Editor: Read Chapter XLVI here.


When Rajesh met the Police Commissioner to hand in his resignation, the latter pretended to be shocked beyond words.

‘You are making a big mistake young man. You did a brilliant job in coming up with an explanation for the attacks. You are destined for big things. Stay on in the force and you will not regret it.’

‘No Sir, I am not cut out to be a policeman in this system. I don’t see a future for someone like me here.’

‘The DGP likes you a lot.’

Rajesh did not respond. He had heard that one earlier and had at one point believed that, but now he wasn’t too sure. Even if the DGP liked him, it didn’t make much difference to him since the DGP was caught up in a tangled web where there were too many players fighting for big stakes.

‘Are you quitting because you are being sent back to Gadchiroli?’

‘No sir. The honest reason is that I don’t see the real brain behind the entire incident being convicted for her role.’

‘My dear young man, the law says you are guilty only if your guilt is proved beyond reasonable doubt. Do we have any evidence to show that Neha Naigal funded Tarun’s venture? Can you prove that Tarun and Umang and the other two were poisoned by Neha?’

‘Sir, but we are not even putting her on trial. My request for an arrest warrant for Neha was rejected outright. Let alone arrest her, we don’t even know where she is. We are not interested in even talking to her. We have not even carried out a serious investigation into how Pankaj Holwani’s granddaughter’s mobile phone fell into the hands of those who killed him.’

‘Don’t be silly. How can you make such accusations? Of course, Felix Fernandes is continuing his investigations with a number of officers supporting him. If at any point we feel there is sufficient evidence against Neha Naigal or anyone else in the Naigal Group, that person will be put on trial. In the meantime, you should proceed to Gadchiroli and pick up where you left off.’

‘Sir, I’ve made up my mind.’ Rajesh did not have the energy to repeat the rumours that had been doing the rounds, that the Naigals had agreed to cough up their profits from the ill-advised venture and divide it amongst the ruling party, the main opposition party, the number two opposition party, a bevy of bureaucrats, police officers, journalists and anyone else who could point fingers at them. Part Three of his report had specifically mentioned the names of three large business houses which had jointly lent one thousand crores to the Naigal Group, most probably without knowledge of Neha Naigal’s plan. Those business houses were very influential and they would definitely want to have their money back. Arresting Neha and putting her on trial would not be conducive towards recovery of their money.

The Police Commissioner had one large ace up his sleeve. ‘Remember, the final report of enquiry into that Dharavi raid is yet to be released. If you are no longer in the police force when it is released, one cannot predict how the report will describe your role in that assault.’

‘Sir, my conscience is clear. And I don’t give two hoots what comes out of that report.’ Rajesh almost lost his temper. Surely the Commissioner remembered how much Rajesh had counselled greater caution before the assault began!

‘Well, if you have made up your mind, what more can I say?’ Rajesh realised with relief that the Police Commissioner did not particularly care whether he stayed or quit.

After he handed over his Glock 19 compact and Colt M4A1 5 to the quartermaster, he walked out into the brilliant March sunshine and took a taxi to the guest house. The taxi driver was surprised that a relatively senior police officer was travelling in a taxi rather than be driven around in an official car with a red beacon on top and said as much to Rajesh.

‘I prefer these yellow and black taxis to police cars,’ Rajesh explained.



Featured Image (Cover): Nisha Joseph

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