[if this is the first time you have landed here, I strongly recommend, you check this out first]
Chandra took in his surroundings, and then he observed his quarry for today. The informer was an old man, he would place him around 60-65, if he had to. Pot bellied, almost bald, and a white curvy mustache, he wore a over sized full sleeve cotton shirt which had patches of sweat visible around his wait and his arm pits. He matched that khaki shirt with a formal cream colored pant which had seen better days. He wore leather sandals along with that garb, and held a small man purse, dangling along his right hand completing the look of a man who had spent most of his life in the generation gone by.
For a moment, Chandra wondered if he would end up like him. He himself was wearing a starch white full sleeve shirt and a dark colored khaki pant with leather chappals to accommodate the weather. He adjusted his perfectly set and overly oiled hair with his hand and dismissed the thought from his mind. He stopped midway into the police station and had a look around. It was hardly an interrogation room. It was a cell, without the bars, that’s what it was. Chandra had to make do with a cell. At least there was a table, with a clean cloth on it, with 2 chairs on either side. On on of these sat the old man, he had stood up when Chandra walked into the police station, alerted by the sudden sense of urgency that went across the Police Station when Chandra had come in. He asked for a bottle of water, 2 glasses, and a pack of cigarettes. He next asked the officer in charge to give him complete privacy.
He waited patiently for the officer to clear the small police station. Fortunately there were no convicts in the remaining cells. By the time Chandra had everything he needed and like he needed, an hour had already passed. The old man had used that time, to take a quick nap. Finally Chandra, sat across the balding old man, looked at him in the eyes and said, “Sorry for the delay…Mr….”, Chandra picked up a sheet of paper to check his name.
“Shankar. Shankar Pandey sir”, the old man spoke out. He had a old hoarse voice, but was immensely polite. Of course Chandra already knew his name, he was just testing the waters. Basic investigative strategy.
“Yes, Mr. Shankar Pandey. You have been calling us for quite some days now.”
“Yes sir, I have been trying to reach you ever since the death of Salil Batra. Its him sir. Its Parshuram.”, Pandey spoke a in spats a sense of urgency in his voice.
“Hold up Mr. Pandey. Lets back up a bit. Who is this Parshuram? And why do you think he is the one doing these killings? And why do you think these 3 random killings are connected?”
“Your last question first. Its because I have been noticing things. Ever since my first tryst with Parshuram. I have been observing and collecting every piece of information that I could gather on him. This is his pattern. Three seemingly random killings, all important cogs in the country’s wheel. That’s how he fulfills the legacy you see.”
“Shankar Ji. You are not making any sense.”
“Yes, sorry sir. I should start from the beginning. It might get a little long so bear with me. I am an old man.”
Chandra nodded, and fell back on his chair. Even though, Chandra appeared calm, he was a little put off by the simple connection that this old man had made. Still the chances were, the old man even though on the right road, was driving on the wrong lane.
“I was serving as a Sub-Inspector in the district of Aligarh, the year was 1982. I was in charge of the area which covered the Allahbad High Court. Justice Chaudhary presided over the courts during that time. He was an eminent and respected personality, and a close family friend to me.”, Shankar paused for a while, and took some deep breaths and then continued.”It was May 21st when he was shot down sir. On the way from his home to the court, Allahbad didn’t have a lot of cars during those times, and the judge traveled in a rickshaw. Guns too were rare those times. It happened in broad daylight, and on a crowded street, but as soon as a gunshot was heard, there was immediate chaos. As you can imagine, it caused quite a ruckus.”, Shankar paused again, opened his man purse, took out his glasses, and started to rummage through some papers in his purse.
He pulled a few out, put them on the table and then continued.”I was in charge of the case. In 23 days, we captured a farmer who had recently lost a case presided over by Chaudhary. He was in town on that day, and had no alibi. Some eye-witnesses even put him on the scene of the crime. The gun, we could never recover.”, Shankar pushed one of the sheets he had put on the table towards Chandra. He noticed that it was a news paper clip, detailing the capture of the afore mentioned farmer.
“Now while the case was pretty much straightforward, something bugged me immensely.”, Shankar peered into his man purse again and pulled out a small weathered piece of paper. “Sir, when we found the body, there was a bit of paper on it with a poem.”
Chandra had to use every bit of his wits not to thrust himself forward. He was sure this was an old man’s ramblings up until now. But a poem? Maybe there was something to this story.
Shankar cleared his throat and read the poem, “One by one they will fall. Kings and soldiers standing tall. People who once held the wall. No one will come to their beck and call. One by one they will fall.”, Shankar paused. Chandra held out his hand, and Shankar placed the old parchment onto his hands. “If you don’t believe me this was also mentioned in the report done by one of the papers. Punjab Kesari, the reporter had friends on the inside.”, Shankar pushed another piece of paper towards him, and waited for Chandra to read through it. True enough, there it was, the same words that he had recently seen written on a piece of paper in Delhi, had appeared almost 30 years ago on the dead body of an eminent Judge.
Chandra was trying really hard to control the storm within. He had an immediate urge to call Agasthya. On the other hand, if the old man was onto something (which Chandra felt he was), Chandra could make a huge impact on this case. And yet, protocol offered that Agasthya be the one to ask further questions to this old officer of a man. Promotions versus responsibilities. Prerogative versus efficiency. He also felt a sudden need to do a thorough background check on this Shankar Pandey. On the other hand, he could eel his curiosity rising. He wanted answers now, but he couldn’t be sure they were the right ones. What should be Chandra’s next move?
[Choice 1: Continue the interrogation himself] || [**Choice 2: Contact Agasthya and wait for his inputs and do a background check**Selected]
Comment on what Chandra should do next. Will add my own comment, when I have tallied the vote. tentative end of voting Tuesday 1 PM.