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Atanu Ranjan Tripathy

Crime


3.6  

Atanu Ranjan Tripathy

Crime


The Bookshelf

The Bookshelf

5 mins 12.4K 5 mins 12.4K

The college library was buzzing with an unusual Halla Gulla, a kind of commotion you hardly find inside a library. Many young guys have gathered around a particular bookshelf and the librarian was trying to assess the reason behind a mysterious development that has taken place concerning that bookshelf. All other shelves, numbering up to twenty-five have stood where they were for a decade or more. The books shelved in those 25 shelves were intact not having slightest displacements.


But on that particular shelf, at least a dozen books were missing, several had been moved from their position and some books were lying on the floor completely torn or mutilated. There was some doubt that it could have occurred by some mischievous rats but rats could never have devoured a number of books, those were found missing. Neither could the rats change the place of the books on the shelf. Most of the books found missing or torn were all rare publications dating back to some 75 to 100 years. No other library in the country was having such a wide range of collections of books, those were not only very expensive but also out of publications.


The library opens at 10 o'clock sharp every day, except on Sunday and closes at 9 pm much after the closure of the classes in the college. There are two librarians who are very senior and experienced employees in the whole college. Besides the two librarians, there are three clerks and four peons who normally set the books on their respective shelves in the proper alphabetical order assigned by the two librarians. They all are also very regular and sincere workers and in the past 15 years, no such problems or disturbances have ever taken place. They are very much aware of their collective responsibilities and never allow any lapses. In case of any one of them falling sick or remaining absent the rest of the members take care of the situation and never allow anyone to lodge a complaint.


Then who did the mischief? How did such expensive and rare books disappear in thin air? The principal, the staff secretary, the students union president, and most of the lecturers were summoned about the unusual happening and subsequently, a general body meeting was arranged to assess the situation and take appropriate action about the occurrence. Finally, the case was handed over to the police to investigate after the college authorities failed to ascertain the cause of the problem through an official inquiry.


The police investigation began with a bang as they started interrogating all the working staff of the library first followed by making a personal interview of most of the employees of the college who had had kind of link with the affairs of the library. They were pretty sure that the whole incident definitely had human involvement because no beast or any supernatural being had anything to do with books. Earlier one peon who earlier worked in the library but now has been transferred to another section of the college had spread the rumors that some supernatural beings had a surprise visit to the library and they had taken some books with them for further observations. Though a small group of people believed in his theory of supernatural activities the police never heeded the incoherent idea.


In the meanwhile, similar incidents of forced entries into two different libraries in the state with analogous procedures of book lifting and damaging valuable books and manuscripts. However, the police had no idea what motive was behind such embarrassing incidents. Neither any links could be established prima facie to relate the separate incidents.


It took nearly five months for the inspector in charge of the operation Sunil Kumar to find out the motive and the modus operandi involved in all the incidents when he raided a number of old book stores that dealt with books of antiquity and hieroglyphs. Some of the stolen books were recovered from them and the owners of the stores were arrested and taken into custody. Further investigations and interrogations of the store owners revealed the fact that they had hired one particular group of people who either were working in different libraries or had access to libraries in the past so that they had the knowledge of most of the old and rare books available in them. The peon who aired the rumour of the involvement of the supernatural beings in the burglary of the books was one such gullible person to be hired by the store owners. The network of such informants and the nexus of some criminals jointly operated to commit the thefts in different libraries. To create a false impression that it was either an act of some beasts like rats or the secret introspection of some supernatural beings they had destroyed some valuable books. The store owners had also planned in collusion to smuggle out some precious books, manuscripts, and hieroglyphics to some foreign countries and they were in constant touch with some anonymous agents representing some influential personalities overseas. They had planned meticulously everything to earn some big money but the brilliance of inspector Sunil Kumar whose dogged efforts spoiled their efforts. Some illegal financial transactions into the bank accounts of some of the members of the nexus brought up sufficient suspicion for the police to delve into their suspected involvement in the incidents spreading across different parts of the state.


Subsequently, the police recovered the majority of the stolen books from various persons who were also arrested for procuring and owning illegally the stolen books. A large scale smuggling of valuable books was thus detected successfully at its inception and most of the books were restored to their respective BOOKSHELVES of different libraries.


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