A 16 years old murder case. Withered witness and disappeared suspects. An impossible case. Can ace detective duo – Supriya & Rahul crack this case?
Natasha Sharma is a software engineer by profession and moonlights as a writer. She has created the detective duo Supriya & Rahul, two homicide detectives who solves complex murder cases with their wit and razor sharp observations.
Chapter 1: Feeling a cold case coming along.
Inspectors Rahul and Supriya, partners, were assigned to the cold-case unit on loan. They were well-settled in their routine, comfortable, trusted each other with their lives. Supriya earned her grey hair, dyed a boring brown, and seniority, in the homicide department, whereas Rahul achieved his name, and scars in narcotics. They were partnered together when Rahul moved to homicide.
Early Monday morning, Captain Verma greeted them in his office. “Welcome to the cold-case unit. Here, there’ll be no heart-stopping chases, no thrill of fresh blood, but pure, unadulterated legwork. More often than not, the suspects maybe dead, or dying, memories may’ve faded. Having said that, justice delayed is justice denied. It’s our moral, legal duty to attempt to solve the murders to the best of our abilities. I’m assigning a cold case, it’s a drug dealer’s murder in the 80s. Here’s the case number.”, handing over a paper to Supriya, “All the best, Supriya and Rahul. I’m eager to see the results, I’m quite sure you’ll bring fresh energy here.”.
They were dismissed as he went back to bombarding his keyboard with his short stubby fingers.
Supriya and Rahul headed for the first floor, the evidence department. Rahul greeted Vivek, the custodian of the records, “Vivek! How’re you, man? Long-time, no-see!”.
Supriya raised her hand in greeting, interjected, “We met on Friday.”.
“Yeah, but then we were in homicide, now we’re in cold-cases. So it’s different! Can we have the case files for this case?”, handing over the paper.
“Hello Cold-ers? Cold-ites?”, Vivek guffawed, Supriya rolled her eyes,” I’ll fetch the box for you guys.”. He disappeared for a few minutes, returning with a medium-sized carton with the matching case sticker,” Here you go, please sign the register while I scan your IDs for the allocation”, said accepting their IDs.
“Done!”, said Rahul, signing the register under the 21/09/2001 section, collecting the box. On picking it, Rahul exclaimed,” It’s so light, hardly anything inside. Are you sure it’s the right box?”.
“Of course, I don’t make mistakes, Rahul. Please verify the case number against the sticker. I’m not responsible for the contents, only its safekeeping”, Vivek protested.
“Just surprised, man. Thanks later!”.
On reaching their desks, Rahul unboxed the carton to reveal the murder book and few pieces of evidence. Supriya picked up the murder-book, “Why don’t you get two cuttings while I start here?”, pointing to it.
“Always the server? Do you want some samosas to go with it?”, Rahul joked.
Supriya retorted, “Yes, and don’t forget the fried green-chillies and the pavs.”, she turned her attention to the book.
After their breakfast, Supriya updated Rahul with the information. “On 21/11/1985, Chote Bhai was exiting his car, in front of his house, when he was hit with a Glock-19 pistol, on an empty street, at 7.00 pm. Two shots were fired, one hitting him in the neck, and the other his chest. The chest bullet exited from the back, the casing for it was recovered. The neck shot was fatal as it hit the jugular vein, but forensics determined it to be a lucky shot. It was aimed at the head but as Chote was getting out when the bullet was discharged, it ended up hitting the neck. It was the shooter’s luck it hit the vein, and Chote bled out. There were no eyewitnesses, no surprise there. Since it was the 80s, there was no CCTV and limited forensics capabilities. No one noticed anyone or anything strange on the road. Being winter, it was already dark and people were inside their houses. Police were called by Chote’s wife, Mamta Dubey, when she saw him slumped in the car. On hearing the gunshot, she came out running and saw a motorbike drive away with its headlights off. Her attention was obviously on her dying husband, she didn’t notice anything about the bike, neither its licence number nor the shooter’s physical description. She had to return to the house to call the ambulance from their landline, by the time it arrived, Chote Bhai had died. And yeah, no fingerprints were found on the bullet casings. So no gun, no witnesses, no CCTV, a dead drug-dealer, and no incentive from the investigating officers, either”, consulting her notes, “an Inspector Chaudhary. He wasn’t very driven to solve the case. It’s evident from the slim murder book, he maintained.”.
“Where do we start, Supriya?”.
“Let’s start from the horse’s mouth, Mamta Dubey’s still alive. Maybe something may jog her memory. She stays at the same address, let’s go.”.
Chapter 2: Blast from the furnace.