“I wish I could have prevented the unforeseen incident. But, I was pretty late to judge the chain of events. This lateness of mine made all the differences. So all I can tell you, now, is why he was murdered. I will provide my statement, Inspector. He was a master blackmailer. His name was Chandranath Atiyendra Mazumdar. I was hired to stop the defamation by my client, Malabika Devi. He has a ruthless hobby to destroy other people’s lives. He manipulates the soft corners of the people by destroying the psychology of his victims day by day. He makes everyone to be his pawn audaciously. But he was shot dead. Like a shark being harpooned with its precise target by the attacker. In a way, Inspector, justice has been served but in terms of Moral Victory.
Now, I will go back few days’ back when my client came up to me on a Sunday afternoon, with an earlier appointment, to see me on an urgent notice. So, I called her to come to my chamber and discuss.
I was going through my previous records, interactions, images and videos of her confession and regret which I have recorded so far. She was de-arranged psychologically at the time when we met many, many years ago. Now, she has recovered. She is happy with her small knitted family and close people. Yet, some scars are hard to be erased from the memories.
Malabika Devi, as you all know, once a superstar and a beauty with so many admirers. She created a position on her time where the younger generation fail to aspire to reach the status of a star. She comes to my chamber as per the appointed time with her sunglasses on and the scarf covered around her face. She sits in front of me and I offer her a glass of water and with a little breathe she takes a sip.
She slowly opens up her shades and reveals her deformed left eye. Next she loosens her scarf and the deathly marks of a burned face.
That, one singular moment in her life damaged her career from a star to fading light by her husband. Before, the incident there were rumours of her being involved with, Late Arun Kumar, who was the Matinee Idol of our Time on which the media exploited and ultimately angered Malabika’s husband and attacked on her face with a hot kettle.
After that she distanced herself from everything. There were attempts to fix her face but it failed. She never sees anyone except her maid and her daughter. She never accused her husband for domestic abuse. In the midst of all this, he disappeared from her life and never to be found.
It was strange to see, officer, I will never know how she heard of me, as my secretary at that time took an appointment for me and surprised to learn it was the Great Diva, Malabika Devi. I never asked her how come she knew about my whereabouts but there was a charm and mystery to her which attracted me towards her the most. She became my patient and till now, she is a wonderful lady and charming to the last.
She starts to speak to me, as it has been a habit for us during our therapy, she will initiate the conversation, “I know it’s odd of me to come here to disturb you. But this is important. I did not have a choice.”
In a calm and composed manner I replied to her said, “No problem! Tell me, what’s bothering you.”
With a little breathe, she continues, “Have you heard…” utters the name of the victim. In the state of hearing the name, I reacted, “I know. The most notorious man in Town.”
“Well, he came up to me yesterday. Without an appointment into my room and waiting for me to return from my friend’s marriage.”
I have heard rumours about him and that’s his way of work, “What did he say?”
“He believes he has possession of photos and letters which will defame my daughter’s life.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“He believes, the daughter is not of my husband but a lovechild of me and Arun Kumar.”
Malabika Devi looks at me and says, “What do you think?”
With a little suspicion I replied to her, “It can be…”
“Yes. She is Arun Kumar’s daughter. My husband and I were married for two years. But we have never consummated our marriage.”
Understandable to me, I had my suspicions during counselling sessions.
She continues, “My daughter is going to get married by next week. All the arrangements are done. If this material goes out in the open it will destroy my daughter’s life. I don’t want to be compromised.”
“You mentioned about letters and photographs which he has in his possession.”
“It can be forged and photo-shopped.”
“Yes. But Photographs of me and him together intimately.”
“Promotional Photo-shoots of a film.”
“He has videos which he termed as an indecent act.”
A thunderous revelation, “Now, Malabika, you have been compromised yourself insanely into the situation.”
“I did not want to be involved with him. But he stood as a friend of mine and later my love and affection for him increased. My husband was jealous of me all the time. He could not stand my profession. Always on the brink of a breakdown in our marriage. I was not able to stand him in later years and never had a child together.”
“So, you want me to retrieve the videotape and burn it.”
“But how did video thing happened?”
“My husband hired a detective to trail me all throughout our married life and I believe this particular detective is the blackmailer and video graphed us in the act.”
“It seems logical. What does he want exactly?”
“That’s the strangest part. He did not demand anything. He threatened me to expose every thing about me. I don’t know, why! It will create a huge uproar and ruin my daughter’s marriage! If anyone harms her I will tear that person piece by piece.”
“The newspaper will pay him a handful of money and social media will burn the situation and it will destroy your image as well as your daughter’s too. But there has to be something.” I stood up and walked in front of her, put my hands onto the handle of the chair and my face in front of her. “Think, Malabika, Think.”
“I can’t.” She looks little frightened. She breathes deeply.
“Do you have any idea where your husband is?”
“We were not in touch since that fateful day. I did search him about his whereabouts but he vanished into thin air.”
“Do you have his photograph?”
She opens up her bag and I leave the handle and straight up myself. She gives me the photograph of them together on the day of their marriage. I look at the photograph. I mutter myself, “Soumitro! Soumitro!”
I kept the photo on my desk under a paperweight and I asked her, “Does your daughter know anything about this?”
“No. She doesn’t. Neither should she.”
“Even if you tell her there won’t be any problem. She has never seen your husband.”
“That is true but I have shown pictures of him and told her that he died in a car accident.”
“Maybe it’s time she must know the truth of her birth and who her real father is.”
Malabika Devi gets up, “Maybe I should. Maybe.”
“You must not fear. I will set the matters right.”
There was a long pause as she picks up her sunglasses and the scarf from the table and says, “Now, I must go. You are the one I trust!”
“After she left my chamber, there was a sudden phone call on my mobile from an unknown number. I never pick unknown calls. So, I never picked it up for the moment. After few moments, there was a knock on my door. I was little bit pushed for the time being but opened it. A man of cold stature with a fixed smile and in a smooth voice, he says, “Hello, Doctor Basu!”
“Hello! May I know your good name, Sir?”
“Chandranath Atiyendra Mazumdar, at your service!”
“What do you want?”, my feelings for the person was disgust. A scum like him should be imprisoned. But this is the first time I am seeing his face.
“Seriously, no glib remark or a pity sense of humour to honour me!”
“That depends on the way you behave to other people.”
“I behave my best. I have my leverage on some.” He peeps into my chamber, “May I take a sit.”
“Come on in.”
“Would you like some drink?”
He walks towards the sofa and sits. He looks at me with a cold look and he asks me avoiding my humbleness as a host, “Isn’t your room to much of a comfort for your clients.”
“I make them feel like home for my clients.”
“I see. A practitioner psychiatrist yet moonlights as a detective.”
“A hobby, I would say!”
“What are you a doctor or detective?”
“Well, you and I are very similar you see! We can work together!”
“Do you have an opening?”
“Not at the moment! But if you like to join!”
“Sorry, I can’t.”
“Thought so. You are just the so called, Moral Police. But I have my material of compromise on you!”
I had my fears, so I asked him, “What kind?”
“For the time being I have no interest on that. But I have my particular interest on, your patient, Ms Malabika Devi!”
“What about her?”
“Nothing! Just a little fun!”
“What do you mean, by little fun?”
“What about a compromise?”
“I am not doing it for money!”
“We all have secrets! I collect dirty secrets!”
He taps the table for a moment and says, “I see! How much?”
“Depending on the compromising material!”
“A lot which will sum up my rest of my life!”
“Cash! All in cash! A full Ten Million rupees!”
“Consider it, done! I will make the arrangements!”
“After the sudden encounter with the notorious Mazumdar, I felt hopeless. Is there anything to be done to stop him from the exposure business? He is a person he will stop at nothing. People like him, will expose anyone at behest of everything after receiving a compromise. They are two faced people who will stop at nothing. I started to search him through my social media but it does not add up to anything. A fool’s way. I give the number to my police friend for tracing, but it went cold as it was last used on my location. I was not able to reveal my entire intention to him.
On the next day, I received a text from another unknown number. The text was, “Meet me in the sweet shop. Roy’s café near Chinatown in the alley at 5 p.m. I want her to be present.”
“Malabika and I have been waiting for him in the café, which is rather crowded at that time. Both of us took a seat for three people in a small circular table. She is wearing her scarf and her sunglasses on. We kept the bag on the locker room in the station as per his instruction to retrieve the money. But, still he wanted to meet us. He makes his appearance on the gate and moves forward towards us. He takes his chair and we give him the key. He says, “Well, thank you. I do appreciate your efforts.”
He puts the key in his coat pocket, I ask, “Don’t you want to verify?”
“It’s not about verification, Mr Basu!”
“Why do you want to torment her? Give us all the materials.”
“I have second thoughts.”
Malabika screams, “What do you mean?”
“I own you. I own all of you.”
“We are giving everything you want!”
“Tsk. Tsk. Where is the fun in it! I will not withdraw my ownership on you. My amusement, you always have been my amusement!”
“This is wrong. Mr Mazumdar.”, I said.
He looks straight at, Ms Malabika and says, “Call out my sweet name, dear?”
“What do you mean?”
The blackmailer makes a move forward and puts his finger on her face for a minute and touches the lips to make her feel uncomfortable. She hates it. Loathes it. It was uncomfortable.
“This lovely, lovely face of yours! I missed so much!”
A gunshot. We see a man with glasses and an overcoat standing behind him. He makes his shot on his head for the second time. We did not even realize there was someone in the crowd to shoot him. The head of the blackmailer falls on the table. We turn back a little. Blood has sparkled on our faces. The shooter pulls the trigger on his face. Twice. The blackmailer’s final moment. The shooter leaves the gun on the table. He started to run and I have tried to follow in the midst of all the crowd block. A car comes in quickly near to the café. A blue sedan. Everyone in the café looks stunned by the strangest incident in the broad daylight. He boards the car. I tried to catch the number plate but of no use. I have lost the trail of it.
“But unfortunately, it was not in my dreams, Inspector Ghatak, that he will be murdered in such a dangerous manner at that moment by some unknown assailant. It was difficult for me to get the momentum. After making my phone call to you. This job handled by the shooter was pre-planned. Maybe someone was following the blackmailer for so long. We will never know who they really are, the driver and the shooter. But they did their justice to a menace. And the vague description, which I have for you about the shooter does not matches anyone you know nor anyone who are acquainted with the case. This is what I have to say!”
After hearing from Detective Basu, the inspector replies, “Well, the trail has gone cold, Mister Basu! But we did find the residence of Mr Mazumdar. But all burned up. All his belongings were on fire. His residence was totally on fire and no injuries. It felt like somebody, like you said, was on his trail for a long, long time. But, we will try to find out who they are. But, the surveillance footage is not enough for us to capture. They are lost somewhere in the middle of the highway before the toll booth near the jungle. Maybe they have boarded the bus. And next time, Basu, please inform us about such persons before handling such situations on your own. We are letting you and Ms Malabika go as we have our long standing relation with us. This is your final statement. And we will not go public with the case and make ourselves to find enough evidence of this place to be a robbery. We will not defame Ms Malabika’s privacy, that’s our word. She has our respects towards her.” He files it up and gives it to his fellow officer for further clarification.
Detective Basu is looking through the files of Malabika Devi for the last moment in the night. There is a Text message from another unknown number, “Call. M.”
Basu smiles and calls the number and on the other side it says, “Thank You, Basu… Thank you so much! I am totally indebted towards you!”
“Well, Malabika. It was a long time…” He says with a sense of relief.
“Nothing surprises me. You made the perfect plan.”
“Well, Inspector Ghatak was himself pleased with the situation how it played out! Without him, we could not have been able to remove the menace from all the troubles.”
“Even the inspector was also being tortured by him?”
“Enough evidence to be terminated from the police department. It was quite shocking for me that your husband was the blackmailer.”
“My husband was the most dangerous person. He owned me with this filthy habit of blackmailing for so long. As soon as I found out his true nature of his job. He attacked me and it didn’t matter to him who I sleep with or where I stay. But, ownership of personal lives.”
“What about the tabloid photographs between you and your late husband?”
“He never showed his face in the tabloid. You already know, how the star spouses hide themselves from limelight. He never went into the parties or promotion. And the face is mostly unrecognisable at best.”
“And the money? Have you tried retrieving it?”
“I have donated them into a charity fund of mine! So no worries! Chief Inspector Ghatak, was really helpful!”
“Did you tell everything to your daughter?”
“Does it matter?”
“You could tell her, about her father?”
“I know my daughter. She is fragile. I love her so much. That’s why I won’t be revealing everything to her. She is just like Arun. Everybody said, Arun was the worst person in the industry but I know him from his heart. One of the best persons you will ever meet.”
“Things would have been different if you have married Arun.”
“He was from an Orthodox Family. And I am not.”
“After all this years, you are relieved.”
“Much relieved, my friend, much relieved.”
“Well, let’s bid a goodbye to each other. I will shower my blessings towards your daughter’s marriage from here.”
“I know. And you won’t be able to join us.”
“I better not to increase suspicion.”
“It saddens me. But, anyway. Goodbye, Basu, and to the best of times.”
“To the best of times.”
Basu hangs up the call and put the file back into the rack of clients file and taps a knock on the furniture and says, “Justice.”