Heroes

(This story is a fictional dramatization based on some real events and was drawn from a variety of sources, including published materials and interviews. For dramatic and narrative purposes, the story contains fictionalized scenes, characters and dialogue. The views and opinions expressed in the story do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions held by individuals)

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Chapter 1:

Arup Sen is quite happy and proud, his sting operation against the additional district magistrate is published in the local daily today. He was working on this story for around 3 months now. Arup Sen is an investigative journalist who is working for a famous local newspaper in the city.

A engineer by profession, Arup never thought he would choose journalism as his career, but everything changed when he started his own venture, a small weekly magazine name ‘Expose’ which included the stories about the corruption and misdoings of local authorities. Today he is quite renowned in his field, one of the young and budding journalist. He has already earned many enemies among the bureaucrats and political circle.

As his doorbell rang he answered it. It was his maid Radha, but she was looking distraught, her face was swelled and eyes were red, looked like she was crying all these while.

“Radha, what happened? Your husband has beaten you up again? I have told you to lodge a police complain if he has done it again.” Arup spoke angrily.

“He is in hospital, he tried to commit suicide by consuming poison.” Radha burst into tears.

Arup felt the jolt, he knew Radha’s husband Jeevanlal, an auto driver by profession and a notorious drunkard, he is a habitual wife beater, but he did not seem to be a suicidal type.

“What happened? Tell me everything.” Arup asked Radha.

She was sobbing, but whatever the said in a nutshell was, few months ago Jeevan was approached by a company and they offered him a position, it was a business proposal, he had to invest an amount of money and be the salesman of their product, as well he had to rope in as many people into the same business, more people join the business, more incentive will be paid to Jeevan.

Jeevan happily agreed as he can always use some extra cash, he borrowed around 50,000 from a local money lender and invested, a few months it went well, but slowly he felt the heat, the product was not getting sold and people were uninterested to join the company. The money lender was creating all types of pressure on him as he took the loan on a high interest. It proved too much for him.

Arup listened to her carefully, “You don’t have to work today, go to hospital and be with Jeevan, here, keep some cash.” He gave Radha some money and sent her back.

Arup heard about such business Jeevan was doing, it’s called MLM or Multi-level marketing, he is vaguely aware of this. He decided to hurry as he is late for his office.

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Arup knocked at the cabin door of Mr. Dutta, his chief editor, he received a warm welcome.

“Did you see your story today in our newspaper? You made quite an impact my boy. Now the ADM has no other way but to resign.” Mr. Dutta spoke in an enthusiastic tone.

“Amm yeah, I was lucky to get that piece of information that he is taking such a large sum of bribe. But I’m here for something else, I remember a while ago someone covered a story on MLM business scheme, do you remember who did that?” Arup asked curiously.

“That might be Nilesh.” Mr. Dutta spoke thoughtfully.

“Ok.” Arup hurried out of his chief editor’s cabin door. And went straight to Nilesh’s desk.

“Hey Nilesh, I’ve something to ask you.” Arup spoke in a concerned voice.

“Ahh Arup, what a big shot like you might want from me? His voice was sarcastic and Arup did not miss the hint of professional jealousy.

“I remember you did a story couple of months back, it’s about Multi-level marketing scam, I would like to know about it.” Arup ignored the gesture

“What about it?” Nilesh is curious now, he is a senior to Arup but he neither has his talent or eye for a story, so he looked interested.

“Tell me everything, actually let’s go into the presentation room.” Arup urged.

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“Well, MLM is a network based business model, a pyramid shaped multi-level business, where one can profit by two ways, either by selling the product which they buy or get from the company, or by pulling in as many people into it and get the commissions for it or both.

This business model is controversial and in lot of countries it’s banned, it’s also true that in few countries they are not, even in first world countries. The main issue here is though that you are hired by the company you are not under their payroll so you cannot claim back anything if you’re facing losses and your income is purely about how many products you sell. And there’s an easy way out, if you recruit as many people under you, you will actually get paid a portion if they sell and make profit. So basically you can hire 5 people and make them sell the products and earn by almost doing nothing.” Nilesh paused.

“Is it that simple?” Arup blurted out

“Easier said than done.” Nilesh smiled. “It all depends how well the people under you are selling or marketing the products, as almost all roped in to this are novice. Chances are always less, especially when you actually have to invest your own money or buy the products from the company.” Nilesh took a sip from the glass of water kept in front of him.

“If it’s that controversial why it is not banned everywhere?” Arup pulled down his eyebrows.

Nilesh shook his head, “Some of these industries are multibillion dollar industries, they have big banners, powerful people as allies and cult status. There’s a guy called Bill Ackman an activist business man is at war with one of biggest MLM Company Herbalife, for years he is fighting his law suit and nothing has changed.”

Arup got up from the chair and walked towards the door. Nilesh looked at him surprisingly, “Then?” he asked.

“Well, I got my next story.” Arup shrugged.

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Next couple of weeks Arup got busy tracking down the whole business and their key people around the city and other places. He got to know a lot of people are involved even including an MLA from the ruling state party.

Arup was busy working on his story in his place, it was 7pm when heard his doorbell, he opened the door and found his younger sister Misha and her boyfriend Avik are standing.

“What happened to this place? It looks like you fought a war here.” Misha screamed when she saw her brother’s entire apartment is a total mess.

“Well, my maid Radha, she is not coming for weeks, her husband is unwell.” Arup answered in an apologetic and embarrassed tone.

“Well brother, bachelors shouldn’t be apologetic to live in a dirty apartment.” Avik was laughing.

In next few hours Misha cleaned up his place and cooked dinner for them. Avik and Arup were chatting. As they all sat for dinner, Arup told about the gig he is working now.

“Wow! I envy you investigative journalist, you get to have so much fun on the field.” Avik exclaimed. Avik is a non-fiction writer who already published his two books.

“I’m proud of you big brother, but do you actually have make enemies with these political goons?” Misha was concerned.

As Misha and Avik were about to leave, Misha looked at her brother, “You need to find a nice girl, it’s been a while now. Forget about Anu.” Arup almost started laughing as his cute younger sister tried play his mother.

“I often wonder what you saw in Avik. But did I complain?” Arup sarcastically taunted his sister.

“I am serious, that girl never deserved you anyway, I know how hard you took the break up, you better find a girl or I will hook you up with whomsoever I find.” Misha hugged his brother and bid good night.

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As the story published in Arup’s daily, it created a havoc. The local opposition party demanded the resignation of the MLA and he denied all the allegations and charges.

Police arrested a few people for fraud but they couldn’t trace down the head of the business, as if he never existed, even the top employees never have seen him, seemed like he ran the show by emails and phone calls.

After few days the accused MLA tripped down from stair case and admitted in hospital with a severe head wound and stayed in coma.

Saturday evening Misha called Arup, “what you doing tomorrow, would you join us for lunch?”

“Sorry Misha, I’ve an important work to do, found a guy who actually met the head of this business, he is scared and won’t go to police, I am meeting him tomorrow.” Arup replied.

“I though everyone is caught and the business was shut down.” Misha asked interestedly.

“Nope, the real boss still at large and out of the radar. Wait someone at the door, I will call you later.” Misha heard the clicked sound.

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Sunday early morning Misha’s mobile phone was ringing madly, with sleepy eyes she attended the unknown number displaying on her mobile screen.

“Misha Sen?” A heavy voice spoke from the other end.

“Yes, it’s she.” Misha replied.

“We are calling from local police station, I’m afraid we have a bad news. Your brother Arup Sen has committed suicide last night.”

Misha suddenly felt sick, she couldn’t even react, he saw Avik coming out of bathroom, she looked at him blankly. Avik looked at Misha, she was trembling and pale as if someone drained her blood out of her veins.

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As Misha and Avik reached to Arup’s residence they were greeted by Inspector Shiladitya Sinha. Misha was crying uncontrollably.

“What happened here?” Avik somehow asked the question.

Inspector Sinha shook his head and handed over a note. It reads, “Though I have got almost everything in my life I wanted, one thing I never achieved. I couldn’t win the love of the woman of my dreams, Anu. My life is meaningless now, I guess it’s time to say goodbye.”

“A clear case of suicide. Unfortunately.” Inspector was shaking his head.

Misha was sobbing, “No he can’t do that, he can’t kill himself over that witch.” And then she saw the note and screamed. “THAT IS NOT MY BROTHER’S HANDWRITTING.”

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Chapter 2:

That day by evening Arup’s last ritual was performed, a few close friends and relatives were present. Police registered a formal complaint for a suspicious death, as Arup mostly used to work in his laptop, there was hardly any hand written notes to compare but Misha provided few hand written old letters and basis of that it was clear the handwriting in that suicide note was not Arup’s.

Misha, who was completely broken down by her beloved brother’s death, urged Avik to stay with her at Arup’s place. Misha wanted to feel his brother’s presence at his residence with his belongings.

It was around 9 P.M. when the Arup landline rang. Misha answered it.

“It’s Mohan, why you kept your mobile switched off? I was trying since evening.” The voice at the other end barked.

“Who is this?” Misha replied in a broken voice. “Who are you?”, The voice asked.

“It’s Misha, Arup’s sister, but….” Before she completes her sentence the voice spoke again. “Ask your brother to pick up, I will ring again.

Perplexed Misha told Avik about the call. In another ten minutes the phone rang again. This time Avik replied.

“Hello.”

“Mohan here, now listen carefully, I don’t have much time and can’t stay in this line for a long time. I have got what you wanted. All the documents including the list of people involved. It’s bigger than we thought. I’m keeping my part of bargain and now you have to. And don’t involve anyone, even the cops. Everyone is in this conspiracy. Now take down the address, meet me at 8 P.M. sharp tomorrow at this address.” The voice gave Avik an address and cut the call.

“What is it?” Misha’s curious voice nudged Avik.

“I’m not sure, but maybe Arup was gathering some kind of evidences from someone, some Mohan.” Avik answered worriedly.

“It must be about the same story which killed him. Avik we have to get those documents.” Misha spoke enthusiastically.

“I’m not so sure Misha, if we should get involved into this, it’s dangerous, besides, he said not to involve police as they might as well a part of all these.” Avik was hesitant.

“Avik, he was my brother and I’m willing to take any amount of risk to catch his murderer, if police are involved we will go to higher authorities, press, media, even to ministry. I won’t give up on Arup, if you want you can step back, after all you didn’t lose your brother.” Misha replied angrily.

“I am not backing out, I’m just worried about your safety, you know Arup was my friend too.” Avik was hurt.

“Then let’s get to the bottom of it and get my brother the justice he deserved.” Misha’s voice was firm and strong.

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Next day morning Avik went to Arup’s office and met his chief editor Rohan Dutta.

“So is there any development, what cops are saying?” Mr Dutta was warm and willing to help. “He was our star reporter, any help I can be to trace the culprit.” He ensured Avik.

“Amm, do you have any information on what exactly Arup was working after the breaking story on that MLM Company?” Arup asked.

“Well, he hardly used to discuss his work as it requires a great deal of secrecy. I used to get briefed by him once he already prepared the story. But yeah for the last story he worked on, time to time he took help from another of our journalist Nilesh Mehta. If you want you can have a word with him.” Mr. Dutta spoke.

“Of course.” Avik stood up and walked out of Mr. Dutta’s cabin towards Nilesh’s desk.

“Well about a year ago I covered a story regarding a fraud company, a man with no money or capital started a business and became millionaire in matter of months. It drew a lot of attention and at last he was caught by police but later released on bail as lot of other big fishes were involved in that and he knew too much. After that he just got vanished in thin air.” Nilesh shook his head sideways, “I have cautioned Arup about the danger. But you knew him, he could never back down.”

“Does this person have a name?” Avik asked.

“He used to go by his first name, Jalal.”

As Avik walked out of Arup’s office, Mr. Dutta dialed a number

“Yes he was here, he spoke to Nilesh. (Pause) I don’t think Nilesh knows anything much, he is not of Arup’s caliber, I don’t think he is a threat, but we must keep an eye on Arup’s sister and her boyfriend.” Mr Dutta cut the call and called Nilesh in his cabin.

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Avik was waiting at the given address by Mohan, it’s near the highway and is completely dark, he checked his watch, it’s 8:15, still no sign of him.

“Did you get my ticket and money?” Avik almost jumped off his feet as the voice suddenly spoke from behind.

“You’re late.” Avik replied, “I was watching you, I had to be sure no one is following you.” The voice spoke again.

“Where are the documents?” Avik asked in a husky voice, “Where is my ticket and money, wait…… you’re not Arup, who are you? Mohan screamed as the light of a speeding vehicle fell right on Avik’s face.

“Arup is dead, I can help you if you give me the documents.” Avik caught his hand as he was trying to flee.

“Leave me, I don’t wanna die, you don’t know what kind of danger you’re in, they killed Arup, now they will finish me off.” He was pleading.

As Avik was trying to pull him, the papers Mohan was holding fell down on the road, as Avik bent down to pick them up, Mohan ran for his life at the opposite direction Avik came from.

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Avik returned home with all the documents and few hand written notes, one of them has a list of names. After checking that Avik and Misha was in shock.

“Now we know, we can hardly hope anyone help us.” Avik was visibly disappointed.

“Don’t lose hope Avik, there are still few good people around. We need to get the proof out.” Misha tried to be optimistic.

“But how?” Avik asked with an impatient voice.

“Remember Arup used to run a weekly magazine ‘Expose’? What if we publish all these in that?” Misha’s eyes were hopeful.

“That magazine stopped almost a year ago. If it needs to republish we need a publisher, we need enough budget to print them, circulate them around.”

“Can your publisher help Avik, don’t worry about money, I have some savings, if needed I will sell my apartment or mortgage it, I want my brother’s killers to be punished Avik.” Misha started to sob.

Avik considered that option, his publisher is an honest man, but would he be ready or able to help publishing something of this magnitude.

But Avik’s publisher Satyen Bose kept all the speculations aside and was ready to help. “I am fighting against corruption and equal rights for years, I will not see this opportunity go by me. Don’t worry Avik we will restart the magazine again and it will publish all the proofs that will bring the culprits to justice.”

Avik went with Misha to meet him at his office. “Thank you so much Sir, I hope you know the kind of retaliation we might face, I fear we are putting you and your family in danger.” Misha spoke with an appreciative voice.

“Don’t worry sweetheart, I am strong and I have no immediate family, never will be.” He smiled.

Avik explained Misha, Satyen’s orientation is from LGBT community, he did not declare it publically as he did not want to embarrass his relatives who are pretty conservative.

“You take Satyen to our place and give him the documents, let him analyze which one to publish first and how. I think I will go meet Nilesh, let me see if I can find something from him.” Avik instructed Misha and stepped out, it’s already evening 6 P.M. Avik doubted if he will find Nilesh at his office now.

As Nilesh got down from bus and started to walk towards his house, his sixth sense told him someone is following him.

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Avik couldn’t find Nilesh at his desk, Mr. Dutta informed he just left a while ago. Avik considered going to Nilesh house and then he dropped the idea, he can meet him tomorrow morning.

As Avik pushed the door of his apartment and stepped in he was surprised the door wasn’t lock. He called Misha’s name and stepped into his bedroom. If human could feel fear, sadness, shock, anger and disbelief, Avik would feel them all at once.

It’s Misha and Satyen lying on the bed, without a thread on their body, the bedsheet is drenched with blood, both have a precise bullet wound right at the middle of their forehead. The scene was so horrible that Avik felt sick in his stomach and vomited on the floor. He tried to get a grip and ran towards the cupboard where the documents are kept. And then he heard a click sound of a gun’s safety latch right behind him.

“Looking for something Mr. Avik Banerjee?” the heaviness of the voice hit his ear like a bullet.

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Detective Rounak Banerjee was sitting in office in Singapore, his business is booming. It was the right decision to leave Indian army and start this odd business of private investigation, but now it’s flourishing, he even hardly miss his family.

As he was browsing through the Indian newspaper sites his eyes stuck to a piece of 1st page news, it reads, ‘An unfortunate ending of a love triangle.’ It reports two gruesome murder and a suicide.

Writer Avik Banerjee who is known for his non-fiction style writing came home last night and found his longtime girlfriend Misha Sen with his publisher Satyen Bose in a compromising position. Blinded with anger he killed them both with his pistol and then committed suicide with the same gun. Misha Sen recently lost her brother Arup Sen who was a reporter and going through some tough time.

Rounak’s eyes were moist, it’s been so long he had spoken to his younger brother but never thought he will lose his brother in this fashion.

But then his detective mind told him there’s something wrong about the news, Avik didn’t even know how to use a gun, and he knew Misha, she was not that sort of a girl.

Rounak decided to fly to India in the very next flight.

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Chapter 3:

As the Singapore airline flight touched down to the airport of Indian capital, Raunak looked outside of the window. It’s been quite a while he visited his motherland, and today in a very different circumstances. After the divorce of their parents, Raunak and Avik weren’t very close, but they always stayed in touch, Avik grew up with his father and Raunak with his mother.

He looked at the next seat, Shreya was still sleeping, Shreya Reddy, his personal assistant. Though her parents are Indian she grew up in Singapore, a sharp and intelligent mind, Shreya soon became the right hand of Raunak. Today she is both his strength and weakness.

They took the second flight to Avik’s city.

Another 2 days, Raunak and Shreya gathered all the details regarding Avik, Misha and Satyen’s death. Raunak refrained from declaring him as the closest kin of Avik and let his last ritual performed by the authority. It was tremendously painful for him to not to attend or see his kid brother for the last time, but as a professional investigator her knew his animosity is his biggest strength. If he’s exposed as Avik’s brother, his killers will surely be alarmed.

Nilesh was playing with his 2 years old son when his wife Sangeeta walked in, “Your mobile is vibrating, why you always keep it in silent mode.” She barked.

Nilesh got up and attended the phone, “Nislesh speaking.”

“Hi Nilesh, my name is Raunak, I just need 5 minutes of your time, could you meet me at the café next to your place in another 10 minutes?” An unknown voice spoke.

“What is it about?” Nislesh was surprised.

“it’s about a story, something that can change your life and career, if you don’t want to miss the opportunity you’ve got 10 minutes.” And the line went dead.

Nilesh stood there foolishly, “Could this be a prank?” he thought, nonetheless he decided to walk to the café, it’s just 5 minutes’ walk.

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Nilesh was looking at them, a tall, dark, well-built man in his early 30’s and a strong beautiful woman with a medium complexion with piercing eyes in her mid 20’s. Nilesh is wondering what they might want from him.

“Well, now as it’s clear you called me telling me a false reason, I would like to know what you want.” Nilesh cleared his throat.

“We just want to be in your boss’s cabin for 5 minutes when he is not there.” Raunak replied with precision.

“Ok, so why should I do any of it for some strangers, why am I not reporting you to police?” Nilesh laughed.

“Tell me Nilesh, recently do you have a feeling that someone is following you, that a pair of eyes are always surveilling you? Did you notice something of that sort?” Raunak leaned forward and asked those questions in a dramatic fashion.

“I… I don’t think so.” Though his mind went back to the time when he usually return home. Now a days he always feel someone is shadowing him.

“You’re lying, Mr. Mehta.” This time it was Shreya.

Raunak pulled out his iPad and showed him some snaps. Where it was clearly visible, a man in different posture and different times and places, places where Nilesh had been.

“We’ve a reason to believe your boss, chief editor Rohan Dutta is involved murdering, Arup, Avik, Misha and Satyen. He and some powerful men are running a nexus. And if I’m not wrong the next target is you.” Shreya calmly spoke.

“Me? Why me?” Nilesh started to sweat.

“Because they think you might know something that can be harmful for them.” Raunak replied.

Now Nilesh is sweating profoundly, he gulped some water from the water jug kept in front of him. He paused for a moment and looked at them, “Why telling me all these, why not going to police?”

“We have information that the local police department is also involved.” Sherya replied this time

“The entire police department?” Nilesh exclaimed.

“No, but a portion of higher and lower officials, at this point of time we don’t know whom we can trust. We have checked your profile Nilesh, you seem to be an honest journalist. We need your help, else we wouldn’t have revealed ourselves to you.” Raunak spoke in an assuring tone.

“See Mr. Mehta, we are going to bring down this whole nexus with or without your help, but once the war starts you have to decide which side you want to be, with the right people or wrong.” Shreya firm voice nudged Nilesh.

“What you people want to do?” Nilesh asked hopelessly.

“Bug Rohan Dutta’s telephone and office, clone his mobile and plant micro transmitter chips in his clothes. We require to know every of his activity and words he speak.” Raunak replied to Nilesh.

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“Sir, he is here, would you like to take the interview?” Nilesh peeped into Mr. Dutta’s cabin.

“The sports journalist? Ok let him in.” Rohan Dutta answered.

Raunak entered into his cabin, “Please take your seat.” Rohan greeted him.

“Sir, could you come here for a moment? I have to show the new story I’m covering, just for a sec.” Nilesh peeped into the cabin again.

“Can’t it wait for another 10 minutes?” Chief Editor Dutta were irritated.

“I just need you for a minute, I’m kind of stuck.” Nilesh pleaded.

“Excuse me.” Rohan made a grunting noise and walked out of cabin. As Raunak was anticipated, his mobile was lying right in front of him on the table. Raunak pulled out a similar model of his mobile phone and started to clone it, then he moved without a noise and planted the chips in the bottom of the landline and in the vase on the table. Nilesh is instructed to keep him busy as long as possible. The cloning of the mobile is taking time, Raunak knocked on the table impatiently.

There was a mild sound of the cabin door opening, Raunak felt his heart skipped several beats, he turned back and saw a guy in his 40’s is standing in khaki shirt and dirty white pant.

“Who are you?” Raunak barked.

“I.. I am the peon, where is Dutta sir.” He was panicking.

“He just stepped out”, Raunak replied. “Oh..ok” the guy turned to leave. Raunak noticed the cloning is done.

“Listen, what is your name?” Raunak called him back.

“M..Mohan sir”, he replied in a timid voice.

“Inform Mr Dutta, I have got an urgent call and I can’t wait, I will meet him later.”, Saying so Raunak did not wait and hurriedly came out of the office.

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“We shouldn’t meet in public, after all I am still the investigating officer of Arup’s death.” Inspector Shiladitya Sinha was taking his third drink, Rohan Dutta was sitting right in front of him.

“Relax Sinha, we got things under control now.” Rohan sipped into his glass. They both are sitting in their favorite bar away from the city limits.

“You fool, I told you Nilesh might be a problem, he is not as harmless as you think, my men picked up some suspicious movements by him.” Inspector Sinha barked

“We can take care of him anytime we want.” Rohan smiled.

“And why Jalal is still alive, you kept him in your own office as a peon, what if someone recognized him. No Dutta, you are being careless.” Sinha shook his head.

“Well none will recognize him, all his recorded photos he has long hairs and bushy beard and mustache, I gave him a complete makeover, and remember, always hide something or someone in plain sights, always works. We are not sure if he has some old documents with him, that cunning b****** can’t be trusted, but can’t kill him without being sure. What if he already shared the secrets to someone else?” Rohan spoke indifferently.

“Bosses are getting impatient, we are meeting this Sunday to decide the next move. Be there on time.” Inspector Sinha gulped his drink and got up.

Form a safe distance Raunak listened and recorded every word of it.

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As Raunak submitted the evidences to court with the help of a high court judge, DIG of Police, Food and Health minister, a business tycoon and few other important persons got arrested from different places of the city. It was a joint operation by CID and local police. Chief Editor Rohan Dutta and Inspector Sinha were taking into police remand immediately for interrogation.

Jalal alias Mohan agreed to be prosecution witness and was ready to testify against all of them. He was arrested and kept in the lock up.

The trial dates were finalized. While Nilesh and his wife Sangeeta and Sheya decided to present in the court. Raunak decided to visit the place where Avik and Mohan aka Jalal met, as Jalal told him there are few documents Avik did not get and he hid it near a bridge in the same highway.

As Raunak was loitering around near the bridge unsuccessfully trying trace those papers, he felt the presence of few more people. He turned back and saw there are 4 men standing behind him, they looked like hardcore criminals, with Knives, chains and iron rods.

Raunak put his arms above, “You can take my wallet and watch, I don’t want any trouble.”

The first guy swung the iron rod at him, years of military training made Raunak’s nerves strong and calm. He moved out of the way and punched the goon in his throat, the second one charged him with a chain, he ducked and tripped him by his legs. The third one with the knife jumped at him, he caught him by his hip. And then suddenly raunak felt a sharp pain in his lower back. The fourth goon stabbed him continuously till his t shirt and jeans got drenched in blood, the pain and the blood loss made Raunak weak, as the other 3 joined together and started continuously beating him with rods and chains.

After a while a homeless street boy saw 4 men carrying another men who’s bleeding from every part of his body, then they throw him off the bridge to the river and the heavy current of river flushed his body away.

Nilesh, Sangeeta and Shreya were waiting impatiently in the court room, while Shreya was trying frantically to call Raunak, still no answers, calls were going into voicemail.

The public prosecutor was approached by a man, he whispered something is his year. The public prosecutor then addressed the court.

“My lord, it seems our prosecution witness Jalal aka Mohan died in appendix burst today early morning, I smell a deep conspiracy, I urge the honorable court to adjourn for today so his death can be investigated.”

Shreya, Nilesh and Sangeeta came out of court with dejected heart. Sherya tried to call Raunak one more time, this time it was answered.

“Hello Raunak!!” Shreya almost screamed. “No ma’am, this is the police patrolling vehicle, we have found this mobile lying down on highway, there’s blood everywhere but no trace of anybody here.”

Meanwhile Nilesh was walking towards his car to unlock the door, Sangeeta could hardly react as she saw with horror a lorry from nowhere approaching towards Nilesh. The impact was so brutal that Nilesh’s body was thrown off in the air fell onto the nearby car’s roof.

Sangeeta and Shreya stood there motionlessly, it seemed they were paralyzed.

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Chapter 4:

Sangeeta was at the hospital holding her son in her arms, her in laws had come there already. Doctors declared Nilesh as brought dead. Nilesh’s 2 years old son wasn’t able to understand why his mother was crying inconsolably.

Sherya was at the police station, they took her to the crime scene where the mobile was found. Police were searching for Raunak’s body though they were not sure how far the body was flushed away by the river. They showed her the mobile and a small box of ring which they have found there, there was too much of blood around soaked in the sand, the police medical examiner declared that it’s almost impossible for a man to be alive after so much of blood loss.

Shreya had a faint hope that Raunak might be alive as his body was yet to be recovered. As she saw the box of engagement ring she broke down in tears. She knew Raunak was carrying it for a while to propose to her someday. Raunak never knew Shreya was aware of it, nor Shreya ever told him she already knows. The setting sun witnessed a sobbing woman who had lost her friend, her mentor and love of her life.

*********************************************************************************

“We have to get going, we have to bring them to justice, for the sake of all the people lost their lives to reveal this conspiracy.” Shreya clinched her jaw, it’s been almost a week passed after the incidents.

“I just lost my husband, I have a child to take care of, do you think a widow with her kid can fight this battle?” Sangeeta spoke in a bitter tone. They were sitting in Avik’s apartment, police handed over the key to Raunak once he declared himself as Avik’s brother. Raunak and Shreya were living there since they filled the case.

“You’re a lawyer too, it’s your duty as well to unmask all the faces who took away your husband’s life.” Shreya replied impatiently.

“I’m just an assistant lawyer, that too a corporate one. What you want me to do?” Sangeeta sound hopeless.

“It’s up to you whether you want to stand next to me and fight shoulder to shoulder, because I am not stopping till I have my revenge for Raunak. If you want to play safe, if Nilesh’s death means nothing to you, then good luck.” Sherya’s voice was trembling with anger and frustration.

“What you need me to do? I will do anything to nab the murderers of my husband, as long as it’s not putting my son’s life in danger.” Sangeeta replied.

*********************************************************************************

Justice M Sohrabuddin is still fit and strong even in his 60’s, being a high court judge he has completed his 35 years of service in Law and order department and he has a reputation of being honest and straight forward man.

He finished his jogging and sat on the bench in the park as his daily routine, a young woman came out of nowhere and sat beside him, she was wearing a navy blue hoody.

“Justice M Sohrabuddin?” The woman whispered. Sohrabuddin was little surprised, “Who’s asking?”

“This is Shreya, Shreya Reddy. Few days back my Boss Raunak Banerjee and Nilesh Mehta met you regarding a case, you helped them to file a case against the police officials and state minister.” Shreya whispered again.

“Yeah I remember, I read it all in the news and watched it on TV, I’m really sorry for your loss, but I guess the case is on. The prosecution witness Jalal’s death was unnatural, one of his lock up inmate got arrested. And the tainted DIG of police has resigned. The party has expelled their Food and Health minister. Law is taking its own course but you have to have patience.” Justice Sohrabuddin spoke in a compassionate voice.

“But I have my suspicion that more people in the state ministry are involved and they are still at large, targeting people whoever know anything about them. They need to be stopped.” Shreya whispered strongly this time.

Sohrabuddin was surprised again, “Do you have any proof to establish your claim?” He asked.

“Not yet, but if I get you the proof, could you help me?” Shreya pleaded.

“I can sure try to. I know some people in central government, we can ask for a central probe in this case, but as I said, we need strong evidences, enough proofs.” He replied.

“I will meet you in few days, with proofs.” Shreya stood up and jogged away.

*********************************************************************************

Secretary of state home minister Jayant Biswas is a busy man, so busy that he always misses his lunch. So when one of his security guard came and gave him a chit with a name he was irritated. Then he read the name and was surprised, it reads Sangeeta Mehta.

Jayant Biswas bought few lands in his wife’s name and with his influence he managed to evade taxes, but as some legal implication befallen on him he had to hire a corporate lawyer from a lawyer firm. Sangeeta was one of them, a bright young woman who helped him multiple times with legal issues. He asked his guard to send her in.

“Good afternoon Ma’am, how did you lose your way to my office today.” Jayant Biswas had a warm welcoming smile.

“I need your help Mr. Biswas, an urgent help.” Sangeeta spoke.

“Sure, anything within my power.” Jayant Biswas replied.

“I need your help to look into some important files and documents.” Sangeeta replied. “What kind of files?” Jayant was curious.

“I need the access of all the files basically, the state affair files, I have to search them.” Sangeeta spoke in a serious tone.

“I’m sorry Mrs Mehta that I can’t allow. They are confidential.” Jayant shook his head.

“So are your tax evasion files Mr. Biswas, and I never leak anything out.” Sangeeta wore a sarcastic smile on her face.

“That’s the client confidentiality every lawyer maintain.” Jayant chuckled.

“And what if I decide not to maintain?” Sangeeta was serious again.

“Wait, are you trying to blackmail me?” Jayant’ voice got louder.

“I am not here to blackmail you Mr. Biswas, I came here cause I need your help, my husband Nilesh got killed few days ago and authorities are denying to help, please.” Sangeeta’s eyes got moist.

“Sorry Mrs. Mehta, I truly am sorry for your loss, but can’t help you in this.” He shook his.

Hopelessly Sangeeta got up and turned back, “Mrs Mehta, please write your mobile no in this register. We have some protocols, visitors need to provide some details.” Jayant called her back.

As Sangeeta hit the road her mobile phone rang. “Hello.”

“Mrs. Mehta, Jayant Biswas here, please meet me at Arundhati hotel for lunch in another 15 minutes.” And the line went dead.

*********************************************************************************

It was 8 P.M in the night, Sangeeta and Shreya were fanatically searching something in Jayant’s computer. Jayant was standing near the collapsible gate, he sent the night guard to get some food, he gave him a tough list so it will take some time.

Jayant was grinning to himself, got a good deal from these ladies, about 10 lakhs worth of cash and jewelry for the information they are looking.

Shreya searched with the name of the MLM Company and got all the data copied to two separate USB drive and gave one to Sangeeta.

“Keep it, in case of any of us, touchwood let it be me, if we are attacked the other one has to reach to Justice Sohrabuddin.” Shreya whispered to Sangeeta.

“Let’s get out of here, tomorrow morning the 1st thing we’ll do is this.” Sangeeta replied.

“No not tomorrow, tonight, I am going tonight to him. You go home and wait, if anything happens to me tomorrow morning you have to give it him.” Shreya clinched her fists.

*********************************************************************************

Shreya reached to Justice M. Sohrabuddin’s residency at about 9 P.M, the lights were still on. She went to the main door and rang the doorbell.

A security guard opened the door, “Is justice Soharabuddin awake?” Shreya asked him. He nod his head and showed the way to his drawing room.

“Sir I’ve got the proof in my hand, now you must act, Shreya announced as she entered into the room.

Justice Sohrabuddin was sitting in his easy chair showing his back towards the door. He did not reply, also he looked half lying in a different posture. As Shreya walked up to the chair, she couldn’t help but had a muffled cry.

Justice Sohrabuddin’s left hand is dangling from the chair and his head is tilted to left, his eyes and mouth were open. He couldn’t reply cause he is not alive anymore. There’s no sign of struggle or injury on his body in plain sight, an empty syringe was lying on the floor.

Air Embolism, Shreya thought. If more than 60ml of air can be injected direct into human vein, it can cause fata cardiac arrest. Shreya heard few footsteps towards the door.

As Sangeeta reached near her house and about to push open the gate she noticed a big van with a baby food logo on it. A man from nowhere suddenly appeared.

“Ma’am we sell baby food, it’s a new launch in the market so doing a door to door marketing.” The guy spoke politely.

“Door to door marketing at 9 P.M. in the night? And how do you know I need or buy baby food?” Sangeeta looked at him with suspicious eyes. All of a sudden she felt a strong push from behind and the guy who was speaking held her mouth with his palms to prevent her from screaming, they dragged her like a plastic doll towards the van.

Shreya heard the footsteps, she pushed open the window of the room and jumped out on the veranda. It was a cake walk for fit and trained Shreya to jump off the boundary wall. She could still hear the shouting’s and voices abusing her.

She ran as hard she could, about after 5 minutes she stopped. She realized she got into a closed lane and she could see the dead end. She turned back.

There were about 20 men, to be precise, starving beasts were standing at the entrance of the lane. Everyone had hungry eyes like wolves.

As 20 of them took turn to ravage, brutalize and destroy her, after a while she went numb, she did not feel any pain, humiliation and agony. She felt nothing.

Next day’s newspaper headlines were dominated by only one topic, ‘Crime against women in the city is on the rise.’ It reported in two different incidents two young woman, a widow and an NRI women were ravaged and dishonored by predators.

There was another news as well, it was reported that high court judge M Sohrabuddin died in cardiac arrest at his residence around 9 P.M last night, he had no history of heart dieses.

Sangeeta was admitted in hospital with a deep head injury and cigarette burn marks on her whole body, doctors reported she had gone through inhumane torture. Next day afternoon she lost her last battle to death. Shreya was kept in the ICU. Her condition was critical.

Jayant Biswas’s mobile phone rang, “Yes sir, thank you sir. All done then. Glad to provide the information sir.” He cut the call and grinned, he always go with the highest bidder.

*********************************************************************************

“May I come in Sir?” Animesh knocked the door and held it half open.

“Come on in”, CBI director D’Souza shook his hand.

“My next assignment is it?” Animesh smiled.

“Here read this”, D’Souza pushed a file at him and lit his cigar.

Animesh took 10 minutes to read the report. “Geez, it’s a b*****y ‘Game of Thrones’ out there.” Animesh chuckled.

“That’s why we decided to send you, do you need anything specific?” D’Souza left another puff of smoke in the air.

“Oh yes! I won’t work with local authorities’ sir.” Animesh replied.

“Though it’s a central investigation, we need local and state help. Can’t cut them off.” D’Souza replied casually.

“Not exactly.” Animesh replied and leaned forward to explain his plan.

About 6 feet 2 inches tall, fair and handsome Animesh RoyChowdhury is hailed from one of the oldest and famous family of Bengal landlords. And 2006 batch IPS officer in his early forties, he is known as a living nightmare of many bureaucrats and politicians. Because his obsession towards white shirts and outfits he is known as the White Knight of CBI department.

As Animesh was about to walk out when D’Souza called his name, “Animesh, don’t get killed, department needs you.” And the he had his trademark mad laugh.

Animesh smiled, “Don’t worry, I won’t sir.”

*********************************************************************************

Last Chapter:

It took almost two weeks for Animesh to gather all the details about all the incidents and deaths happened in the city which were connected directly or indirectly with Arup’s investigation. Though something was telling him that the roots were deeper than he anticipated.

Once he got all the reports, he tried to arrange them like a jigsaw puzzle.

Arup started to investigate about an MLM company with a pyramid scheme. He exposed an local MLA and few others connected to this illegal business. The MLA soon after meet with a domestic accident and goes into deep coma. Was that an accident or a preplanned attack? If it was an attack then who tried to kill him?

Arup kept investigating even after few people got arrested. Then he died in suspicious circumstances which was almost covered up as a suicide. But Misha found out the truth. Together Misha and Avik launched their investigation, got in touch with Mohan aka Jalal. They tried to unmask few powerful people and again they are been killed. It was again tried to set up as double murder and a suicide. But somehow they did not know Satyen Bose was a closet homosexual, hence the angle between him and Misha cheating on Avik fell apart. What were Avik and Misha planning to expose that they had to meet this horrible end?

Then Raunak came along with Shreya, they got a very important breakthrough as they were able to nab chief editor Dutta and Inspector Sinha and thus unraveled a bigger conspiracy. Bring down the DIG, a minister and few other billionaire businessmen. They found Mohan aka Jalal hiding in plain sight as an employee in Editor Dutta’s office. He agreed to be a prosecution’s witness and he was brutally killed by his lockup inmate, at first again this death was been covered up as appendix burst but later revealed as he was been punched continuously in his abdomen and died of internal bleeding. Raunak was attacked near a bridge in highway or at least that was been reported, Raunak is still missing, no news yet about him or his dead body is recovered. Nilesh was killed at the same time in a freak accident, the lorry driver claimed his brakes failed. Is Raunak still alive? Is Nilesh’s death is just an accident or he is killed?

That left Shreya and Nilesh’s wife Sangeeta to act together. They were also brutally attacked and Sangeeta is dead now, Shreya is the only person alive who knows a lot about this case. She has to be protected, she is recovering but Animesh is certain there will be an attempt to take her life. Also Justice M Sorabuddin with whose help Raunak, Shreya and Nilesh filed the case against the accused, found dead in his residence same night Sangeeta and Shreya were attacked. He had no history of heart disease, yet he died in cardiac arrest. Too much of coincidence?

Animesh looked at his watch, it’s 3 A.M. in the morning and he is still sitting in the balcony in the arm chair. It was a little chilly because of falling dew, it was clam and quite around. And then he hard a sound, someone threw a stone at him, but luckily it went on hitting the window. He picked up the piece of stone, it was quite big, if it would have hit him, he would have been injured badly.

Animesh saw a piece of paper tied around the rock, he took it off and read it, “There’s no place for a white knight in a dark realm, Run before the darkness consumes you.”

Animesh smiled to himself and then he dialed a number. “Keep her safe. Don’t let her out of sight even for a moment.” And he put down the phone.

*********************************************************************************

Animesh got a call around 8 A.M from Chief Minister’s office, CM would like to meet him at the breakfast table in his residence by 10. Animesh got ready in a hurry and started.

He had no idea that the state home minister would also be there. He greeted both of them.

“How’s the investigation going?” CM asked Animesh.

“It’s going good Sir, we made some breakthrough. Looks like a lot of people are involved in it.” Animesh replied politely.

“I have our home minister here, he is concerned about something he would like to discuss with you.” CM looked at the Home minister.

“We are seeing a lot many para military force’s presence in the city, we are witnessing a lot many people in camouflage uniforms moving across the city. I find it a matter of concern.” HM cleared his throat and spoke.

“Oh! They are helping me with the investigating and nabbing the accused. Don’t worry, CBI head quarter already gave a go ahead to take help of para military force.” Animesh replied confidently.

“Is it a way of saying that local police and authorities are not trustworthy?” HM had had a crooked smile appeared on his face.

“Well, a significant amount of local higher authorities are under the radar. At such circumstances I have little choices.” Animesh snapped back.

HM shook his head, “I have no problem with the CBI probe but I can’t allow para military force tearing down this city, I have already wrote to central ministry and they agreed to withdraw them within 48 hours, you will have that order on your table by today evening.” The smile from HM’s face is gone.

“Will that be all Sir?” Animesh looked at CM.

“Yes, yes, see I do agree with state home ministry, we can’t allow this.” CM spoke. “But please, finish your breakfast, your tea is getting cold too.”

“Sorry Sir, I have got an important work came up, I gotta leave.” Animesh stood up leaving his half done breakfast and stormed out of there.

Animesh straightaway went to see Shreya at the hospital. Doctors informed him she has responded well to the treatment, but still very weak to give any statement. Animesh cautioned his men one more time and went directly to the room where Shreya was kept.

“You can’t be hare, she’s still very weak and unstable.” The doctor attending her warned Animesh as he showed his ID.

“I just need 5 minutes with her.” Animesh ignored the doctor.

One side of Shreya’s face was unrecognizable, it was battered and bruised, the left eye was heavily swelled. She had scratches and bruises from her head to toe, still she was in her senses. Animesh who has nerves of steel, even for a moment he felt the nudge.

“Those animals.” Animesh clenched his teeth and leaned onto Sherya, “Shreya I know you were there at justice M Sorabuddin’s place that night you were attacked and I know you were keeping in touch with him. Tell me why did you go there?” Animesh whispered the words.

Shreya looked at Animesh with disbelief and slowly uttered, “Who are you and why should I trust you?”

“I am Animesh RoyChowdhury, CBI special branch. You have to trust me because only I can help you and you have nothing to lose.” Animesh’s voice was firm.

“True, I’ve lost Raunak, I’ve lost my honor and I have lost the very will to live.” Shreya whispered back.

Animesh leaned further, “Help me, so I can help you. I only have 48 hours” Animesh pleaded.

*********************************************************************************

Animesh came to meet the CM, he had specially requested the CM to meet him.

Sitting at his desk CM greeted Animesh, “So you’ve solved the case?”

“Yes Sir.” Animesh replied.

“Tell me about it,” CM looked curious.

“As I was assigned to this case, I have a vague idea what I will be against, there were about dozens of death which was linked with one case. But I wasn’t able to understand how so many people who are layers, getting caught yet the whistleblowers are getting killed.

As per my investigation at least 4 sets of people tried to unravel the conspiracy behind one MLM company and all of them succeeded to unmask few faces but that wasn’t enough and got punished for doing so.

I was wondering why Arup never stopped investigating even after the scoop he has published which created a lot of buzz. The only person alive who knew all about the whole investigation is Shreya. Shreya and Sangeeta were acting together when they stumbled upon few documents from state ministry, Jayant Biswas helped them. Then he double crossed them as well. Shreya made two copies of the files in her USB drives. But she had a special one, a usb drive with cloud backup which instantly send all the data to an online drive. Though both the USb drives were snatched from them the data was available. I spoke to her and retrieved the data.

And then everything is cleared like a sunny day to me. It was of course one of the greatest conspiracy.

Jalal aka Mohan was into fraud business for quite some time, He made a lot of money with a lot of Ponzi schemes and the money was stacked lying in a lot of places. On November 8th the demonetization announced, he had his partners were at sea, because all they had was cash, black money. They needed to push them into the banks somehow. They started another business, an MLM business, but this time the cash flow would be in reverse order.

So they started finding the less fortunate ones, and offering them money to find more people and giving the cash to them. As the highest amount you could deposit was 250,000, they started pouring their accounts with any amount less than that. The plan was simple, find poor people and use them to deposit the money in their account. Whoever tried to rebel or act smart were hushed up. So as one man recruiting another 10, automatically they are getting more bank accounts to deposits, who did not have bank accounts their accounts were opened overnight. Arup’s maid’s husband Jeevanlal was among them, but when he understood the plan he revolted back and faced the consequences. A relatively new privatized bank was also used for it.

But all these things were never possible without the backing of political muscles or without the local authorities. Slowly it reaches to the highest possible parts of the state leadership. When they were threatened to get ripped of their reputation because of a few people trying to uncover the whole thing, they panicked and started to kill all the whistleblowers.”

Animesh paused.

“Whom exactly are you accusing Mr. RoyChowdhury?” CM asked in easy tone.

“You sir, I am accusing you. The way all these things were done and been covered up, only someone of your position could do so.” Animesh’s voice was calm as well.

CM burst into laughter. “Mr RoyChowdhury, you have a vivid imagination.” CM was almost chocking in laughter.

Animesh continued, “As we are speaking the state ministry affair office is been raided, Jayant Biswas proved to be very useful. The Governor has been briefed and so is the President. And here’s your arrest warrant.”

CM suddenly noticed his residence is getting infiltrated by a lot of CRPF personals in their para military camouflage uniforms.

Animesh stood up, “That would be all sir, good day.”

*********************************************************************************

Shreya opened her eyes and to her surprise there was Animesh with a bouquet of flower in his hand.

“For you.” He kept on the table and the gave her a double sided photo frame, one side of which has a collage of Arup, Avik, Misha,Nilesh, Sangeeta’s photo the other one has a smiling face of Rounak.

“We are still searching for Raunak, unfortunately I have no news about him till now.” Animesh spoke those words slowly.

“You know, we don’t have to search for heroes only in our borders, within our soldiers merely. Sometimes we just have them among us. And you people are… the Heroes.” Animesh uttered those words with pride.

Shreya completely broke down in tears like a child holding the frame in her hands, only hoping and praying that Raunak is still alive.

Animesh slowly walked out of the hospital room keeping the door ajar.

*********************************************************************************

(The End)

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