By Neel Anil Panicker

‘Willie, what makes you so sure that either of the two, or both, that is IAS Officer Rajesh Yadav and his father-in-law the buisness tycoon Prakasham Mujthuswamy could be the murderers?”

Detective Willie stabbed a finger at a blank A4 sized paper that lay on the table.

“Well, I didn’t say that, but what i mean is that they certainly are as of now the prime suspects. Now, firstly, let’s go through whatever information we have so far.”

The two, he and his childhood friend and currently SP Cochin City Isaac John

were at the former’s study room adjacent to the dinner table. Behind them, through the half open windows floated in a cool evening breeze that is synonymous with the weather pattern at Fort Cochin. In the distance could be heard the faint gurgling of the sea waves.

“Let me jot down the first victim. Anjali. What do we know about her?”

Isaac was quick to reply.

’28 year old, pretty, only child of the Muthuswamys and sole hei to a 10,000 crore business empire. Also, was wife to IAS Officer Rajesh Yadav. Theirs’ was an intericaste marriage. In fact she comes from a upper class Brahmin family. And, most importanly, Rajesh hails from a lower caste and his family is poor, or at least was poor before his fairy tale marriage . In fact, Rajesh happens to be the first Postgraduate as well as the first person__man or woman, who’s cleared the IAS in his entire village of Lekhaserai, which is in Samastipur district of Bihar.’

Detective Wille smiled in acknowledgement.

“Those are the facts, and good police work, Isaac. But now I will show you how differently a detective works. But first, the deductions. We know theirs’__ the marriage between rich heiress Anjali and poor man Rajesh was a mismatch, hailing as they were not just from different financial stratas but also from different castes. And most certainly they hadn’t met even once before they were married. So that discounts any ove angle to this alliance.

So the next natural question that crops up is: Why did they marry? Or, more crucially, on whose bidding did the marriage between these two occur?’

“Willie, that would, in all such cases as would be the case here too, be the parents, wouldn’t it?”

Detective Willie nodded his affirmation and quickly wrote down the names- Lekhsmi and Prakasham-, and encircling them, drew a line connecting the two to Anjali.

“Ideally, yes. And if that were to happen, the proposal would almost certainly have been initiated by Anjali’s parents and not Rajesh’s. This, because we are aware of the fact Rajesh was the only son among three younger sisters, all of whom werte married off within six months of the IAS officer’s wedding. Besides, Rajesh’s mother died ten years ago and his father is paralysed, waist downwards.”

‘That means it was a marriage of convenience dictated more by circumstances and shared benefits. I mean both the parties__the groom and his impoverished dependants on the one hand and the bride and her well establsihed business famliy stood to immensely benefit, right Will?’

Detective Will sucked hard into his King’s Regular and blowing thick concentric cicrcles of smoke into the air replied,

“This theory looks good on paper. I mean a win-win situation for all parties. The groom gets his once in a lifetime opportunity to lift his family out of poverty, gets his sisters married. Add to that the leg up that his social status receives by marrying into such immense wealth and social standing.

And as for the bride’s family, the Muthusamys gets a freshly minted bright and brilliant IAS officer as a son in law. Think of the leverage that would be in ciondycting their vast business empire, in sticthing deals, bagging multi-million dollar lucrative contracts. The heady power triumvirate of buisnessman, politician, and bureaucrat. Everybody turns happy including the bride Anjali, the only child of Lekhsmi and Prakasham Muthuswamy. Or, was she?”

Detective Willie let the question drop off his tongue very gently, as gently as one would place an hour old fresh born onto her mother’s bedside.

Cochin City Police Chief Isaac John first mumbled, trying hard to say something but found that his voice had deserted him.

Detective Will pulled out a white envelope from his left shirt pocket and placed it on the table.

“HereIsaac, read its contents. You will know what I am saying”.


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