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Friday, 19 September 2014

Chapter 9 Res ipsa loquitur

Name of the Team  - Writers' Den
Chapter 1 : Mens Rea
Chapter 2 : A Morning Star
Chapter 3 : The Cursed One
Chapter 4 : The Vanquished
Chapter 5 : The Insurmountable
Chapter 6 : The Vulnerables
Chapter 7 : Her Last Voice
Chapter 8 : Survival of the Fittest

The police had rushed to the crime scene. The body of the little girl - Sophia lay in a pool of blood. The police had a hard time in guarding the crime scene and keeping the onlookers away. The police manual required that a panchnama was drawn up immediately. The purpose of preparing the panchnama is to describe the crime scene in detail and collect material pieces of evidence, if any, found from the spot of the crime. The rules require that the panchnama drawn by the police must be signed by two respectable members of the society. Independent members as panchas served as a check against false implication of an innocent person by the police. However, experience showed that no respectable members of the society were interested in signing the panchama. Why? They didn't want to be troubled by being summoned as a witness in the Courts. Their only achievement was criticizing the state of affairs of the country while sipping their morning cup of tea while skimming through the newspapers. The police had to obey the rule of law. So the general practice is that the police have their own punters or habitual panchas. No matter whether there is a theft of your footwear or contraband goods are seized, the same panchas will sign the panchnama.

So the police had prepared the panchnama. The inside truth was that police hardly drew panchnama at the spot. They just wrote it sitting in their chowkis and made the panchas sign it. However, this being rape and murder of a minor child, was a high profile case. So the police had no option but to make it to the spot. A heavy built officer in his late forties with tobacco stained teeth and with a unique name Duryodhan Desle was heading the investigations. Duryodhan sat at a nearby shanty which doubled up as a tea stall as his subordinates were completing the formalities. Duryodhan was enjoying his smoke and sipping tea in between. 

He was disturbed by a constable. “What brings you here?” reprimanded Duryodhan. “Sir there is a man with a unique request.” said the subordinate standing upright. “ You son of a whore, whether your mouth is stuffed with …. that you can not tell me who he is?” roared Duryodhan. “Sir I have not asked him his name. I just came to inform you at the earliest. He wants to sign the panchnama as a panch.” Duryodan was intrigued. In his entire career spread over almost three decades, he had never come across a person who had volunteered to be a panch. In fact people had to be coaxed and at times even threatened to sign it. He lifted his heavy frame and walked to the spot. “What is your name?” he asked the young lad. “Cyrus” said the young man while adjusting his specs.

It was not that Cyrus had shared everything with JJ. They were just using each other, trying to extract the information from the other. Cyrus had deliberately been to the scene of crime. He knew how shabbily the investigations were being conducted. He had heard his father, when he was high, saying that he attributed all his success to the poorly conducted investigations. Cyrus knew that the investigating agencies of our country were poorly manned, ill-equipped and lacked the necessary training. There was no other way that he could have got an opportunity to see the things first hand. Luckily Duryodhan had agreed to make him a panch.

Cyrus displayed on his study table his prized possessions - three precious pieces of evidence which he had collected from the spot. He had seen there was thorn in the child's leg. He had managed to secretly pick it up while the constables were busy doing their mundane duties. He had also found a blank piece of paper in the channel near the rail tracks where the body of Sophia was found. The paper was totally blank with nothing written over it. But his inner instinct had made him pick it up. Thirdly Cyrus had seen that there was a toffee placed into Sophia's mouth. It appeared that it was put into her mouth after killing her. It was impossible for him to take it out. But he had picked up the wrapper of the toffee from a little distance.

Preening at these pieces of evidence, Cyrus wondered if these pieces of jigsaw would make the picture complete or were these the tricks of a hardened criminal to waylay the investigating machinery.

Res ipsa loquitur.” He said aloud. The Latin maxim meant let the thing speak for itself.

The restlessness had kept him awake till midnight. He felt that the things which he had cleverly collected from the spot of incident, were shouting out to him. They had something to say. But he was unable to comprehend. His reasoned brain told him that all this was bullshit and such things happen only in novels. The conflict between his mind and brain created the stress. Finally sometime in the midnight,  his head became heavy and his eyes closed involuntarily and he slipped into sleep.

His sleep was broken by loud thumps on the door. The thud on the door showed no signs of stopping. That made Cyrus get up from his bed. Rubbing his eyes he walked to the door and opened the door. It was still dark outside. “You are arrested Mr. Cyrus,” said Duryodhan as he handcuffed him. 

You can read the next part of the story here

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  1. I am reading this for the third time and think, this Duryodhan character will take this story forward. Nice move there, Mahesh! :)

  2. Thanks a lot Rohini. You always have those kind words for me.

  3. I liked the details of the crime scene and the investigation process that you have shared, Mahesh! Aah... this cliffhanger! Cant wait to know why Cyrus was arrested!! Great going, Mahesh :)

    1. Shilpa you are the person who exudes positive energy all the time. Thanks a lot!

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