It was three in the morning and her cell phone wouldn’t stop ringing. She was deeply engrossed in writing the report and didn’t hear it for the first few times.
It was a number she didn’t recognize.
“Hello?” She spoke softly.
“Ria. What is it?” The voice asked.
“Is it you Anup?” She questioned.
“Yes. But you have to tell me. What is it that you figured out?”
“Whose number is this?”
“Well I assumed you wouldn’t pick up if I called from my own number.” He grinned.
“You assumed correctly.” She spoke stridently and cut the phone.
She was in the middle of doing some really urgent work. Just four hours were left. She couldn’t afford to lose even a single second.
“All rise for the jury.” The Bailiff announced.
“Case Number 2034A. The people versus Raj Bhadana. You may proceed.”
It was long and a boring case.
The prosecutor, Ria Singhania was frustrated. The defendant had an alibi. The jury was convinced that R. Bhadana was innocent. She was going to lose the case.
“One last thing. I would like to present to you.” She turned to face the jury.
“Objection my lord! Miss Singhania is just trying to waste time. She has forgotten that everything has been presented already. “Anup said.
Bhadana had made the wisest choice. There was just one person in the whole world that had the ability to face Ria, and that one person was Anup Raizada. He was tall, fair and handsome with hundreds of women drooling over him all the time and yet single. Wherever he went, whatever he did, it mattered to everybody, except Ria, she couldn’t stand him.
“The verdict hasn’t been announced yet, so do you mind me proceeding?” Her mouth thinned and her eyes narrowed into slits of fury.
“I would request the judge to kindly grant permission for bringing in a projector and a laptop. There is something I would like to show everyone.”
“In the mean time I would like to ask a few questions from Mr. Bhadana.”
“Mr. R. Bhadana Where were you the night Mr. Amit Yadav was killed?”
“Objection My lord, these questions have already been asked.”Anup rose from his seat.
“Objection overruled. Continue Miss Singhania but make is precise!”
“Sure. So Mr. Bhadana, would you reply to what I just asked?”
“I was at the bar.” He said politely.
“And why are you lying?” She tilted her head slightly.
“I am not. I have an alibi and my lawyer already told that.”
“Well, alibis can always be bought. Give me another reason to believe you”
“Objection My Lord! The prosecutor is accusing my client of bribery.”
“Now sir, I’m sure you are an intelligent and honest man–” Ria’s eyes flashed with anger and resentment.
“Thank you. If I weren’t under oath, I’d return the compliment.” Bhadana replied.
Everybody erupted in laughter except Ria.
A wave of futile rage swept over her
Anup’s grin widened as he saw her fuming with anger.
“Silence in the court please.” The judge demanded.
The laptop and the projector was set by then.
“What I am going to show you now, ladies and gentlemen will leave you speechless. This evidence will be more than enough to convict Mr. Raj Bhadana.” She pressed a button on the laptop.
“Your honor, the prosecutor cannot present any evidence without prior notice” Anup insisted, but before anyone could say anything, a view of Raj holding a gun flashed on the screen.
There were two men and everybody recognized them easily. The victim and the killer. It was a clear recording and everybody saw Raj pulling out a gun from the inside pocket of his jacket and shooting Amit. Next he turned to face the camera and pulled the trigger and the recording stopped instantly.
“I.. I… !” The shock robbed him of speech. He couldn’t deny it. He pleaded Anup for help, but it was clear as glass that he was guilty.
“It is not possible! This is a fake! I destroyed the hard disk myself. There is no way you could get that recording.” He sounded obvious.
“Don’t look so tensed. Calm down, I will explain it.” She chuckled and turned towards the judge.
“Raj was supplying Amit with drugs on a monthly basis. Amit had delayed his payment twice in the last month and when Raj spoke to him about it, he refused to accept his mistake; rather he showed him fake receipts of payment. Raj couldn’t control his anger, so the next day, he went to his house and demanded money and threatened to kill him otherwise. Amit was adamant so Mr. Raj Bhadana shot him dead and destroyed the CCTV footage. What he didn’t know -” Ria glared at Raj “-was that, that anything recorded after 8 pm was automatically uploaded to Amit’s online account.”
She faced the 12 jurors.
There was pin drop silence in the court. Everybody listened to her with great patience.
“I give you the victim, the evidence, the motive, the confession and the killer.”
“There is nothing I could say that would bring back Mr. Amit, but your sentence can assure that his killer, Raj Bhadana gets punished for his deeds. That is the least that could be done.”
“The prosecutor rests the case your honor” She bowed.
“Would you like to say anything in your defense, Mr. Raj?” The judge asked him.
“No.” There was nothing left to say, Ria had said it all.
“The court will reassemble after the jury reaches a verdict.”
It didn’t take much long for the jury to decide whether he was guilty or not and everyone was back within a few minutes.
“The verdict now read is ordered to be recorded by the clerk. We the jury find the defendant Raj Bhadana guilty of first degree murder and drug trade and is hereby sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. For the enhancement under Act 109A he is sentenced to an additional and consecutive term of one year in state prison. The total aggregate sentence is life without parole plus one year.”
Everybody got up and started to leave.
“Next time you plan to shoot anyone, take care of the cameras first.” She gave Raj a wicked smile.
“You think you will stay alive after this? My people won’t leave you! You don’t know who I am.” He threatened her, but she wasn’t scared. Dealing with threats like that was a part of her profession.
There was no expression of remorse whatsoever on his face. She despised him.
“And yes, keep your humor to yourself.” She added and left.
The audience applauded as the movie ended and chattered amongst themselves about the film. It was a hit. The actors had done a great job. Ms. Anushka who played the character of Ria Singhania was everybody’s favorite. Mansi had to go through a great deal to purchase the tickets. The show was houseful except for the one empty seat next to her. Her husband, Arijit had promised that he would make it, but at the last moment he had to attend a meeting.
Mansi went straight to her home and slept the entire afternoon. A few hours later, someone knocked at the door which made her wake up.
She was happy at first but disappointed later when she saw him standing at the doorway.
“So you finally found the time to come home?” She blurted.
“Lovely flowers for the loveliest woman on this earth” He smiled and offered her the red roses.
“You can keep them with you.” She sounded upset and furious.
“I can always give these to my mistress in Noida.” He joked and she pushed him angrily.
“You are not entering this house without my permission?” she shouted at him.
“Mrs. Mansi, I don’t need any permission to come in. We are legally bound. Remember?” He laughed and went straight to the kitchen.
“Where are you going?”
“I am thirsty and I know that you are not kind enough to even ask for water. So I have to do the honors myself!” He winked, but she didn’t react.
“What is wrong with you? Can’t you see I am angry? You didn’t even apologize!” She folded her hands tightly.
“No!” He giggled.
“YOU!” Seething with anger, she approached him menacingly and started hitting him with the pillow kept on the couch.
He ran to save his life as he knew that Mansi had a habit of pulling hair when she got mad at anyone, it had happened before also, he was well experienced.
“You can’t catch me!” He teased her and ran inside the bathroom and locked himself from inside.
“Come out Ariijiit!” She screamed.
“No I won’t! First promise me that you will not hit me!”
“Umm…. okay I promise, now come out!”
He opened the door.
“Promises are meant to be broken!” And she threw a glass full of chilled water at his face.
“What the hell?” He stood stunned and speechless by her sudden rebuke. He turned around and looked at himself in the mirror
Two buttons of his shirt broken. Collar crooked, hair messed up and his face dripping wet! She laughed.
“Do you always look like an unmade bed?” She said sarcastically.
“Do you always look so gorgeous?” He replied and she gave him a disgusting look. He never lost a chance to outsmart her and flirt with her at the same time.
“There is something I have to give you, and then you will forget all your anger.” He pulled out two passes from his jeans pocket and handed them to her.
“Oh My God! Where did you manage these from? I couldn’t even get her secretary to pick up the phone!” She exclaimed.
He knew how much she adored Anushka and the passes were for a private meeting with her.
“Well, I had to pull some strings, but it was worth it.” He pulled her in his arms and kissed her softly.