“My daughter has been murdered! But why! She had no rivals!” Mohandas screamed over the phone when Senior Inspector Joshi informed him that his daughter’s death was a homicide.
Everyone who was sitting around Mohandas was shocked on hearing what he said. Mohandas’ face turned white – he was numb. The shock of losing his daughter was already too much to bear and now to believe the fact that she was murdered was next to impossible for him. He stood up, folded his hands in front of others and went away to his bedroom.
Film producer Ajit Paliwal was reading the newspaper as he drank his first cup of tea in the morning. His mornings began at eleven as he slept only after two-three in the night. Every day he went to some or the other party and drank with his friends. For most people in the Hindi Film Industry – just like Paliwal- mornings begin at dusk and nights begin at dawn.
Paliwal started to read the first page of ‘Daily Times’ as he raised the cup of tea till his lips to drink. As he read the front page, his eyes froze on the second lead story. In the middle of the four column story, was Nisha’s beautiful photograph. The headline of the story stated: ‘Nisha Narang did not commit suicide. She was murdered!’
His hand froze with him holding the tea-cup, as he began reading the article which had the byline of Daily Times’ city editor Rashmi Mathur. The story said:
‘Top actress Nisha Narang – the look-alike of number one actress Chandni- did not commit suicide by jumping down from her balcony during her birthday party but she was pushed down the balcony from the top floor of the ‘A’ Wing of the building ‘Sky Heights’ at Carter Road, Bandra in Mumbai. Initially, the police too believed that it was a suicide but a resident of the ‘B’ wing gave a statement that Nisha was pushed down from her balcony and was murdered. In short, Nisha Narang’s murder was a cold-blooded one. The resident of the ‘B’ Wing of the same society is a witness to the crime. When the resident was standing in his balcony, curious about the party being held at Nisha’s penthouse, his attention turned towards to the balcony of her bedroom where Nisha was standing.The lights in Nisha’s room were turned off so he could not see her face clearly. Also, it was difficult to believe for him that Nisha would be standing alone when such a huge party was hosted by her on her terrace. When the news of Nisha’s death circulated in the society, it was confirmed that it was indeed Nisha who was standing in her balcony.
After a few minutes, he saw that someone came and stood behind her in the balcony. That person bent down and lifted her legs upwards and before Nisha could protest or do something in her defence, she fell down the balcony and died. He could not ascertain whether the person was a woman or a man and he could not notice anything about the person because it was dark in her room. The resident had also rushed down when Nisha’s body was lying in her compound but he did not tell the police then because he did not want to get into the police procedures and court matters.
When he saw that on the next day, the newspapers reported that she committed suicide, he felt that he should tell the truth to the police. But even on that day, he could not muster up the courage, to tell the truth. Finally, on the third day, he made an anonymous call to the police station informing them about what he had seen. The police gave him the guarantee of his safety but he had refused to reveal his identity.
Furthermore, the post-mortem report has confirmed that Nisha’s death was unnatural. The police has taken statements of all the people who were present at the party and have got to know from sources that superstar Vijaykumar, his fiancé Ashka Roy, number one heroine Chandni, film producer Ajit Paliwal, film financer Ranjit Wadhwa, Nisha’s boyfriend and director Karan Khanna, actor Omar Hassan, Nisha’s friends Rohan Saluja and Mohini Sen and B-grade actor Nikhil Malhotra were present at the party among others. The police will interrogate them and the servants working at Nisha’s house that day. The sources have further informed the police that some minutes before Nisha was thrown down the balcony, she had had an argument with her father Mohandas Narang. The police officers are not ready to comment any further on this matter. But it can be concluded that all the people present at the party are suspects in Nisha Narang’s murder case.’
There was more information in the article like hundreds of crores were staked on Nisha through films by different producers but Ajit Paliwal was not interested in reading all of it. He put the tea cup aside with shivering hands and wiped the sweat on his palms and face with a napkin. One sentence in that news article was hammering him: ‘All the people present at the party are suspects in Nisha Narang’s murder case.’
To be continued…
Read the previous chapters here : Chapters 1-9