Inspector Nokul Hegde of Homicide Squad was at his desk that morning when his Sub Inspector Mubarak informed about the murder of the cashier of Cream ways Incorporation that morning in the office of the firm. “Sir, he was stabbed twice in his stomach and left to die bleeding.. seems around 8.00 am“. Mubarak said.
Both the Inspector and Mubarak were at the crime scene within the next hour. The formalities over, the body taken away for postmortem, the Inspector called for the Manager – Gagan.
“Do you have any idea who did this?” Asked the Inspector.
“Sir!“ Gagan shook his head. “We have no idea who did this…. but I can only tell you that the Cashier – Ratnakar had come early about 7.30 am today to the office for moving by cash van a very large amount of cash to our other office across the town”. He continued, “Although the incident is so tragic….the positive thing is that no cash was stolen from the safe.”
“Is such cash movement the usual routine ?” asked the Inspector.
“Sir, this is the first time such sizable amount of cash is involved”, replied Gagan.
The Inspector nodded.
He went through the contents of the desk of the Cashier. There were the usual office stuff along with a folder containing sheets of documents. Leafing through them he held up a paper saying to Gagan “What exactly is this?” Peering at it Gagan said, “This is a cash transit Insurance taken by us from Safety Insurance Incorporation for today’s cash movement”.
The Inspector walked forward looking around the Cashier’s room. It was virtually bare except for the desk, a chair and a strong safe. “Do you have a CCTV camera?” Gagan came forward and pointed out the camera hidden behind the lamp shade near the upper left side of the wall. Examining it closely the Inspector said,”Please provide us with the footage of last 8 hours, till now”.
Later in the day the Inspector was in his office, deep in thoughts. Sub Inspector Mubarak walked in. “Sir.. the camera footage we have received is very revealing showing the entry of the Killer in the room, his initial checking the safe, a brief struggle with the Cashier- searching his body and stabbing him twice in the stomach; then his effort to break the safe ending in failure and exit from the room… all in just 9 minutes… The guard at the main entrance suspected nothing and didn’t stop him”.
Inspector Nokul looked at the footage twice. “The Killer is unidentifiable….he has large mass of black curly hair and his face is virtually covered by unkempt bush of beard and he is also wearing dark glasses…. he knew that there will be camera which is usual, so he took care to hide himself .. most probably he is in disguise and his hair and beard are false.”
The Sub Inspector agreed, “How do we proceed now Sir.. there is no indication who this man could be…”
The Inspector picked up the sheet of Insurance which he had brought with him from the crime scene. “Let’s begin with this….”
Next day Inspector Nokul along with Mubarak were in the office of Safety Insurance talking to its Manager – Himmet.
“What do you have to say about this Insurance given by your firm?“ The Inspector placed the paper on the table before Himmet. He looked at it, “Yes, we had issued this Insurance Policy day before yesterday for cash transit… the Cashier Ratnakar had come and met me”.
“I see”, the Inspector replied, “Did you meet Ratnakar any time before that day?“
“We know each other for long”. Himmet replied.
The Inspector looked around absentmindedly, his eyes were on numerous homeopathic glass ampules on the desk of Himmet with assortment of other small containers. “What are these ?“, he inquired. Himmet smiled, “I practice homeopathy medicine.. my hobby.. these are the pills..liquid..”
The Inspector too smiled and checked some of the glass containers casually.
They got up and the Inspector invited Himmet to have a cup of coffee in the shop located near the building. They walked down together.
That night .. it was about 11.45 pm.. Inspector Nokul and Mubarak were standing a distance away from the house of Himmet in the downtown. One of the windows showed light and the drawn curtains outlined a shadowy figure moving in the room.
“Let us wait”. The Inspector said. His team went back in the shadows.
Hours ticked by…. suddenly …. through the curtains they could see the flickering flame of fire …. and faint smoke coming out from the window.
“Move immediately.. or we will lose the evidence…” barked Inspector Nokul.
Persistent knock on the door… Himmet opened the door slightly…. his eyes widened in alarm seeing the Inspector.. tried to close the door but was pushed back and the Police party rushed in through to that room.
The fire was burning but with less intensity. Swiftly throwing a blanket taken from the bed to douse the fire; the Inspector found only traces of a burnt wig….beard… rest were ashes.
Himmet was surrounded by Mubarak and another constable; his eyes were blazing, “What the hell is this Inspector.. you know I can complain to your higher authorities for this …..What have I done?”
Inspector Nokul settled down on the near by chair and crossed his legs, “Well.. you will be better able to tell about your misdeeds ….” He looked at him sternly, “..we are holding you for cold blooded murder of Ratnakar, the Cashier of Cream ways Incorporation, in its office.. the day before..!”
“What… you gone mad.. you have any proof or just nailing me….an innocent man?“ Himmet gritting his teeth made a threatening move towards the Inspector; Mubarak gripped him tightly.
The Inspector smiled. “You are a clever criminal Himmet .. but too clever for your own good.. you knew about the plan of Ratnakar to move huge amount of cash that day as you had issued the transit Insurance. Since you knew him well Ratnakar unwittingly gave you the details of his shifting of cash in the morning hours….“
He paused then continued, “That morning you came into the Cash office in your disguise …. you knew Ratnakar will never recognize you… but unfortunately your plan went horribly wrong as he had not opened the safe by then and the cash was inside… he was also not in possession of the safe keys at that time. You searched him, didn’t get what you wanted, got enraged and stabbed him.. then failed to open the safe …. didn’t have much time as the entry guard had already seen you… left quickly. You were also aware of the CCTV camera but you knew nobody can identify you later… ”
The Inspector got up and walked towards window, looked out and then turned. ”Proof ? … when I was in your office I found many homeopathic glass ampules on your table.. one of which had a gluey liquid which was spirit gum …I checked it … no need to tell you that it is used to fix false beard on a face …. quite common for actors who work on stage… it was a slip up on your part to keep it in open… you thought nobody can recognize it.”
He again paused and began, “….then when we took you to the coffee shop near your office..I checked your walking gait.. it matched with the CCTV footage. By that time I was sure of you …. but I thought you may destroy the false beard and the wig which could give you away.. I made a man to shadow you when you came out of office, understood that you were carrying a soft packet from office to home which I presumed would be that.. and it was not difficult to guess that you will burn them in your house tonight.. we kept a vigil outside ….”
Inspector Nokul looked at him smilingly.
Himmet’s face was livid with rage, “You are all wrong.. this proves nothing…” He violently shook away the restraining hand of Sub Inspector Mubarak and stomped into the bathroom and banged shut the door. Mubarak’s automatic came out.. moved..
Moments later there was a full throat scream from inside… Mubarak kicked open the closed door and barged into the bathroom.. Inspector Nokul followed..
Himmet was standing facing them… not his clean shaven face and trimmed hair but a completely different looking man; with large mass of black curly hair and his face covered by unkempt bush of beard.. the face of the Killer.. he was desperately trying to tear away the wig.. the beard.. but in vain… they were stuck … had become a part of him as if by ghostly justice…
The Killer was caught in his visible avatar!! An act of supernatural being?
30th November 2015.