organs is after all. We need to move in to the forensic department.”

Meanwhile, somewhere else, a man sat on his arm-chair, reading the morning newspaper. He has not felt this content ever before. Last night’s adventure had finally put his soul at peace. He wanted nothing more in his cursed life. He kept the newspaper on the side, maybe didn’t find the news he was looking for, and stretched his arms. He could not get proper sleep last night after his little trip to Mahipalpur. Whatever little he had, he was fine with it…but he wanted to sleep more…a long and deserving sleep…

Rathi was having a very hard time in the forensic department. He had requested the doctor to remove the bag prior to his arrival. “Highlights only, please” he requested the doctor. “We found the paper in the middle of all the mess. It was laminated, so the contents of the paper were not damaged. I think that’s all we could find, except for one more peculiar fact.” “And that will be?” Rathi asked. “We have recognised all his body organs. There is only one body part missing, his penis.”

Rathi and his fellow inspector looked at each other, confused. But at this time Rathi was open to any kind of bizarre news, as he had already seen the worst. He requested for the paper that came along with the bag. It was a note. Rathi began reading the contents –

 

These body organs belonged to a demon named Nandkishor. He was an auto driver working on the route of Mahipalpur-IGI-NDLS. He was a rapist who could not be convicted due to lack of evidences. Please go through the case file of Mahipalpur gang-rape, which happened six months back. But I cleansed my earth with his blood. And now, I give you one more chance to do what you cops are meant to do. Open the case again and bring the other accomplice to justice. He is currently out of my reach. But BEWARE! If he is not caught by you, then you will have another body’s organs to sort through.

-Kalki

 

The name at the end of the letter was more than sufficient to explain everything to Rathi. Kalki…a name that has struck fear into the hearts of all the rapists and molesters in past two years.

He still remembers the first time when a body was found in the forest of Dhaula Kuan. The eye balls were missing, penis chopped out and his chest cut wide open to show the insides. The body belonged to an MLA’s son, who was accused of multiple rapes and eve teasing. It was an isolated incident back then and was proceeded in the same manner. Things changed when another body was found in the same condition, but with a note that time. Kalki had officially announced his existence and that he will keep punishing any rapist who is out of the law’s hands. In the following months, many bodies were found in the same condition, all belonging to those who were either a rape accused, or too rich to be put in the jail.

Delhi Police was put on the maximum alert, yet somehow murders kept happening. The common people were happy though. Every woman in the city was praising Kalki, calling him the God’s incarnation. There was a significant drop in the rape cases, but an increase in the murder rate. Rathi always dreaded to come across any such case. Yet he stood here today, finally in the middle of all the mess. Kalki was now a central level matter, but since it happened in his area, he could not run from it. He has to solve it, that too, in three days.

He looked at the note once again. There was something off about it. And then it clicked him. A proof that could easily be a turning point in this case. “Sir, should we be informing the commissioner about it? He is directly handling the Kalki matter after all.” the fellow inspector interrupting his thought. But Rathi smiled and said, “No. That will not be needed. As this is not Kalki.” The fellow inspector looked at him in a confused state. Rathi went on explaining, “Look at the letter. Kalki leaves a note with every dead body. But it just mentions the name of the person and the people he raped. He follows the same format with every dead body. He never threatened police or challenged to murder another rapist, if they didn’t take any action. But here, he is not only challenging us, but also telling us that how he did earth a favour by killing him.

Secondly, notice the condition of the body. Kalki has a signature. Such twisted serial killers always do. He followed the same killing style with every rapist, the manner in which the first body was found. In past two years, he never broke his style. Then why make an exception for Nandkishor? Reason is simple. Someone tried to copy Kalki’s style, but failed terribly. It is a pure act of revenge.” Rathi finished. The fellow inspector and the doctors were astonished at this new discovery. “Open the Mahipalpur gang rape file. Get an ID on this Nandkishor and find his fellow auto drivers and family. Although their statements will be nothing more than a match’s commentary, followed by their ‘expert’ review on the possible suspect, still go ahead.” Rathi ordered his fellow inspector.

He needed to visit the crime scene again. He had hopes now. If the killer can do such a mistake, he might had done something reckless, must have left some clue. He was not Kalki after all. Just an imposter. Rathi was the first of the cops to feel good about the decreasing rape cases, but he never supported the road taken to achieve the goal. He got in his police van, wore his aviators and left for the crime scene.

It took him an hour to reach back to the location. The area was back on its normal routine. Rathi got out of his police van in his similar style and stood at the exact spot where the suitcase was found. He closed his eyes, visualising the entire scenario about the previous night. The watchman said it took him five minutes to complete one round of the alley. Which means, the killer would have got a chance to act only in those five minutes. The suitcase was heavy. Which means that he could not have balanced it in a bike. The car would definitely have been impossible as the watchman would have heard something.  That leaves only one medium. The killer walked with the bag in the entire alley. He must have noted down the exact time it takes for the watchman to complete his one round. Plus, if the bag was heavy and the killer was on foot, then he must have run with the bag in his hands. Carrying a bag of that weight would require a good build up body. The killer cannot be a normal guy. He was figuring out all the possible ways and narrowing down the profile of his killer. He opened his eyes. His has something more to gone on with.

But he still had no clues, no solid reason to support his theory. He looked around the chowk area. It was surrounded by two alleys, hotels and houses. It was one of such areas of Delhi, where nobody would look out of the window unnecessarily in night. Thus, there was no use of asking anyone around. He turned his back on the crime scene, ready to wait for any information that his fellow inspector would bring, when his eyes saw a small, little black object, hanging down from the wall of a hotel property and facing at the same spot where he was standing. Rathi moved a bit closer to the wall, and with another look at the black object, he smiled and quickly moved in the hotel Star Palace.

It was a well-lit building, with fresh fragrance of flowers all over. Couples and family were moving around, sitting on the sofas. Some children were running around and jumping all over the place. Rathi quickly moved towards the receptionist area where a man in his late thirties was sitting. Assuming Rathi as a guest, he stood up and welcomed him, but Rathi had no time.

He asked the receptionist, “How long has your CCTV camera been hanging on the side wall, pointing towards the alley?” The receptionist was a bit taken aback with the question. Rathi was getting restless. He took out his ID batch and flashed it on his face. The man behind the reception recognised Rathi as ‘slap first and convict later’ cop. He quickly started answering. “Sir, it was not supposed to be hanging, it just fell down last evening. We tried getting it fixed, but there was no man with us yesterday. Why sir? Anything serious? Is it against the law? I will get it fixed today.” he kept saying. But Rathi was not interested in it.  He went on inquiring, “Was it still in the recording mode?” “Yes sir. It should be.” The man then looked at his screen and went on the playback mode. Rathi asked him to play footage of between 12 midnight to 2 am. The receptionist followed the instructions. Rathi saw each and every second of the video with all his attention. The watchman was indeed telling the truth. His timings were matching exactly the way he told. The camera resolution was high and with any luck, Rathi would see the killer any time now and test his theory. And then, as the time was around one, he showed up.

A man was coming out of a dark alley, moving slowly towards NH-8 crossing. His was dragging a big suitcase, which was exactly of his size, maybe an inch or two shorter. As he was about to reach the main road, it stopped to turn back and look for a sign of any living soul passing by, but there was none. Rathi could clearly see his face in the light of the lamp post. He smiled and wiped his forehead of the sweat. He then kept the luggage down and stretched his arms, while looking around at the building for any signs of light. The entire street was dark, expect for the lamp post’s lights. He opened the suitcase and his face filled with disgust. He then closed the zip and without looking at it further, vanished into the dark alley, from where he came.

Rathi was filled with joy. It’s not even the evening of the day one, and he has found the killer. He asked the receptionist to give him a print out of the picture, after freezing the screen back at the moment when the killer accidently looked at the camera, completely ignoring it. The receptionist did exactly what he was told. Rathi was about the call his fellow inspector, when his phone rang. His fellow inspector had called him to give him an update on the dead’s colleagues’ inquiry.

The fellow inspector had informed him that the victim, Nandkishor was a big pervert. Upon inquiry it was found that he has no family here. His colleagues had no regret that he was found dead in that condition. In fact, they were happy that Kalki finally got him. His one of the colleague was brought along to make the statement.

Inside the Mahipalpur police station, Rathi was inquiring about the deceased Nandkishor. A fellow auto driver started with the same ‘he should have been dead’ stuff when Rathi interrupted, “No test match commentary, everything in 20-twenty format…quick now.” The auto driver began, “Sir, a year back, we remember, we were standing at the Ajmeri Gate metro station, waiting for the passengers to come. Nandu was also there, but was only eyeing for the female passengers. No body used to talk to him as he was very disgusting. A beautiful memsaab then came out of the railway station and approached him. I clearly remember she was wearing a black sleeveless top and shorts. She wanted to go to Mahipalpur. Nandu was very happy to take her. I knew his intentions. So I approached her and requested her to take another auto. But I think she thought I wanted to take her in mine, so she refused. Nandu used to take gaanja and get violent. Even that evening, he fought with me over her. But he finally took her. We all heard the news that she was found gang-raped and dead in the same Mahipalpur Chowk. Nandu was questioned and taken into custody, but he never accepted the charges. The cops had to let him go. But we all knew what he did. It was rumoured that he also had a partner that night.

The strange fact is, that just two days after Nandu was released from the custody, a Saab, he was a fauji, came up and started beating Nandu at the Ajmeri gate side taxi stand. We did our best to stop him, but he was very well built. So police had to come in between.”

“Wait…hang on….” Rathi interrupted, “You said a well-built man…?”

Ji sir…he was the husband of that memsaab. He kept shouting that Nandu killed her and that he will kill him. Saab…after the police stopped him, even then he kept showing himself every day. All he used to do was stand at the Ajmeri gate metro station gate, and stare at Nandu. As if he knew when Nandu would be present there. He kept doing it for next six months. He used to look very scary sometimes. Nandu had to take other spot in IGI. He got too scared of him. After that, even fauji saab stopped coming. Poor soul he was sir…memsaab was pregnant when Nandu did it. I can never forget that incident.”

Rathi’s heart was racing. Just one more question, and if he gets the answer he is looking for…the case will be closed. He took out the print out of the photograph and placed it in front of the auto driver. And with a slow voice, asked, “Is this the same guy you saw?” The auto driver didn’t even take a second to nod his head in affirmation. Rathi looked at his fellow inspector, who got the signal and handed him over the gang rape file, showing the guy and his address. Rathi’s eyes were sparkling with the tears of victory. He ordered, “Get the team, we have our killer. Screw the warrant. And someone drop this great man…” he said pointing towards the auto driver, “…back to Ajmeri Gate. And don’t even think of leaving the pitch without permission. We will need you again.”

Rathi was happy and thrilled beyond measures. They were quickly moving towards Delhi cantonment to capture Major Suyash Chandra. He still had lot of questions that needed answering. Like how was he able to murder Nandkishor and place the body in the middle of the chowk with the perfect timing? He must have some place where he had to cut down the body? He was still grateful to that hanging CCTV camera that Suyash ignored, as it was a mishap that happened on the very same say when he was planning on the murder.

The police van stopped in front of C-214/8, ARMY CANTT. The moment was here. Rathi alerted his team to be ready as the killer is an army officer, and might give a very good fight. Rathi took the initial stairs and was about to knock at the door, when he noticed that the door was slightly opened. Rathi gave a little push to the door and with his gun pointed forwarded, he entered the house. What he saw next was a nothing like a completely twisted suspense scene.

Major Suyash was laying in the floor, his fingers crushed and throat slit. But he was still alive. Rathi shouted to his team outside, “SOMEONE CALL AN AMBULANCE RIGHT FUCKING NOW!” But Suyash just looked at him, trying to laugh, as he spat more blood. Rathi looked at him in utter shock and confusion. His entire case was breaking down into nothingness. But he will not lose hope. He caught hold of Suyash’s head and tries to ask him. “Just admit it. It was you who murdered Nandkishor. I just want a confession damn’it. Don’t you dare die on me before you do that.” But Suyash just tried to laugh. He nodded his head, signalling Rathi to come near his lips. Rathi, being a desperate cop, lent his ears near Suyash’s lips. Suyash tried to speak, in a very low and confused voice, “Ka…lki… rul…s… ru…les…I…bre…k…ka…i pu…ni…sh…” Rathi got up, not able to believe his ears. He wanted more. He shook Suyash and before he could ask another question….he noticed the faint murmuring. He again brought his ears close to Suyash’s lips. But it was not a statement. Suyash was trying to sing some lines of a song. Rathi looked at him. Suyash was trying hard to laugh Rathi. But again, all he managed was a short ‘ha’ and blood. His eyes went full with tears, trickling down to his ears. He was crying…yet, his face had a smile and blood. With some more efforts of laughing, his voice started fading away and his eyes stopped their movements. He was dead.

Rathi looked at him with a mixed reaction. He was not sure whether to curse him, feel sorry for him or both. He did manage to get a ‘kind of’ confession. But with this confession, he had lost the case. It was officially a Kalki case now. His team members were now standing in the house. They all were looking at the dead body of a murderer who himself has slaughtered a human.

*

Rathi was ordered to report in the police headquarters after two days. The report that he presented, clearly stated the facts that Suyash was somehow working for Kalki. He planned on murdering a guy who raped and murdered his pregnant wife. But maybe that was not what Kalki wanted at the moment. So after Suyash used Kalki’s name to do a murder, Kalki decided to punish him and as a result, smashed his fingers and slit his throat so that he could not communicate anything. But this revelation has thrown a light at the case. Kalki, who was supposedly working alone, is now confirmed to be working in team. Its more than one person, who work in the manner Kalki wants them to work. And nobody has the liberty to break the rules he makes.

After half an hour of waiting, Rathi was called in. He entered the cabin and saluted the Commissioner. The Commissioner was a man in his early fifties. Slim, and high density of white hairs on his head and moustache. He was nose deep buried in what appeared to be Rathi’s report. Realising that he has not replied to his salute, Rathi stood there, looking around. He saw the walls covered with boards, all marking the places in Delhi, where Kalki had left his mark. Rathi casually looked at the chair to his right. A man, in his late twenties, with dark black hairs falling in his eyes, kept looking at him, without moving his eyelids. He was very thin, and his white shirt was making him look thinner. His expressions were blank, yet his eyes were straight on Rathi.

“Don’t worry, you are not the first one to look at me like that. Please hold your thoughts of any bad ideas you are having about my diet plan.” he said in a soft voice and blank tone. His eyes were still x-raying Rathi. ‘Huh…Sherlock rip-off version’, Rathi thought.

Commissioner saw Rathi and told him to sit on the chair next to the other guy. “Senior Inspector Rathi, your report is brilliant. The detailing of the crime and the way you figured out the Kalki link was brilliant. I am surprised to say that none of us could figure it out that Kalki was working in team. You have no idea how easy it is for Sharang to plan his next move now.” he said.

Sharang was a genius RAW agent turned detective. When the police was not able to handle Kalki, he was also involved. Rathi had only heard about him, but never met him or saw him. “I called you here to offer you Kalki case.” commissioner continued, “Sharang and I, we both feel that your intellect and problem solving techniques will be a very useful tool to us.” Rathi was not believing his ears. That was the reason, the only reason he never wanted the Kalki case. It’s just too much time consuming. But once again, he was not in a position to say no.

“Yes sir. It will be an honour to work with you and Mr. Sharang. I really wanted to thank him in person for this opportunity.” Rathi said, his mind still fuming over his circumstances. “And I accept your thanks with regards. It will be fun.” a slow voice came from the right chair. Rathi looked at the lean man. ‘This crazy man is the great Sharang! I am soon going to either die or end up in jail murdering him’ Rathi thought.

“Well that will be all Senior Inspector Rathi. See you Next week. You will be reporting directly to me in the police headquarters.” Commissioner said standing up. Rathi stood up along with him, saluted and was about to leave, when Sharang called from behind, “Just a moment Mr. Rathi. Your report mentions the killer’s last words. Will you repeat his last words to me? I could not find it in your report.” Rathi turned back. Sharang was not even looking at him. His anger level was rising high up, yet he managed to keep the calm and said-

We have a greed,
with which we have agreed,
society, you are a crazy breed,
hope you are not lonely without me.”

“It’s a song. My favourite.” Sharang said, “Thank you officer. See you next week.”
Rathi turned his back on Sharang and left the cabin.
*******

 

© 2016 by Manish Singh. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Suitcase

  1. ENTHRALLING!! Brilliantly detailed, carefully worded,sharply presented, smartly knit. Kept me guessing till the end!! Keep up!!

    Like

  2. ‘Gripping’ is the word! Left me wanting for more. Rathi is the man! Brilliant work Manish! Now I want you write more such stuff in future. All the very best!

    Like

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