It was a hot and humid July afternoon and the clock had just struck two. I was sitting on my chair cursing the monsoon as my flight to Bangalore got cancelled. I was really unhappy as I would be missing my daughter’s convocation. As I sat there, I noticed the silence present in the police station. It has been like that for a while. Six months back when the leading Bollywood actor, Rajat Mehra was found dead in his car on Carter Road, just a few hundred meters away from his home, there was a complete tensed environment in the entertainment industry. Postmortem report suggested he had been poisoned by some kind of slow killer that was injected to him. We tried to get all the possible leads and evidences to progress with the case but all we got was nothing. There was pressure from senior officers,media, the victim’s family and fans and the rest of the Bollywood fraternity but with whatever we had, we only reached dead ends.
With the demand for a C.B.I. investigation getting stronger with every passing day, some of our officers even considered resigning. There were different theories for the murder but none were too convincing to give us a clear direction. And with changing officers and no strong suspects, the case was ultimately handed over to the C.B.I.
Six months have passed but people still talk about it. They talk of how the actor was a drug addict and how some other actor might have got him killed. But none of them were true. Should any of them matter to me right now? No. I thought it would be good if I took a train, I would still reach in time.
Just as I decided to leave, I saw this man walking through the doors of the police station. A man apparently in his late twenties, average height with a demeaning look on his visage.
Oh! I recognised him. He was one of the crew member of the deceased actor.
“I want to talk”, said he in a heavy unshaken voice.
“Talk what?”, I asked.
“About Rajat Mehra’s murder.”
Hearing that name again I cursed my luck. I wished never to hear that name ever again in my life. But I had to do my cop duty and asked him what he wanted to say. What he said next blew my mind away.
“I killed him”, said the man, still not unfazed by what he just spoke. And his voice is still etched in my brain speaking those three words, I KILLED HIM.
I had to take him to the interrogation room and asked who he was.
“My name is Darshan and I am here to share the truth”, the man told.
“Okay, Darshan, listen very carefully, if what you are going to say is not true, you have me to deal with”, I warned him.
“I know absolutely what I want to say”, said the man still showing no emotion.
“Go ahead then, why did you kill him?”
“When I was a kid growing up, there was a dog that lived in a store opposite my house. Whenever I got back from school the dog would bark his head off at me and that used to annoy me. I didn’t like the dog and the dog didn’t like me. So, I killed it and took its carcass and dragged it out in the woods and left it to rot. Everyday I would go back to see what the worms and maggots and other scavengers had done to it. And that made me feel good about myself. Rajat’s fans remind me of the worms and maggots feeding off of him. He deserved a death and I gave it to him”, said the man.
I was perplexed with what he said at that moment. He was confessing one crime and talking about another heinous act he committed in his childhood. What was the man trying to convey? And why then and not earlier?
“Why are you telling this now? Why not stay in the shadows? Why try to get arrrested?”, I shot my questions at him.
“Why!! Why do you want to know? I’ve told you what I have to say. Don’t you want to catch the murderer? Don’t you to see justice done?”
“No. I’m not done with you. And yes, I want justice to be done. But I also want to know the truth and I’m the only one who gets to ask questions here. And you are the one who’s answering. So, tell me why.”
“Why! Okay, I’ll tell you why I am here now and why I’m not afraid and why I don’t regret what I’ve done.”, he said suddenly bursting with anger.