11, Sky Heights: Chapter 22

“Mr. Hassan is an officer of our department. Since the moment he joined as a police officer, he was sent to the Hindi Film Industry undercover to expose the connections between the underworld and Bollywood”, the commissioner told Chandni.

Chandni still could not digest the fact that actor Omar Hassan was an undercover officer of the police. Nobody even had the slightest idea that he was a police officer.

“What you just told me, we already knew. But we didn’t have the proof to arrest the murderer. But now since you have come to us, we can arrest the murderer anytime”, the commissioner continued speaking.

Omar Hassan was grinning when the commissioner was telling the truth to Chandni.

“After reading Nisha’s diary, I had a doubt on the person. But when Mohini told me about the murderer, I got to know that my guess was right.” Omar Hassan told Chandni.

Chandni’s throat was dry. She drank water from the glass lying on the table and took a deep breath. Omar Hassan continued speaking, “Your lover is not a normal man. He is connected with the don in Dubai. Many people in the industry know about this fact but they are silent because they fear the don. If you wouldn’t have come to the police today, he would have taken your life too. But now you are safe.”

“Now your safety is our responsibility. But you will have to help us. We can arrest you for hiding the truth in spite of having the knowledge of the crime but because you have come forward, we will not arrest you,” the commissioner said. Chandni had to help the police now. There was no other option. But she said yes instantly because she was not ready to bear her lover’s harassment forever.

On Chandni’s agreement, the commissioner and Omar Hassan explained their plan to her and told her clearly what she had to do. Chandni listened to them quietly. When she left the commissioner’s bungalow in her car, one car was following her. And behind that car, was another car which had two police officers in plain clothes. The commissioner had ordered them to follow Chandni wherever she went to ensure her safety. They informed someone on the phone that someone else too was following Chandni. It was then told to them that Chandni’s life was in danger, in case someone attacked her then they have the liberty to shoot the attacker.

But nothing like that happened. Chandni reached home safely. She noticed that all of a sudden three to four hawkers were sitting on the footpath outside her house. Previously, she had taken the help of the municipal commissioner to get rid of the hawkers on the footpath outside her house but today, for the first time she felt safe on seeing them. That was because the commissioner had sent police officers under the disguise of hawkers for her protection.

***

Chandni was reading the ‘Daily Times’. She was not interested in reading newspapers but after Nisha’s death, she had started reading the ‘Daily Times’ regularly. She was reading Rashmi Mathur’s story on the inability of the Mumbai Police to crack Nisha Narang’s and Mohini Sen’s murder cases.

The article spoke about how it had been over a fortnight but the police were unable to find the killer. The tone of the article was to criticize the inefficiency of the police and to urge them to work harder.

Chandni knew that this article was planted by Omar Hassan. For a minute the thought that Rashmi Mathur was also an undercover officer crossed her mind. But she immediately laughed at herself and dismissed the thought. After meeting Omar Hassan at the commissioner’s bungalow and seeing the police officers under the disguise of hawkers outside her house, she felt as if everyone was undercover!

***

Joshi was fuming on reading Rashmi Mathur’s article and the articles of other journalists in other newspapers criticizing the police.

“They think we are gods that we will solve this case in a day? These journalists have no work but to keep pointing fingers at others”, he told Shinde. Shinde kept mum. He knew that talking to Joshi when he was angry was like walking on fire.

“What do they think of themselves? When they need a favour they hum around us like bees and now they are writing such nonsense…” Joshi’s shouting stopped as his cellphone rang. Shinde thought that once again the phone was going to bear the brunt of his anger. When Joshi was done talking over the phone, he told Shinde, “The commissioner himself has planted police officers in the disguise of hawkers outside actress Chandni’s house!” There were expressions of anger and irritation on his face.

“This commissioner should have been a god-damn constable!” Joshi screamed at the top of his voice.

***

Chandni’s lover entered her bedroom. Chandni had called him home after he had asked to her to meet him at a bar citing an excuse of feeling sick. She turned the television off and with another remote opened the curtains of her bedroom. She was afraid and nervous. She knew that her safety was guaranteed by Omar Hassan but she was worried that if something went wrong, then she would lose her life.

“Come sit, why are you standing?” She told him.

Her lover’s face was strained. “Why did you go to meet the police commissioner?” He asked rudely.

Chandni was not prepared for this question. She had gone to meet the commissioner when her lover was going to be out of town. The question was out of the script that was decided by the police and her.

“I…I….was called for interrogation by the commissioner”, Chandni said.

“The commissioner called you for interrogation at his bungalow? You think I am a fool?” The lover was infuriated.

“I swear on you. I had been called for interrogation.”

But her lover was in no mood to listen. He pulled her out of the bed and twisted her right arm vigorously. Chandni screamed in pain. Once again she could see death in her front of her eyes – she felt that he would shoot her there and then.

“You bitch! Don’t play games with me. Tell me now what did you talk to the commissioner?” He pulled her hair and she screamed. Tears streamed down her face. She felt that this was it, there was no way to get out of this situation.

“Open your mouth! Speak! Or else you know what I will do!” Her lover threatened her. When Chandni kept quiet in spite of his threats, he pushed her on the floor and took out the pistol from his pocket.

“Chandni, I am counting till ten. If you don’t tell me the truth, I will kill you just like I killed Mohini and Nisha!” Her lover gave her an ultimatum.

The countdown had begun; he had counted down till three. Chandni’s face turned white. She wanted to scream but she couldn’t.  Just then, a bullet was fired at his hand and the pistol fell down on the floor.  He ran towards the door of the bedroom. Before he could escape two police officers thrust inside the bedroom. When he looked in the other corner of the room, he saw Omar Hassan pointing the gun at him. He had fired the shot at his hand. Chandni’s lover couldn’t understand what was happening.

Omar Hassan walked towards Chandni’s lover and said, “Karan Khanna, you are under arrest!”

To be continued…

Read previous chapters here: 11, Sky Heights Chapter 1-21

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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