“Anna, do something,” Radha pleaded.
“I am trying. I am trying. She’s left her fingerprints all over the local train compartment, where Shruti’s body was found, even on the knife. Besides, Savitri Iyer is not talking,” Advocate Kartik Mahadevan said. “If she’d talk, it could help, since there is another murder they are pinning on her. It is the murder of Rajan, the right hand man of the underworld Don, Suryakant Bawla, which took place on the same day as Shruti’s murder and in Savitri’s place. She should talk. Her parents have appointed me to handle her case, but without her cooperation, I can’t do anything.”
“What do you mean another murder?”
“The police are saying that after killing Rajan, at her home, she ran away and killed Shruti to get another identity for herself. If only she would say something, it could help me,” Kartik replied thoughtfully.
“But how did they find her at our place?”
“When Savtri did not return home from her friend’s place even by evening that day her parents filed a missing persons report in the nearby police station. The police could find her here when some of our neighbors recognized her from the missing persons wanted program on TV. Did she say anything to you?”
“She did not say anything. But she used to have nightmares at night,” and Radha narrated the incidents that had happened, when Savitri used to get up at night, screaming.
“Why don’t you find out more about her from her college and near her home?” Radha suggested.
“That’s what I was planning.”
Kartik’s first stop was the college. Savitri used to commute from Dadar to Bandra and was studying at Bombay College. She was doing her Second Year in B. Com, there. Savitri’s professors found her to be a good student, “particularly outstanding” said one of the professors, since she always stood first in Accounts, a rather tough subject! Savitri’s classmates considered her a good student, too, but not a popular one, since she wouldn’t mix easily with others. She was studious and never bothered to get involved with guys! “She even said ‘no’ for socials, get-togethers and picnics,” one student shook her head exasperatedly.
Having given Savitri a clean-chit for character, one student found it surprising that she had been blamed of murder. “The newspapers are alight with the news. It would be rather bad for her future,” he said.
In the Gandhi Nagar Colony of Parel, where Savitri lived, however, Kartik found conflicting information. Savitri, according to people living in and around Gandhi Nagar was of a loose character. She would change boyfriends like she changed her clothes! Kartik was in a jeopardized condition. He did not know whom to believe. Was Savitri a kind of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde character? Did she have 2 identities, one for college and the other for home? But if so, why Dr. Jekyl in college and Mr. Hyde at home? Why not the other way round since usually people behaved innocent at home and carried on their nefarious activities on the sly, especially the kind of activities that would blemish their character?
In this case, obviously, somebody was lying and that could not be the college students. If someone wanted to lie about a girl’s character, it would be on the negative side only. So, why would a nice girl like Savitri kill a bad guy like Rajan? Kartik could think of only one reason, but how could he get it out of Savitri? It was up to him to prove that she was innocent.
The Iyer home had been sealed off after Rajan’s body was recovered from it. Savitri’s parents were now living in a nearby hotel. They could afford it since Mr. Iyer used to work in Saudi Arabia.
Now, Kartik headed towards the Iyer residence, which was located in the ground floor of the expansive chawl. As he walked towards the door with the key, which he had obtained from the police, he sensed many eyes on him. Something was terribly wrong there. Kartik exchanged a word with the constable, who was standing there and unlocked the door and went in. Everything was left as it was by the police. All the things were scattered around. The Iyers had taken only some of their clothes and left everything else as they were.
There were distinct signs of struggle. Artifacts lay broken at places. Kartik remembered the police report had said that there were fingerprints all over the place – Mr. Iyer’s, Mrs. Iyer’s, Savitri’s and Rajan’s. Savitri’s fingerprints were found on the knife that killed Rajan. Kartik could not find anything worthwhile there. So, he locked the place and went to meet the secretary of the housing society. Since, it was a Sunday, he expected the man to be present at home.
It took some time for him to find Mr. Kanetkar’s room on the first floor. He was at home, but the moment Mrs. Kanetkar understood what Kartik had come for, the short woman started hurling verbal abuses about Savitri. She even went to the extent of saying that the girl had gone through an abortion! At that moment, a girl about 25 entered the hall and said that the Iyers were terrorizing their society and had become a nuisance!