The Missing Owl — #8
Next day morning at 9 AM
Lindo — “Sir! Now, what? I mean the entire narrative is changed. Us and our police friends, everyone is in trouble. Co0urt’s gonna penalize us for not investigating enough.”
I was sitting in my easy chair outside my office under the shade of huge trees in front of my house. I covered my face with my hands and slowly slid it down and saw him — ‘Yes, they would! We have to bear the expenses. I know, but… All my plans are in shambles!’
Lindo — “Even if Aravindhan changes his mind or is getting arrested, he was with us. We defended him by allowing him inside our team which means, we are also under the radar of investigation.”
A Malabar squirrel was playing and wandering in a tree, high above. I was looking at it, admiring and thinking. Meanwhile, my friend arrived. She is the DSP who was in charge of the investigation.
‘Hello, Mira! Thanks for coming.’
“Hey, Sameer. Mr. Lindo!” and she sat in a chair near us. She continued — “Too bad uhn? What’ve you planned?”
Lindo replied — “Mrs. Mira! That’s the reason he has called you. We need some suggestions. The judge would first question us about the confidentiality and letting him into our team, although we never knew any background is a problematic thing for us.”
A few minutes of thinking later, Mira replied — “I knew you would respond this way. So, actually…uhn…a thing happened. You might wanna come over to my vehicle.”
As Lindo and I followed her to her jeep, where she was accompanied by a constable driver and an accused in the backseat with his handcuffs tied to the seat.
She stopped and looked at us. Well, we don’t need to look for the culprit anymore. The man himself and she pointed inside.
Aravindhan was sitting inside and he smiled and waved his hand as I went to see him. ‘Mira! How did you catch him?’
Aravindhan — “Well, technically I know I’m not allowed to speak. But I accepted my mistakes and she already has my confession with no scratch. So to smooth things out at the court.”
I said to him with a smile — ‘You crazy sucker!’ and asked Mira about the whereabouts of Jobi and Aravindhan’s girlfriend.
Mira — “Well, his girlfriend is under our custody and she’ll be released after the confession. Nothing to worry about. Jobi is under K3 — police control in Kochi. He can be transferred tonight if we get permission by noon. Tomorrow is going to be a big day, Sameer! Better get your white shirt ironed. I’ll call you about the progress.” and she went back to her police station.
And suddenly every piece of the puzzle aligned by itself and there was not a single hiccup unlike I imagined. The Judge just warned me about recruiting Aravindhan and suggested that I have a strict background check before recruitments. Mistakes do happen often without background checks.
Aravindhan and Jobi were sent to jail for multiple crimes. The poor young chap had a few tricks up his sleeve. Luckily, the girl was safe and was suggested Counseling from a Government approved doctor, and Divya insisted on helping with that.
With everything resolved, there was something fishy about how everything turned out. Lindo suggested taking a break from cases and going on a long trip with the family to ease things. So, I left my mother at my sister’s place and I decided to take my daughter and wife to Goa to spend some time away from all these.
A week later
We started from our house and drove towards the end of our street. At the end of the street is a toll plaza for buying tickets to visit the butterfly park opposite our home and for the Bird Sanctuary pass. The man inside saluted me and asked me to stop. There was another man who was at the counter trying to get tickets I guess.
I got down and went in front of the car. He informed me that the man who’s supposed to buy tickets asked for my whereabouts.
Then the Plaza employee introduced me to that man. I parked my car under a tree nearby and asked my wife and daughter to wait in the car or wander around.
‘Hello, Sir! My name is Sameer. What brings you here?’ I shook hands with him.
“You! I heard about Jobi and Aravindhan’s arrest. I wanted to meet you in person and thank you for it.”
He chuckled and we spoke about the Jobi-Aravindhan case for a while and I spoke on a higher level not divulging any details.
He said — “Sir! Uh. I understand that this judgment is legitimate. But I would say it’s unnecessary. And incomplete!”
He took my interest in that statement as I said — ‘I’m sorry! But it was totally proved that Aravindhan paid Jobi to kill that man Ravi.’
He laughed — “I hate to break it to you, sir! I’m Ravi’ and he removed his Cap to expose the scar that was the result of their fight. That burnt dead body was never me. Of course the DNA results were botched!”
I was silent for a moment! Words never ran through my mouth. My mind is now in flux.
“But sir! Let it be how it is. Everybody thinks I’m dead. I even have a different identity now — Ramayya. Whatever happened has happened. If someone knew I was alive, they’d not miss me the second time. I just wanted to tell you that. And it was good talking to you” and he walked away.
‘Ramayya! Sorry, Ravi’, I called out to him.
I walked towards him and he said, “Sir! You have every right to be confused or get angry or whatever. They deserve the wrongs they did. But all I have to say is, you recruited the wrong person, sir! He was the mastermind of everything. I mean every single detail was constructed microscopically. Hiding in plain sights, like a missing Owl.”
I chuckled. ‘Yes, I know! I sent Aravindhan out of my employment at a very early stage but for a different reason. He was barely involved in the case as an Investigator.’
He replied — “Oh, Sorry! I was talking about your other recruit — Mr. Lindo”