In the second and final part of the fictionalised true story of a rape victim, Aftermath, we find that the plot thickens. Mandira’s diary, found by her daughter, Ananya, convinces her that she had not committed suicide but had been murdered. Her cell phone that could provide the clenching details of the murder clue was mysteriously missing. Ananya tells inspector Karim what she felt. Will the cop be able to nab the culprit? Find out more, in this fortnight’s story, by Nandita, exclusively in Different Truths.
He was so happy when Ananya was born, too excited to hold her in his arms. The name ‘Ananya’ was his choice. He was so loving and caring. Things started changing after her first birthday. His evasive attitude and his long working hours resulted in frequent friction between us. Days rolled off in his disconcerting absence, often physically and always mentally. Once his secretary had called and informed, that the gossips of his relationship with colleague Bishakha were ruining his image in the office. I did not pay much heed, as I was too fatigued and smothered by responsibilities of bringing up Ananya alone. Then, once when he went on an official trip for four days and his secretary called to enquire about his health, I was shocked to know he had applied for a leave on health issues. Wasn’t his secretary supposed to know about his trip? There was something amiss! That was when everything came to light, the truth since long I was deliberately ignoring …the truth that finally pierced me through and through. I couldn’t accept his infidelity. Finally, confronted and he accepted his extramarital relationship. I decided to part ways and end of our relationship of six years. “Where did I falter? Did I? No! Have to forget everything, yes! Everything. I shouldn’t let my past ruin my present, my today awaits a better tomorrow. I don’t deserve all this.”
Ananya was in tears. She never knew her mom had gone through such a difficult phase, buried under her smile and her confidence was pain and loneliness. She had never faltered as a mother.
Next page: 11.30 pm
Call from an unknown number. I thought it was Anindya again, I had not saved his number. Picked up to give him a piece of my mind this time. No, it wasn’t him. There was someone else on the other side, holding on without a word. I repeatedly asked who it was, got no reply, and after few seconds the person hung up without a word. Why call when… the sentence was incomplete. Ananya’s mind was racing as fast as her heart beat, number… have to check the number on Truecaller. She searched the entire room but Mandira’s mobile was untraceable. Where could it be? She checked the toilet, balcony, but found it nowhere. Ananya ran downstairs to look for it, but stopped midway; the mobile was missing, her mother hadn’t left her room after the call.
Ananya decided to call inspector Karim.
“Hello! This is Ananya, I want to confess something.”
IK: “Ok please do.”
Ananya: “I had found my mother’s diary in her room. Sorry didn’t tell you. Have read it, my mother did not commit suicide, she was murdered”.
IK: “What! Okay, wait I’m coming. I need to know everything in detail.”
Ananya, who was waiting anxiously heard the police jeep screech to a halt. She greeted inspector Karim and narrated all that she had read. Inspector Karim searched the room thoroughly once again, but the phone was nowhere to be found. He carefully inspected the crime scene trying to recreate the scene in his mind. Took the diary before leaving. Requested Ananya not to share a word with anybody, not even the maid.
At the police station read the diary himself to crosscheck that Ananya had not missed anything. He then jotted down a few lines on a piece of paper. Spent the next few hours recapitulating all the evidence. He concluded that the dairy found under the bed and the incomplete sentence are questionable but could be circumstantial. She must have felt suddenly sick, stopped writing and while keeping the diary on the bedside table must have dropped it. Hitting the corner of the table it could have bounced and gone beneath the bed. The missing phone and the unknown mysterious call was hinting at murder. Someone could have murdered Mandira and tried projecting it as suicide. Definitely there was an inside assistance, otherwise, it would not be possible. He interrogated Anandiya and Bishakha, although there was a remote possibility of their involvement as they had no access to the house. Their involvement after the interrogation was ruled out. There was still no lead. Inspector Karim, who had resolved to crack the case in the next 48 hours struggled to garner sufficient evidence. He decided to interrogate the maid, she was the only outsider present on the day of the incident. He was just about to move out of his office when the autopsy report was delivered. The report said she died of poisoning, but the bottle of poison found empty did not contain the same poison. The case was now more confusing!
At Mandira’s residence:
IK: “Since how long are you working here?”
Parvati: “Two years.”
IK: “Since you were the only one present besides Ananya at the time of the incident, it has to be you who brought the bottle of poison. Please confess your crime, the charges against you would be less. It’s quite possible you had grudges against Mandira?”
Parvati: “In my wildest dream I couldn’t think of harming madam. Pray! Don’t accuse me of orphaning a child I love as my own daughter.”
Ananya too assured that she couldn’t harm her mother and had not gone out the previous day. So inspector Karim was back to square one with a case to solve fast and without any lead.
IK: “Had anyone, other than the police and media come to visit your Mom?”
Ananya: “No, no one.”
IK: “So no outsider had gone upstairs, right?”
Parvati: “Sir ji, one lady amongst the media people had gone to the washroom upstairs.”
Parvati: “Yes, there is one, but the cameras were placed such, that the access to the washroom was difficult and so she had to go upstairs.”
IK: “Did Mom call the media?”
Ananya: “The first channel was called by her, but the second one called up Mom. She told she wasn’t feeling well, so come the next day. On the lady’s insistence that it’ll be a short session, she reluctantly agreed.”
IK: “Was that lady in question that took charge of the entire session?”
Ananya and Parvati nodded their head in agreement. Inspector Karim took the details of the placement of the cameras, Mandira’s sitting position, the rest of media crews’ position, time duration, etc. He left, deciding to meet the surgeon, who had performed the autopsy on his way back.
IK: “Hello Doc, sorry to disturb, need just five minutes.”
Doc: “Oh! Inspector Karim, no problem anytime. How can I help?”
IK: “The autopsy report confused me. Mandira died of poisoning but not the poison in the bottle found in her room, how is this possible?”
Doc: “Yes, inspector the two poisons are very different. The poison in her stomach was very lethal, it was present in her stomach but there were no traces of it in her mouth or oesophagal region, there are no marks on her body to suggest it was injected either.”
IK: “But how is this possible? How did the poison get into her stomach?”
Doc: “That’s your job inspector Karim, and I’m sure although not your field, still you’ll do more research work on poison than a toxicologist to solve the case now.”
He winked and laughed.
IK: “OK! Bye, good day.”
After hours of hard work, studying and putting pieces of information available on the Internet and what he had collected together, he was happy finally the murder puzzle was solved. Made few phone calls ascertaining his theory. He had continuously worked for more than four hours skipping lunch and tea. He wasn’t feeling hungry but needed something to kill next few minutes of wait that was getting on his nerves. He lit a cigarette and straightened his aching back. Thoughts and after-thoughts made him more restless.
After waiting for 20 nerve racking minutes he was about to light another cigarette when the phone rang. His face brightened as someone on the other side was substantiating his assumptions. So finally he had all the evidence required to handcuff the culprit. Completing all legal and official formalities he arrested Shaina, the rape accused Raghav’s girlfriend.
Shaina suspected Mandira of enticing Raghav. The fact was Raghav was infatuated and always tried impressing her and getting close. Mandira had no clue that she was the reason for a lot of discord and bitterness between them.
Shaina was a research student of pharmacology. The two main areas of her study and research were pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. The former studies the effects of the drug on biological systems, and the latter, the effects of biological systems on the drug. In broad terms, pharmacodynamics deals with the study of chemicals with biological receptors, and pharmacokinetics with discusses the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (DME) of chemicals from the biological systems. Thus, she was quite knowledgeable about toxins and their administrations. When she heard that Mandira was alive and Raghav behind the bars, she lost her mind in rage and decided to avenge. She gathered information from her sister Saira, who worked as a reporter and coordinator for a local channel about Mandira’s present whereabouts. The entire night she researched and was ready with a plan.
Next day, she went to the nursing home where Mandira was admitted disguised as a nurse, administered her the poison in a capsule coated with a chemical that would start dissolving only after 28-30 hours. She had roughly calculated the time a normal capsule dissolves. She was sure once inside the system no one would doubt her. She did everything in exuberance considering herself a pro with her knowledge of toxins and body biological clock but later realised her loophole. There must be CCTV all over the nursing home.
Mandira’s death by poisoning and the CCTV may lead the police to her, she immediately thought of a plan for damage control. She wanted the consumption of the poison to be projected as an act of suicide, very common for a rape victim. For this, she needed her sister Saira’s help. She was taken into confidence and asked to plant the bottle of poison beside Mandira’s pillow. Things had gone perfectly well according to the plan.
Saira, who was very nervous getting involved in such a heinous crime, called up Mandira to ascertain her sister’s claim that Mandira’s would die in few hours and no one would doubt them. When Mandira picked up the call, she was shocked! Dumbfounded. She called her sister and cursed her for getting her involved. Shaina, who was confident that the poison would work and there was no chance of survival was peeved at her sister’s stupidity and impatience. She had to think something fast to save herself from the noose.
This time she waited for her chance in the crowd patiently. When the ambulance came to take the body, she bribed the helper to get her the phone. Everything would have gone according to the plan had Shaina known about the diary and inspector Karim was not in the charge of this case. No, that was not to be! At least, after death, Mandira was destined to get justice and her bruised soul would rest in peace. All the accused were charged according to their involvement and felony.
Photos from the internet.
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