11, Sky Heights: Chapter 16

“Mohini must have known some vital information about Nisha’s murder and the murderer must have got knowledge of that. I think this is why she was shot. Unfortunately, Mohini’s death has made this case even more complex to solve”, Senior Inspector Shrikant Joshi told Inspector Shinde when they were discussing the case.

Joshi took out a cigarette from a packet and offered the packet to Shinde. Shinde too took out a cigarette, lit Joshi’s cigarette first and then lit his. As Joshi smoked and puffed, he looked at the smoke as if he was trying to find answers to a puzzle in it. He sat smoking silently for a while and then said, “Till now, the suspects, in this case, are Vijaykumar, his fiancé Ashka, Chandni, Nisha’s father Mohandas, Ranjit Wadhwa, producer Ajit Paliwal and film star Nikhil Malhotra. We still don’t know the motive behind Nisha’s murder.”

He smoked another puff and continued, “Mohandas had threatened Nisha in a drunken state, during the party because she refused to give him ten lakhs rupees. Soon after that Nisha was found dead. But a greedy man like Mohandas will not kill his own daughter especially when she was earning such huge amounts of money which he could take advantage of. ”

“Let’s talk about Vijaykumar now. Vijaykumar loved Nisha but she had refused his proposal. It could be possible that after Nisha fell in love with director Karan Khanna, Vijaykumar grew envious and could have killed her. But he could have killed Karan instead because if Karan would have been dead, Nisha would be alone and he could pursue her again. Also, we can assume that since he got engaged to Ashka Roy, he would have accepted his defeat,” he continued.

“Vijaykumar is not foolish to stake his career and reputation by murdering Nisha. From the information we have, it looks like he truly loved Nisha; otherwise, he could have sexually exploited her easily. When Nisha was pushed down from the balcony, Vijaykumar was drunk and was present at the party with the others. He has a strong alibi.”

Shrikant raised his eyebrow and continued, “But a smart man would do so just to build an alibi and get Nisha murdered by someone else. Vijaykumar could pretend to be drunk at the party to misguide us. But another important fact is that there was no one in the party who would kill Nisha on Vijaykumar’s directions…”

“But, sir what if one of Nisha’s servants killed her because Vijaykumar told one of them to do so?” Shinde asked Joshi.

Shinde was a young police officer who had been recruited as sub-inspector after passing the civil services examination. He lacked experience as compared to Joshi. On the other hand, Joshi was a seasoned and experienced police officer who was due to be retired in three years. He had worked hard to reach the post of a senior inspector starting from the constable level when he first joined the police.

“Shinde, you have a point but I saw during the interrogation that none of her servants can dare to kill their own ‘memsahib’. And to add to that, I don’t think Vijaykumar has the guts to murder anyone.” Joshi said immediately.

Vijaykumar based his deductions on the basis of the interrogation and the statements of the servants at Nisha’s house, her father Mohandas, her boyfriend Karan and film financer Ranjit Wadhwa. After explaining his junior on the matter of Vijaykumar, Joshi spoke further, “Film producer Ajit Paliwal wanted Nisha to sign a film produced by him opposite his son, Kunal Paliwal. Kunal Paliwal’s films had flopped terribly and Nisha had refused to sign the film. Paliwal had made Nisha the star she had become and her first hit film was produced by him, so he was enraged by her refusal. Paliwal had told in front of many people in the party that he would teach her a lesson. But Paliwal will not risk his career and life to build his son’s career. And he is not dumb to say it aloud in the party that he would teach Nisha a lesson if he intended to kill her. The witnesses say that a few minutes before they got to know about Nisha’s death, Paliwal had gone to use the washroom but my experience tells me that Paliwal cannot be the murderer.”

“Sir, when Nisha was pushed, Chandni and Ashka were sitting in the guest room. Can’t it be possible that they pushed her from the balcony?” Shinde asked.

Joshi promptly said, “Yes I was just about to come to that point. Ashka was aware of the fact that Vijaykumar was in love with Nisha. On that day, he had confessed to Chandni about it and Ashka had overheard it. It was obvious that Chandni was offended and felt embarrassed in front of everyone else. But it is too much to assume that her envy would drive her to commit such a crime…”

“And as for Chandni, she is a very smart woman. She knows that the first doubt would go on someone who was Nisha’s rival in the Hindi Film Industry. It is true that she was jealous of Nisha’s success and was insecure about her top position in the industry due to Nisha’s success. But even if for a minute I believe that she killed Nisha then the question arises that why did she kill Mohini?” Joshi asked.

“It could be possible that Mohini must have seen Chandni pushing Nisha down the balcony and that is why she killed her?” Shinde asked back.

“But why would Chandni wait so long to kill Mohini? Mohini was murdered three days after Nisha’s death. And if Mohini knew something she would have told us when we took her statement. When Mohini had come out after checking on Nisha in her bedroom she had said that Nisha is a little disturbed and she will be out in five minutes. And one more thing, Nisha was in the industry for the last two years, why would Chandni decide to kill her now and that too in the presence of so many people? There is no link between Chandni and Mohini that we could assume that they conspired to kill her together.” Joshi made a valid argument.

“Anyway let’s move ahead to another suspect, film star Nikhil Malhotra. He was furious with Nisha over the fact that she had refused to sign a film with him when he had in the past signed a film with her in spite of the fact that she was a beginner. He asked Nisha many times to star opposite him to escalate the graph of his career but Nisha had then become calculative and refused to do so. But I find it unreasonable to assume that Nikhil would go to the extent of murdering Nisha because of this reason.”

Shinde was satisfied with the reasons Joshi gave about Nikhil Malhotra. He volunteered to talk about the next suspect and said, “Sir, the next suspect is film financer Ranjit Wadhwa. He had called Don Sayyed Hussein on that day and made Nisha speak to him over the phone. The don had threatened her that if she did sign the films that Ranjit had financed, he would get her killed. But that was twenty to thirty minutes before her death and Karan had said that Nisha agreed to sign his film, so when she agreed then why would he kill her? Ranjit wanted to make money by financing a film with Nisha in it; he would not kill her because she was the way to earn a lot of money. Wadhwa has confessed about his connections with the underworld and is now in police custody. So we can rule out the possibility of him being the killer.”

Joshi nodded in agreement which boosted Shinde’s confidence and he spoke further, “Sir according to you none of these suspects could have been Nisha’s killer. Then who is the killer?

When Joshi and Shinde were involved in the conversation there was a knock on the door of Joshi’s cabin. A constable entered the room and told them something that was surprising for Shinde and Joshi both.

To be continued…

Read previous chapters here: 11, Sky Heights Chapter 1-15

Aashu Patel
Aashu Patel

Aashu Patel is a writer, who has written on a variety of genres ranging from crime to inspirational. 40 books written by him are published. He has worked as an editor of many leading newspapers. He has written many novels. Well-known film director Tigmanshu Dhulia is making a Hindi film based on his English novel 'Madam X'.

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