The Honking of vehicles was deafening when investigating officer Samar Pratap got down from the Police Van.There was a wild and noisy chaos with a group of press reporters demanding his response and he rudely ushered them away. The Lavish grandeur of the seven star hotel in Mumbai impressed him as he walked looking at the ginormous chandelier towards Room No. 203.He closely looked at the tensed faces of the hotel staff and decided to question a bell boy who had been the first one to witness the dead body.
The Minister for Health, Shri Vasantbhai Salunkhe had been assassinated by firing a bullet in his head from point blank range.The forensics had not been able to get any fingerprints or evidence. The killer had gracefully cleaned the entire scene of crime before leaving.
It had been found that the minister had entered the hotel room with a girl in her twenties, and she may have been the one responsible for the homicide.
In the CCTV Footage she looked like a glamorous model but her face was hidden behind the stylish huge sunglasses she was wearing which covered most of her face and she also adorned a feminine pink hat to cover the remaining part of her face.
Samar Pratap and his team ventured in all directions and tried to solve this mystery but they failed to uncover the dark secret.There was a rumor in the police fraternity that since the Health minister had decided to ban the consumption of Gutka in his state, the Gutka Barons had ordered his killing and given supari (Assassination Contract) to terminate him. Gutka Kings were petrified of losing their 1.3 billion dollar business in the state.
The New Health Minister’s decision to revoke the plan of banning gutka in the state, justified all rumors.But nothing led to this mysterious woman who had disappeared without a trace.
Three months later The Chief Minister, Yogendra Samarth gave a free hand to his ferocious officer Samar Pratap to solve this high profile case.
Samar started scrutinizing the major Gutka lords and their alliances and even made a few arrests based on his suspicion.Two months of rigorous search operations through his wide network of stooges led him to a henchman named Aslam. Aslam had been offered the supari before but he had declined it considering the magnitude of the consequences,After futile attempts to torture Aslam, Samar Pratap decided to frame him for the murder.
On Hearing that he would be trapped in this, he finally disclosed the name of Zoya. The girl who had entered the hotel room with the Health Minister.A wild frenzy followed where Samar Pratap frantically searched for history sheeters bearing this name.Sadly this too yielded no results.Samar Pratap’s instinct sensed a threat on the life of the Chief Minister and he had requested Yogendraji to keep him acquainted with his plans.
At 7.00 am on a Sunday , Samar Pratap’s phone beeped ” i am going to Aashiyana with my newly adopted child ” This Text message from Yogendraji flashed on the screen of Samar Pratap’s phone and he panicked as Yogendraji usually went inside Ashiyana without his guards.
The Chief minister was known for his charities towards destitute children, he ran an orphanage named Ashiyana where he rehabilitated minor children rescued from prostitution rackets and human trafficking rackets in the city.He gave the kids education, housing and care in his Ashiyana, and treated them as his own adopted family .Usually on weekends Samar Pratap would also accompany his idol YogendraJi to Ashiyana and spend time with the kids.Samar Pratap would entertain kids with his stories about heroic escapades with notorious criminals and he narrated them with lot of enthusiasm and flair.
Yogendraji entered Ashiyana with his newly adopted daughter Riya .
She had joined his office as an assistant two months back and since then had grown very close to him.
He had grown very fond of this Orphan girl who took care of all his medications, scolded him when he forget to have his meals while working.she was inadvertently fulfilling his dream of having a daughter he had always wanted.He brought only those people whom he very closely connected to here.He introduced her to all the children living in Ashiyana, told her their traits, the kind of mischief each one commits and they both laughed at the kids naughty prank stories. The kids immediately prepared an impromptu dance performance to entertain their new guest and lots of fun and frolic ensued.
The Entire aura of ashiyana was full of happiness and positivism. Yogendraji had nurtured this place and grown it into a indomitable enclave.
As they entered the Yogendraji’s personal room in the Ashiyana, he sat on the swing and tried to meditate for sometime. “The smell of these Chandan Agarbattis is mesmerizing, Riya please open the windows, let the sunlight make this room more vibrant” He said closing his eyes.
She opened the windows and a distinctive sound of chirping of birds echoed in the room.
Yogendra Ji expressed ” we are so close to nature here, we hardly hear the birds chirping in the city”
She then took a few steps back gazing steadily at yogendraji lost in his thoughts with his eyes closed and unleashed the hidden weapon from her back-pocket and pointed at Yogendraji’s Head.
She was a cold blooded murderer who had successfully executed many top ranking officials and businessman before.She had been the best in this business and her price had sky rocketed to the highest level and now she killed only A- Listers.
It could have been another smooth conquest for her but YogendraJi opened his eyes. Zoya, (that is what her real name was), readjusted her gun and pointed it at the head of the target with an impassive expression.
Yogendraji was undisturbed by this and his face portrayed no fear.As if he had seen this coming.
He said ” Kill me , Only if you think you can take care of these destitute kids” ” They are my life”
The Expression on Zoya’s face changed to desolate. She could not stop tears from flowing from her eyes
The Assassin is not supposed to have a heart, she did not , and she had never thought that she could have a soft spot for a target.
She was born on the streets of this gruesome city and she had seen many atrocities since childhood.
Unaware of who her parents were, she had lived with a dispassionate beggar-man who only carried her to generate sympathy and earn more alms.
After his death she had begged on those streets for a living and committed petty thefts from time to time .Things took a further ugly turn when she stepped into her teens. She committed her first murder in self-defense killing a drunkard who had followed her and tried to molest her when she was only thirteen years old.
All her past memories spattered across her teary eyes and her hands shivered which made her lose track of her target. YogendraJi was giving a cheerful life to those deprived kids. In each one of those she had seen her own childhood and she cried imagining her pleasant life as his daughter, which was a distant dream. All men that she had ever came across in her life were treacherous and had leered at her in unpleasant ways .She had never come across a fatherly figure like YogendraJi
YogendraJi Spoke again ” Don’t worry . i will never tell anyone that you were the Assassin. i still consider you my daughter and i promise to ameliorate you, just tell me the names of the conspirators ”
Zoya pointed the gun again at Yogendraji crying inconsolably. There was a protocol, The Assassination contract had been given, the money had been paid and now the Assassin had to kill.she could not nullify the supari. It was too late to step back and be emotional.
In the meanwhile Samar Pratap Reached Ashiyana and started banging on the room’s door.
Finding no answer he decided to break open the door
A Loud Gun shot was heard and time froze.There was pin drop silence and a brave officer like samar pratap shouted ” No ” with tears in his eyes , stuck with the grief of losing his mentor and broke the door with great intensity .
To his Surprise, Zoya lied in a pool of her own blood and Yogendraji was still sitting on the swing with tears in his eyes. The protocol had been followed.The assassin had killed herself because she had been unable to kill the target.
Yogendraji felt extremely sad as he had failed in saving one child from the gloomy underbelly of this city.
© Jitendra Kotai