By Neel Anil Panicker

MUTHUSWAMY’S screamed the thick rectangular plaque that was wedged into the massive steel rock stone arch that rose above the 15 inch high gates.

On sighting the siren blaring jeep with SP COCHIN CITY POLICE emblazoned in the front windshields, the armed sentry who was manning the gates quickly pressed a button in his hand held remote and almost immediately the gates opened.

The moment the police vehicles sped past the drive away, the guard was on the phone.

“Prakasham Sir, the Police are here. Some twenty uniformed men in three vehicles. Looks like there will be trouble. Please come soon”.

Stepping out of the vehicle, SP City Isaac John cocked the peak of his cap and looked up towards the palatial, Mughal era styled bungalow.

With arches on either end of the façade, the exquisitely coated exterior walls decorated with figures and figurines including that of lions and elephants and monkeys and cheetahs.

Clearly, the occupants of this palace like structure were aficionados, of art and painting, of flora and fauna too, but of what else?

Well, that’s what he was here to find out, right? thought SP Isaac to himself as he stepped into the front hall of the over 25 crore residence of arguably one of the richest families of entire South India.

“Quick, get down to business. Search as if you were searching for a needle. Every single floor, room, and corner space. I want an inventory of every single thing that you spot. We just have an hour only, remember, ”

Isaac John barked out the orders and watched as his men got going, five of them escorting highly trained police dogs.

At exactly the same time IAS officer Rajesh Yadav received a message on his Iphone.

“They are at your in-laws. Quick, do something”.

He thought for a while and then barked into the extension.

“Get me the Home Minister”.

Ten minutes later, as a silver grey Mercedes screeched to a halt outside the ornate portico of the bungalow, and out stepped its lone occupant Prakasham Muthuswamy, SP Isaac heard one of his subordinates shout of to him from one of the

inner rooms on the first floor.

Just as he made a dash of the upper floor, Prakasham came racing to him and held his hand.

“Excuse me Mr Isaac John/ This is a private residence. Who gave you the power to stomp in here without my permission. I will have you …”

‘Save your breath, Prakasham Sir, and follow me upstairs. Otherwise, I will have you arrested for obstructing the course of justice.’

SP City John didn’t wait for a reply. In no time he was on the floor and standing outside what seemed like a closed room.

“Are there no keys to this door. Who’s room is this”?

As the question didn’t elicit a reply from Praksahan who merely mumbled something on the lines of “I will have you dismissed…”

“Break it…take down the door, now”.

Even before the last of the words had escaped the Police Chief’s mouth, the ssubordinate who had earlier called out along with three others had smashed through the teak wood door.

SP John was the first to step in. His men followed alongside Prakasham. At the corner, near to the window that overlooked the extensive garden beyond, lay a large peacock styled master bed. On its one side, to the left, lay Mrs Lekhsmi Muthuswamy.

One look at her face, white as an angel, even from the ten metre distance that separated them, and the experienced Police Chief knew that she had been dead for at least half a day, if not more.  



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