Prof Bhushan’s murder/suicide
Adjacent to Radhika’s house, lived Prof.Bhushan, an old man in his mid sixties, who used accompany Radhika on her morning walks. They had a strong bond as he reminded her of her late father. Last month, August 2018, Radhika was on a small vacation to meet her mother in Kolkata and celebrate Independence day with her. She left on previous Saturday and arrives on Wednesday night, the day of Independence.
The next morning, as ever she leaves for her morning walk, but the old man doesn’t join her. Thinking he was busy or suffering from rheumatism she decides to meet him after her walk. An hour later, sweaty from the walk she knocks on his door noticing that his car was parked outside, which made her believe that he is home. It had gathered dust, which made her suspect that it has been outside for days instead of parked in garage.
Getting no response to her knocks, Radhika debated if she should leave but Ruffy (her loyal companion) refused to budge. He continued to bark, telling her something. Radhika knew the layout of the house and climbed up to peek through an open window. Her heart stopped for a second. There in the middle of the living room lay the old man in a pool of sticky blood.
She calls the police to break open the door and notices how the old man’s right hand was bloodied (dried) and his left held a gun.
Also there were 3 milk bottles at the door and newspaper from 3 days back.
An apple with a single bite on it was on the floor beside a table with a cassette player on it.
On pressing the button, it said ‘I have nothing and nobody to live for, I am dying’.
Few numbers marked in blood surrounded Prof.Bushan’s lifeless body, 27 near the head, 28 near the hand, 57 near waist and 16 near knee.
His right hand index finger was pointing towards back door (which was locked from outside).
Now, Radhika knew he was murdered (despite the police calling it a suicide).
She decides solve this case herself and starts listing the things she knew about the Bhushan:
1. He was a retired chemistry HOD of Delhi University.
2. He was ambidextrous (he could write & use both left and right hands)
So, was it a suicide? Was it a murder? If murder, who killed Prof.Bhushan?
Who killed Prathap?
It’s been an hour past noon, A few people rose, smiled, shook hands, said it’s been a pleasant time, and then passed through the narrow doorway towards the exit. The hostess, Radhika stood tall and tired. She had a small ceremony on opening her own intelligence bureau and came to a conclusion that attending and catering to 57 guests is no joke.
She was happy that everyone turned up, almost. She had invited 60 guests including her mom, who couldn’t attend because of a health issue; Bhushan Uncle, who tragically died just 2 days before the opening ceremony and Prathap, arguably the most famous crime journalist of Delhi who worked for Delhi Times. Also, Radhika’s College batch-mate and Ex-Lover. She was a bit sad that he didn’t turn up for her ceremony, more so that he didn’t even make a courtesy call to congratulate her on her own firm.
Heck with it, she decided to call him. Took her iPhone 7s and dialed 9-9-8-4-5-4-1-6-9-0, after few rings, he picked up her call.
‘Hey, it’s Radhika, Just checking, I was waiting for you to attend my little ceremony.’ She said.
‘Radhika? Who? This is Kajal, Mr.Prathap’s secretary, I don’t believe he had any appointment today!’ A cold voice replied.
‘WHAT? This is Radhika, Radhika Roy Can you pass on the phone to Prathap, please?’ Embarrassed, she cursed herself.
‘Ohh, let me check. Sir, Some Radhika Roy wants to speak to you.’ Unamused Kajal.
Prathap gets up and grabs the phone immediately. ‘Hey, Radhika, Prathap here, Sorry, I was a little busy, couldn’t attend your ceremony.’
‘As expected, why would Delhi’s most famous Crime reporter attend a tiny ceremony of a tiny bureau?’ Radhika asked.
‘Hey, don’t say that,’ he continued, ‘How about we meet at my office tonight at 8? From there we can go someplace nice.’
‘I have tons of things to talk and ask some suggestions about my new venture, ping me your address, and I will come at 8.’ Radhika replied in a firm voice.
She dressed in casuals and started early keeping mind on the infamous Delhi traffic. Luckily, she reached exactly at 8. But, the presence of police cars a swarm of people spelled disaster.
Radhika rushed inside to find Jaya (ex-wife) and Sheila (current girlfriend) weeping and glaring at each other while Kajal (the assistant) was trying to control the situation despite the tears running down her face.
‘What happened?’ Radhika asked no one in particular.
The inspector who walked into the room answered her. ‘Prathap was murdered. Stabbed from behind. Aren’t you Miss Radhika Roy?’
She nodded. ‘We had a meeting at 8.’
‘Please walk this way.’ the police led her to the adjacent room. Radhika saw Prathap bending over his typewriter with blood stains down his back.
‘He was typing this last, it’s gibberish.’ The inspector told her. He was her sub junior and had a lot of respect for her.
‘w-y-4 i-8-o-o-4-e j-4.’ Radhika read.
The inspector cleared his throat. ‘We have four suspects,’
‘Rishi, he had an appointment at 2pm today, Prathap’s professional rival who got exposed by Prathap for spreading a fake story last week.’
‘Who are other three?’, Radhika enquired
‘The ex-wife, his girlfriend and Miss Ravika, the crime fiction writer. She had an appointment with him at 4pm to discuss about a new book.’ Shifting, he continued ‘She is known for her temper and he for his… well… you know. Maybe, she didn’t like it.’
Radhika suppressed a sigh. How many times had she told him not to mess with too many women!
‘That looks like a paper knife.’ She gestured.
The inspector nodded. ‘Murder weapon. It’s on the assistant’s table. She said anyone could have taken It.’
‘You are not suspecting her?’
‘She called us!’
‘Anybody else?’ Radhika asked.
‘Imran Khan, sub inspector met him at 6. He left sometime after.’ He replied. ‘He was the last person to see Prathap alive.’
Radhika nodded and sat down to write the details.
Tea cup stain were found on Prathap’s desk. He was a coffee lover and swore to hate tea til he died
A empty paper cup of tea was found in Kajal’s wastebasket. She claims that Imran entered Prathap’s office with the cup in his hands, and then he left it in her desk, so she took it and threw it away.
Prathap’s watch was broken and stopped, it showed 6.30pm last.
Prathap’s revolver was lying a few feet away..
The sub inspector may or may not have left before.
Whole table was in disorder.
The paper cup was all covered with one type of fingerprint: Imran’s (they had a mobile fingerprint lab).
Prathap was stabbed from behind, he may not have known who killed him.
Paper knife had no finger prints whatsoever.
Jaya was furious for divorcing her. And she also lost the case depriving her of a hefty amount of alimony.
Sheila was a certified gold digger. But, Prathap wasn’t serious about her. Was it the reason?
Ravika, Radhika knew the name. Her appointment was at 4. But was she angry enough to come back and kill him?
What reason did the sub inspector have for killing him?