X IS FOR EXTENUATING CIRCUSMTANCES
OFFICE OF THE HOME MINISTER,
In his entire police career of over three decades, SP CITY Isaac John had never once been inside the State Secretariat chambers, leave alone met his political boss, the powerful State Home Minister Panjakam Radhakrishnan, who was serving a record seventh term_ an indicator of the tremendous power and clout that he carried.
The grapevine had it that Panja Sir, as he was more popularly known as, was the de facto Chief Minister. Indeed, he did took over that mantle in an official capacity every time the Chief Minister went abroad, which incidentally in this year, was a record five times.
As Isaac paced the third floor corridor outside the Home Minister’s chamber awaiting summons, he found himself assailed by several doubts. What he was doing was now was something that was clearly outside of Civil Service Rules. By bypassing all official channels, he had chosen to take a huge risk, risking not just his career but also his post-retirement prospects, and putting himself to all manner of danger, both physical and otherwise.
One wrong move and things would backfire. Indeed by picking up the hot line and requesting for an immediate appointment with the second most powerful person in the State to reveal a ‘Highly Confidential’ matter he had stuck his neck out and was playing with fire.
The door to the Minister’s chamber office and a young man clad in a safari suit looked towards him.
“Minister Sir is waiting. Please come in.”
So this was the moment of reckoning, thought Isaac. Inhaling deeply into his lungs, he nodded his head and stepped inside.
“Come in, Mr John. Have a seat,”. The voice, matured and elderly sounding, a rich baritone, seemed to emanate from the somewhwre around the left corner of the massive heavily curtained room.
He moved towards the direction of the voice and foud himslef standing across a huge rectangular solid teakwood table. Atop it were at least four to five jet black landline phones. ON eanother red coloured phone stood inches away from his chair.
‘Mr John, whatever it is be quick, I have a post lunch Cabinet meeting to attend in an hour
The police officer tipped his cap and saluted his political master.
Sitying in teh chair oppsite, Isaac raised hsi eyes and looked into what were the steeliest greyest eyes that hed ebver seen in any man.
That coupled with a taut upper jaw and a no nonense forward stance posture rammed home the impression of a highly conscientious man who, not only was aware of his power but also one believed in teh dictum, “ Time is money’ and hence not to ber wasted even a wee bit.
Isaac John decide to take his chances and put the thick blue that he had brought along with him.
“What is it and why are you showing it to me?”
SP City cleared his throat and replied, “Sir, this is pertaining to the two murders that have rocked Cochin City in teh past two weeks”.
The Home Minister placed his Iphone aside and leaning forward asked,” Are you referring to the two deaths that are connected to the Muthuswamy family?”
Even as the Minister was speaking, Isaac noticed that pupils of the former’s etes had dilated and the thickly set eyebrows had firther arched backwards.
‘What could that mean? Was the Minsiter privy to? Does he know the entire nitty gritty of the case and if that were so, who could be feeding him that information? The DIG or the DGP? Or, was it the DGP himself? Or, worse, was there someone else out there, a person unkniown to him, who had gained the trust of the Minister and who was now filling him up with all sorts of info.
His statement, however, put all such speculation to trest, and affirmed to Isaac that all that he had heard about the Home Minister was ineed true.
“SP John, let me tell you that there is a lot of pressure on me and the Chief Mnister to solve this case as soon as possible but in a “certain manner. You have reputaion as an honest police officer and one places servive before self. If that were true,. I would ask you to fearlessly tell me what’s in this file and spare me the trouble of going through it. That way it would be easier for me to help you and also take faster action, if the need arises”.
SP John nodde his head and spoke, without wasting even one nansecond.
‘Sir, I have very strong reasons to believe that IAS Officer and current Deputy Collector Rajesh Yadav was behind the murder of his wife. He also was behind the murder of his mother in law.
Assisting him in committing both these murders were his father-in-law Prakasham Muthusawmy as well as an entire coterie of coconspirators including the State Director General of Police A J Alphonso and State Heavy Indistries Minister Chandy’.
Isaac paused to catch his breath but ostensibly he wanted to see the reaction that his utterings had elicited.
Home Minister Panjakam had closed his eyes’ watching him seated like that, immobile and unmoving, his swarthy black face in deep contemplation Isaac was reminded of a short video clip that his wife had shown him the previous night.
“See this, wonder how they shoot such scary videos”, she had said before thrusting the smartphone screen in front of his eyes.
Isaac watched with horror as a hige Black Cobra, the largest he had ever seen in his eyes stare down a man who had slipped into an open dicth in the jungle. As his shril heartwrenching cries resonated all over teh tall tree lined thickly forested jungle, the snake slolwy inched her victim, opening its fangs, a bluish pink tinge that contrasted against the stark black of the venemous smake.
In a moment it was all over, the man had been swallowed alive as if he were just a speck of dust; inconsequential and of no earthly value.
Colss beads of sweat trickled down his spine as he watched, waited and watched, for the Minister’s response__ would it be to his liking or would he too meet the fate of the hapless man in the video.
After what seemed like an interminably long time, the Home Minister opened his eyes and hunched forward, laying down his hands on tthe table as he did so.
“Ok, SP Isaac John, I, in my capacity as Home Minister of the State of Kerala hereby issue orders leading to the arrest of the said suspects. I believe you act quickly and get to the bottom of this sordid case. Please proceed and meet my Secretary on the oppsite room.
He will hand over the formal arrest orders in ten minutes”.
Isaac John let out a huge sigh of relief. It was as if a huge weigth jad been lifted off his shoulders.
Fully energised and his heart filled with a new positivity and vitalism, he got up from the chair and smartly saluted his master.
“Thanks You Sir, I assure you that they accused will be behind bars before sun down”.
A smile, like a ranbow after a sudden shower of rains, cropped up on the Home Minister’s visage who too had got up and was making his way towards the door.
“Got to rush a floor above. Can’t keeping the entire Cabinet waiting, can I?”
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