SCHOOL bell rang and all children came out in the ground. Aakash was having his sixth cigarette today. Though he had started smoking at the age of five with one cigarette occasionally and enhanced his intake to dozen cigarettes a day at the tender age of eleven. He didn’t want his six year old brother Karan to know about his smoking habit.
He was sitting on bench when he saw Karan approaching him. He threw half finished cigarette behind the bench.
“Please give me a cigarette.”
“You are very young and should not smoke much.”
“Brother, I can feel the smell in your mouth. What is the harm in taking one more cigarette?”
Aakash didn’t say anything.
Both went out to leave for their home in Kataria, a village in U.P. They walked about 10 minutes and suddenly saw a Ford Mustang coming towards them. A fat man in the drunken state was driving it and car was swaying left and right.
Both hid behind the bushes and saw the car. The car circled and stopped. The man about 35 years of age came out and tied a nylon rope around his neck and tied its end to the exhaust tail. The rope was coming through the window so that the rope becomes stressed as the car moves.
“He is trying to commit suicide.” Aakash said. Karan nodded as he could also see the same.
The moment the guy sat in the car, Aakash ran and went behind the wheels. He lifted the rope and ran back.
The man ignited the engine but the rope was not stressed. He was annoyed. He came out and checked the exhaust tail. He thought, “I am too drunk and may have forgotten to tie the rope.” He tied it and again started the engine.
Aakash again came out from behind the bushes and took out the rope. The guy moved the car but again didn’t happen. He came out and saw no one near his car. He saw the rope was not tied to the exhaust pipe. He tied it again.
This time Karan was scared. He said, “Please do not leave me alone.”
“Do not worry. I cannot see anyone dying like this.”
The car was on but the guy was watching in his rear mirror. The moment Aakash reached near the tail pipe the man came out and grabbed him by his shirt.
“Who are you? Why are you trying to save me? I do not want to live anymore.”
“But what has happened that you do not want to live.”
The man was drunk and his eyes were coming out from sockets. He seemed very pathetic. “I am Deepak Awasthi, a lawyer and my friends call me Deepu.”
“I have a client named Dharamveer who is a tycoon and killed MLA from Durgapur city and hid his body in my car garage. If I am caught I will be sent to jail. I cannot do anything against my client. So this is the only option I have.”
“But I cannot allow you to do this. I will report to the cop.”
Deepu threw Aakash on one side and fitted the rope in the exhaust pipe. He was about to sit in the car when a loud shot was heard and the man fell on the road near the open door.
Aakash saw around but no one was there. He was terrified and ran towards Karan.
They both ran from there and reached home. Their old mother Chanda was waiting for them as they were very late today. She saw younger son very terrified. He was shivering. She touched his forehead. He was down with high fever. Aakash felt very bad that his brother had to see all this at this young age.
Karan had to be admitted to the hospital next morning. Chanda had asked Aakash what had happened but he explained a different story.
St George hospital was not very lavish but was reasonably good.
Karan was admitted in room no 420 on 4th floor.
Aakash came down in the cafeteria to take three cups of tea. He saw two men talking on a round table. One was an old man on wheel chair and another was wearing black coat on a white shirt. He seemed to be interrogating the man. Aakash was scared as the man in black coat might approach him for interrogation. He hid near the pillar and tried to hear the conversation. They were discussing about some legal case. The man handed his card to the old man. The card was placed on the table and it was not picked up by the old man. Aakash went near the table and kept the card in his pocket. The card had address and name of the lawyer. He had plan in his mind.
ARJUN the CBI inspector was watching the news on TV and wondered how it reached media. He was very interested in handling these cases and loved to come on TV and interact with the press.
THERE was another man Dinesh Kothari was also interested in this case. He was the editor of Evening Times newspaper and wanted news to be published even before anyone heard about it. He knew about the death, whereabouts of Aakash and room no 420 where his brother Karan was admitted. He wanted to inquire Aakash so that the truth comes out and the story becomes breaking news. He knew Aakash new something that he was hiding.
AAKASH saw the news on TV in the cafeteria and saw the same car and the fat man lying on the road. He was terrified now. If he doesn’t tell the truth he would be in problem and if he tells he would be in a bigger problem.
He spent the first half in the room and then thought of going out in the open. He would love going out and walking alone. It gave him a good pleasure. He went out and saw a cop walking towards him. Aakash was about to take a U turn when the cop grabbed him. They were now sitting on a bench.
He enquired about the previous day incident but Aakash simply said, “I have no idea. I went to the school and left for home with his brother as usual.”
“If nothing has happened then why your brother is in hospital?”
“He had high fever and was not improving at home and hence took him to the hospital.”
The cop saw his eyes but said nothing. He let him go and left for another inquiry.
Aakash reached the hospital and let the remaining day pass as another day. He could not do much at this time.
Dr Prakash came in the room and checked Karan. He informed that Karan was critical but would be able to talk in next 4-6 hours. He had seen some terrible thing that has madeKaran speechless at the moment.
Next day all three family members had tea and sandwiches. Aakash thought about something and was about to leave the room. Chanda asked, “Where are you going? At least tell me something. There must have been something that brought Karan to the hospital.” But Aakash said, “I am going out for a walk and will be back soon.”
He came downstairs and saw 3 men enquiring about him. He ran from there and went straight to the lawyers chambers. He took out the card and located the exact chamber. Mr Anand was available but the secretary asked him to wait. There was a long queue and would have taken a very long time. He told the secretary that the matter was very urgent and his life was at risk. But he had to wait outside.
He saw a cop approaching him. Aakash started running and after about 5 minutes of this drama saw a sign board that read Ms Anuradha (Lawyers firm). He reached Ms Anuradha’s chamber. The room was open. He reached inside and locked the door.
The secretary asked, “What happened?”
“The cop is after my life. I have some secret that I want to share.”
“Are you Anuradha?”
The secretary saw his courage and took him to the lawyer.
Anuradha was a pretty lawyer aged about 35 years. He saw her long black hairs with a bindi and mascara. She must have been a heartthrob of many people in college days.
He was suddenly jerked by the lawyer’s patting on his shoulder. She enquired what had happened.
He told her the entire story but didn’t tell what the fat man had told him.
Anuradha said, “This is very risky. What I can do for you?”
“Please become my lawyer.”
“Why should I become your lawyer? You have not paid me anything.”
“You seem to be a good lawyer. Ethically you should save me from the dons and politicians.”
He took out 100 Rupees note from his hip pocket and kept on the table.
“Ok. I am your lawyer now.”
Anuradha was a divorcee who had married a doctor but the relationship could not last very long. Later on she had opened this law firm which was only 4 years old but she kept herself updated in the legal world. She worked not only for money but also for social cause. She wanted to punish wrongdoers.
“What I should do? Everyone is after my life and I may soon appear on TV. Someone is keeping a close watch on me and my family. I have not told anything to anyone. Only you know about this.”
“Don’t worry. If anyone asks anything do not say anything but call me on this number.” She gave her visiting card to him.
AAKASH reached hospital. His little brother was still sleeping and everyone was waiting for him to speak.
Next morning the CBI inspector was in the lobby of the hospital and was enquiring about Aakash. Aakash was scared to talk to the inspector.
They were in the room. The inspector said, “Hi I am Arjun and have come to inquire about the incident that you saw. But do not worry. First of all be comfortable and take your time to tell me everything. Meanwhile please have a glass of water. The glass was placed on the table on his left side.”
Aakash thought for some time but didn’t tell anything. “Please tell me what you saw and what did Deepu tell you?”
“No I cannot tell you. I have a right of lawyer and only my lawyer will answer your questions.”
Arjun’s patience was being tested. He repeatedly asked him but could not get any information.
Finally the inspector warned him, “If you do not tell me, you can be put in jail.” Aakash was frightened and sweat was running on his face. He went out to pee and came back in about 5 minutes with Anuradha.
The lawyer and the inspector introduced themselves. The inspector was clearly not comfortable. Anuradha asked what the inquiry was all about and why her client who was minor was being questioned.
Arjun said, “Nothing was being pressurized and I asked if he knew anything.”
She said, “Do not lie.” She took out the recorder that she had asked Aakash to place on the waist under his shirt.
The inspector was quiet and could not say anything.
Aakash took lift for 4th floor. Suddenly a tall black man who was also inside the lift took out a knife and kept at Aakash’s throat. “Tell me what the dying man told you.” The boy was terrified but kept calm.
“The man didn’t say anything to me.” The black man shrieked, “If you do not know anything you better keep quite in front of the inspector or any other inquiry or I will pierce your body with this knife.”
The lift stopped on the fourth floor and the black man disappeared. Aakash reached the room and his mother asked, “What has happened? Why are you so frightened?”
Aakash thought for a moment and narrated the whole story to her mother. But he didn’t say about the MLA’s dead body lying in the car garage. Her mother narrated this incident to the doctor later on so that he could treat her little son properly and also could stop the cops from coming inside the room.
The doctor was surprised after hearing this incident but promised to cooperate.
DHARAMVEER called his uncle John and informed him that the boy is not uttering any word. “I had sent Bhola to the hospital to frighten him but all in vain”. John said, “Send Bhanu who is the best in contract killing. If he does not say anything then he will be a danger for all of us. Get him killed by Bhanu.”
AAKASH next day narrated the lift incident to Anuradha. She was now worried. She asked, “Have you told me everything or is there anything that you are hiding?”
“I have something that I cannot tell you. It is not right to hide information but it will not be good if I tell you the truth.” Anuradha thought for a moment and said, “Ok do not tell me.”
ARJUN approached the judge and requested him to summon Aakash in the court so that the case is closed and wrongdoer is punished. The judge appreciated the inspector as he was a public prosecutor and generally punished wrongdoers. Ayushman Randhawa immediately passed the order and handed over a copy to Arjun.
Arjun was now happy. The boy would be called next week and public would know the truth.
DINESH Kothari was happy to know the development and that the boy would be called in the court next day. He never disclosed the names who gave him information. He was in the court when the inspector had arrived. He went to the toilet. A security guard came in the toilet. Dinesh gave 500 Rupees note to the guard and extracted information regarding issuance of summon.
Next day Dinesh was standing in front of the judge. Ayushman shouted, “Why did you publish summon story in yesterday’s newspaper?” Dinesh said, “Sorry sir, but I cannot tell you.”
The judge said firmly, “If I can pass order to bring the boy in the court to speak truth, I can also order you to speak up right now or you can be sent to jail.”
Dinesh had no choice.
ANURADHA next day went to the judge. She seemed to be worried and said, “Your highness, you have ordered Aakash to appear in the court. This will put his and his family members in danger of being killed.”
“What is the best option that you have?”
“Under children anonymous scheme, Aakash and his family members must be moved to new location with different name and identities. They should have a job to support themselves. The goons will not know about them so early and meanwhile the boy could appear in the court with full security.”
The judge did not argue when the correct argument was put by lawyers. He immediately instructed his assistant to apply this scheme for the benefit of the family. Anuradha was happy.
She informed this development to Aakash and his mother. The mother agreed but Aakash had a different view. He told Anuradha that he didn’t have problem in relocating but he wanted to confirm the dead body in case Deepu was lying. It would be useless to relocate in such situation.
THE same night both went to Deepu’s residence where the dead body had been kept. Anuradha was scared of snakes but could not do anything. They were hiding in the bushes and were about to walk to the residence when they heard some noise.
Two men had entered the residence and one man was saying, “Dharamveer let’s see downstairs in the basement where the body was heard to be buried.”
Six feet broad shouldered Dharamveer nodded.
Anuradha asked Aakash to keep quiet and remain hidden in the bushes. She quietly went near the side window and broke the window with a brick she found on her way. Suddenly the alarm rang and the neighbours reached there. 10 minutes later the cops on duty heard the commotion and reached there.
Dharamveer and his accomplice were frightened at this unexpected happening and the confusion. Both ran from there and crossed the main road not to be seen again.
It took an hour to settle the matter. Now everything was quiet. Aakash and Anuradha ran towards the house and found the body. Anuradha had already informed the police station to reach there on time if she finds anything. She had passed on her contact number.
NEXT day finding of dead body was the breaking news on all channels.
Dharamveer was very angry and impatiently called his uncle. John didn’t pick the call. Now he was at the mercy of law. Dinesh’s career was at stake if he publishes anything. Inspector Arjun had committed blunder by pressuring Aakash to speak up else going to jail. Had he shown patience, he would have won this case and became a star in the media which he very much liked.
Aakash was not required to appear in the court as the news had opened the truth to the public. The judge praised both the boy and the lawyer.
Anuradha now had a very good clientele but she never forgot Aakash in her career. He was a small boy of eleven but shown calmness and courage to solve this politically motivated murder.
The family was now safe and moved to another location with different identity. Anuradha had requested the judge to still apply the scheme for the family’s betterment.