Looking for Answers
Plain clothes policemen waited until linesman Aditya hailed an auto rickshaw then followed as he headed for work in another rickshaw keeping in touch with some of their undercover counterparts by cell phone. They hadn’t wanted to detain him at home or at work so waited for a strategic location along the route to work and cut in front of Aditya’s rickshaw. The rickshaw wallah loudly protested when they did until one of the undercover police thrust a wad of notes into his hand.
“You’ll not remember this happened will you because if we hear you talked about it we’ll pay you a visit!” One pulled a badge out of his garment to show the rickshaw wallah and the second burly undercover policeman put his finger to his lips at Aditya.
“Mr linesman you will be coming with us and you are not to make a sound but come quietly!”
Aditya jumped from the rickshaw and began running, but out of the shadows two men tackled him to the ground. Both rickshaw wallahs took off as fast as their vehicles could travel honking urgently for people to get out of their way in the laneways as they sought safety in the congested traffic of a main road.
Aditya spat as he picked himself up from the ground and brushed off his clothes. “Who are you and what do you want? You don’t know who you’re dealing with. I have friends in high places who can make your lives very uncomfortable and I have a good memory for faces.”
“Well we seem to have something in common after all laughed the leader of the police squad. You also don’t know who you’re dealing with and we have friends in high places who can make your life even more uncomfortable. We don’t need a good memory because we have your face on file!” They produced a photo of Aditya entering the Chief Minister’s office building.
Aditya smiled in recognition and shrugged. “I’ll be out of your hands soon after reaching your headquarters. I presume you’re taking me to the police station for questioning. Once people know I’m there you’ll find there’ll be no need for questioning as I really have nothing to tell you. I’m an innocent linesman who needs to be at work and there are many things to fix today.”
A call was made, and a car appeared around the corner. “Get in!” The squad leader motioned to the back seat and pointed to Aditya. He was sandwiched between two burly plain clothes policemen after a body search for weapons and the other two took over the vehicle from the driver giving him money to find his way back to headquarters. The car sped off weaving its way through traffic to the outskirts of the city.
“Are you feeling nervous linesman Aditya? You have good reason to be nervous.” The other police laughed, and Aditya shrugged.
On the outskirts of the city they turned into a pathway leading to a secluded bungalow.
“Nothing like country air to give a person clarity of mind when questions are asked.” They laughed again and Aditya showed the first signs of nervousness.
Aditya’s hands were checked to see he was secured, and he was pushed inside the building. They pushed him further until they reached a room with several chairs and video recording equipment. There was a bench with feet and arm restraints and some items in a box which Aditya viewed warily.
“Why didn’t you take me to headquarters?” For the first time Aditya exhibited traces of fear.
“Maybe you know some people at headquarters? You could give us their names and we’d be glad to contact them.”
The invitation was ignored as Aditya continued to survey the bench and its restraints.
“An important person will be joining us in an hour but in the meantime we could start getting to know you better Mr Linesman. We have many questions but let’s start with the first on the list.”
They pushed him to a table and put a list of irregularities in the Chief Minister’s office telephone system as identified on paper by Bhaskar’s techno friend. “You can explain to us why these irregularities happened when you are the only one cleared to maintain the Chief Minister’s telephone system.”
“I’ll explain it when you take me to the Police Commissioners building for questioning. You will not understand the complexities of computerized switching gear and I know there are people there who will understand.”
“Who are these people at headquarters who will understand what you did?”
“When we get there, I’ll tell you!”
The police looked at each other in surprise. “Looks like we have a problem at headquarters. Better report that to the Police Commissioner.” One of them departed to another room to phone the Commissioner.
“OK, looks like we need to give you a rest on the bench so you can think more clearly.” They kept him under guard and removed cuffs forcing him onto the bench and restraining him there.
“You’ll get into a lot of trouble for this!” Yelled Aditya beginning to shake violently. He understood from some of his associates just what happened on benches like this.
“No need for any of this if you just tell us what we want to know!” One of the investigators held up a rubber hose taken from the box, so Aditya knew what was coming. The squad leader looked at his watch.
“Another half hour before our important guest arrives. Perhaps a little warm up so you’re cooperative when he arrives?” There was a sudden blow from the rubber hose to the bottom of Aditya’s feet, and he screamed with pain. Then another and Aditya screamed again.
“Something to think about while our visitor is in transit. We have all day so take your time thinking about what you’ll say. Names, we want names.”
To be continued.
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