Nataraj could see that the man had passed out as he was driving to the police station.
Karan’s memories were in a real bad shape. He was getting bits and pieces of his memory and it just was not fitting in the whole picture. And Karan’s guilt was almost threatening to kill him. What he was remembering was worse than almost anything that the cops or his own brother could do to him.
The jeep stopped outside the station and Nataraj could see that the man was still unconscious. Slowly, the constable helped Karan up, who woke up with start looking shocked out of his wits.
“I didn’t kill her,” Karan said whispering, his words slurring real bad. “I luv her,” Karan muttered as Nataraj helped the man inside the police station. “Peas...” Karan was begging to no one in particular. “Someone please believe me.” Karan whispered.
“Sit here,” the constable told the man. “We will wait for the inspector and then see what happens.” Nataraj said taking a deep breath. He did not even consider handcuffing the man. Nataraj knew that the man was too much broken. Far too much for him to consider anything and escape was not even on the mind.
Inspector Varun came to the police station almost two hours later and as far as Nataraj could see, Karan had not moved an inch from the bench in those two hours.
Nataraj took the file and looked hesitatingly as Varun nodded. “A complaint was registered by Lavelle, Constable.” Varun said sounding formal again. “A man in their premises was missing and they are still taking the inventory of the stuff, but it seems something is missing from Lavelle. We have to search for this man – Urjit Sachit.” Varun pulled out a passport size photo from his pocket and handed it over to constable. “Register this complaint.”
Varun came inside and saw Karan angrily and came up near the brother. “I thought you were off the crap after college!” Varun said in a sneering whisper. “Rejection made you take up the drugs again?” Varun demanded.
Karan said nothing as Nataraj came near the inspector who handed over the file over to constable.
“Mr. and Mrs. Karan Terakh?” Varun sneered angrily at Karan. “What were you trying to do? Renting two adjacent rooms in your name?” Varun asked viciously. “You planned to kill her all along, didn’t you?” Varun asked. “Is that why you asked her to come to your office and pick you up?”
Karan was as silent as a tombstone as Varun continued.
“Records the chargesheet, Nataraj,” Varun said savagely. “We received the call in the morning at around 5.30 that the occupant in Room 412 in Hotel Meridia, was not opening the door and that the TV sound in his room was very loud and no matter how much the people in the neighbouring room called, the man inside the room was not opening the door. The manager fearing the worst called up the cops. When the cops opened the door, they found the waiter dead in the room. It appears like the waiter was just going off duty because he was wearing normal clothes and not the hotel uniform. The waiter was strangled by the TV cable in the room. Death was practically instantaneous. In the adjoining room which was connected by a connecting door, were Karan Tarekh..” Varun said angrily, “..and a Ms. Charulatha Sundar. They were registered as husband and wife. The body of Charulatha was found in the cupboard. She was shot to the back of the forehead.” Karan winced as Varun continued savagely, “The murder weapon and the murderer – Karan Terakh, were both found in the scene of crime. Karan Tarekh was barely conscious presumably because he was on drugs. It seems to be a crime committed out of jealousy. It appears that the waiter interfered in the scene and Karan strangled the man”
Nataraj nodded and walked away as Varun savagely walked towards Karan. “Her parents are coming, you bastard!” Varun sneered angrily. “I am in half a mind to leave you with them. And I really pray that they kill you.” Varun said angrily. “I am ashamed to call you my brother,” Varun continued in the same scorned voice. “What was it that went so wrong with you? First drugs....”
Varun could not complete the sentence. Because his brother without a warning pushed the inspector hard against the wall, throttling the man.
“Varun, once, just for once in your life, keep your mouth shut!” Karan said gritting his teeth, his breath coming out in gasps.
The policemen were aghast as Karan showed absolutely no signs of relenting. Varun was chocking as Karan was screaming. “I loved her. I would never...” Karan pushed Varun to a side, pulling the gun from Varun’s holster and angrily pointed it at Varun, his hands trembling real bad.
“Kar...” Varun said holding his hands up, struggling not to chock and was still dragging in deep breaths to control himself.
Karan was panting hard struggling with himself and there was a single tear in his eyes. Varun was still struggling to breathe as he was looking terrified and calling out feebly. “Don shoot...” Varun said gasping in fear.
“Karan put the gun down,” This was Nataraj.
For a second the gun faltered. But Nataraj could see that the Karan’s rage was back. Karan was angry and did not care about what he did. The constable tried to come close to Karan. Karan’s hands were trembling real bad as the constable continued, “You would not want this, Karan.” The constable continued in the same soothing voice. “I helped you,” Nataraj said as the gun was slowly coming down. “Killing him is not going to solve anything.” Nataraj said. “Please.”
For a second the gun trembled and Nataraj almost winced, sure that it was all over for the inspector.
Suddenly the gun fell down and Nataraj knew that he had won when Karan’s shoulder drooped in a defeated manner as his hands fell and the gun slipped to the ground.
Both Karan and Nataraj stared at the fallen gun and both of them were looking at each other.
Without any warning, Varun slapped Karan so hard as Karan’s head hit the pillar behind as Karan groaned falling down.
“Y..y..you tried to k...kill me,” Varun stuttered half in rage, half in astonishment. Varun would have kicked Karan, but the policemen behind Varun pulled the inspector to a side.
Nataraj helped Karan looking angrily at Varun. “He just proved to you that you could not have done this murder! Why don’t you just listen to him instead of blaming him for everything?” Nataraj demanded from the shell-shocked inspector.
“Open...car....trunk,” Karan said swallowing as Nataraj nodded. “The car trunk was open,” Karan continued in the same whispering tone. “I thought I was keeping her safe by taking her to the hotel.” Karan said weakly.
Nataraj nodded as he helped Karan up to the bench.
“We found the gun in Karan’s left pocket, sir.” Nataraj told Varun, a few minutes later. The emphasis on the sir was slight, almost in a disgusted tone. “A right handed man would never put the gun in his left pocket. And your brother just refused to pull the trigger right now, even when he was provoked. Such a man is not capable of killing someone from jealousy,” Nataraj finished as he handed over some water to Karan.
Karan was drinking the water in gulps spilling most of it on himself, his hands trembling hard. “You found me, inside a room locked on the outside. That is the main thing which should tell you I had nothing to do with it.” Karan said struggling to catch his breath, studying Varun.
Varun snorted as Karan continued, “Someone in the Lavelle labs was was siphoning the cocaine used for experimental purposes and using it for creating high grade cocaine,” Karan said slowly, his voice still sounding hoarse. “Charu...” Karan winced taking a deep breath and continued, “She came to know about this and approached you. It was by this time that the someone in the lab realized that Charu was onto them and tried to threaten Charu. Charu got scared and did not come to you. But the person realized that Charu could not be bought. So silencing her permanently was the only way available to the killer. When that person realized that Charu had taken a sizable amount of the cocaine and the high grade cocaine that he had prepared, he knew that it was time to silence Charu. Forever. He got inside the trunk of Charu’s car and waited to see where she would go. And stupid of me, I did not see that.” Karan said savagely. “When she told me about her problems, I did the one thing I have always done. Take her to a place where no one would suspect her and register both of us as husband and wife. Whoever it was, was after her. They would not be after a couple. Unfortunately for me, the person knew where we were from the beginning. He was in the trunk of Charu’s car,” Karan said disgusted, sounding a long way off from forgiving himself. “I am making guesses but these are reasonably safe guesses. He went into the adjoining room and when the two of us heard some noise from the adjoining room, we went there. Charu...” Karan swallowed painfully. “She was probably dead the minute she walked into the room. He killed her from the back and injected me with the drug. Just before I blacked out, the man probably told me that the secret would be buried again. And I just blacked out completely as the man wrapped my hand over the gun, so that only my fingerprints would be on the gun.” Karan said shaking his head sadly. “I am willing to bet that a waiter outside the room heard some noise and came inside to investigate.” Karan shook his head again. “The man killed the waiter too by strangling the waiter and then he exchanged his clothes with the waiter and made away from the room. And before going, the killer just put Charu inside the cupboard and me in the room and left the waiter in the other room and increased the volume to get people’s attention.”
Karan saw Varun with pure white anger. “The killer had an airtight case against me. I had the drugs in my system and the person last having the drug was also in the room with the murder weapon on me. He figured that people would think that I killed Charu for the drugs and the waiter was just an innocent man caught between a drug addict and a woman having drugs, and the waiter was killed for barging in at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Karan said his voice almost shaking his rage.
“Who?” Nataraj asked.
Karan smiled mirthlessly. “Who else would have known enough close the lab door on a timer? The killer knew that by the time they opened the lab, Charu’s dead body would be found with the killer right next to her. Everyone would think that Charu stole the drugs and that I killed her it!”
“Urjit!” Nataraj said as Karan nodded looking a long way from forgiving himself, his eyes looking sad.
“And the worst part Urjit was so right,” Karan finished looking broken. “No one believed me. Other than one good man, no one was even willing to believe that I could be telling the truth.” Karan told Varun angrily.
Varun opened and closed his mouth a few times and Karan collapsed trembling.
“Come on son,” Nataraj said helping the man up. “Let us get you home.” Nataraj said helping the man up. “We need to let things get back to normal for you.”
“Will it?” Karan said still looking miserable. “Will it ever?”