The Day The State Split Asunder - 52
The Day The State Split Asunder - 5211 mins 232 11 mins 232
Karthik entered the inner sanctum of the Jubilee Hills Peddamma temple and sat on the floor of the temple premises after offering the worship to the goddess Peddamma meaning big mother. He sat there looking at the people passing by. The whole temple looked fresh and there was peace everywhere.
Adjacent to the temple tower, there is a place where coins are placed vertically and devotees make a wish. Many believe that their wishes will be fulfilled if they place the coin vertically. Karthik took out a one rupee coin from his wallet and closed his eyes, visualizing the idol of the Goddess Peddamma.
'Peddamma, Sanjana and I should be forever. She should live a happy life free from worries and also please take good care of Kiran uncle and also please punish Dhyaneshwar and his son Rajath,' he prayed and struggled for five minutes to place the coin vertically and atlast it stood without falling.
Afterwards he retired back to the place where he sat before and uploaded the video of Dr.Kiran's statement on Google drive to prevent any accidental loss of the video and was getting ready to go out.
Just then a woman came out from the inner sanctum dressed in bright orange sari with a blue border. She came and sat just fifteen steps away from where he was seated.
'I saw her somewhere but where?' he thought.
The woman closed her eyes and was chanting something. She looked simple with no jewellery and there were a lot of holy threads tied onto her left hand. She looked beautiful with a fair face and the long hair extending till her waist.
My goodness she is the wife of Rajath! God you are really great Finally he was able to recollect that woman. God has given me a wonderful opportunity and I should not let it slip from my hands. But what can I talk about? Better I will let her know the truth. Sometimes telling the secret can open the gateway to a new relationship. But did she come alone? He looked around to see if Rajath was somewhere in sight but he saw no one around. He got up and sat down a bit near to her..
'Excuse me Akshara madam,' Karthik said.
Akshara stopped chanting, opened her eyes and turned towards Karthik. After a moment of disbelief, she asked, 'Who are you and how do you know my name?'
'Madam, I know everything about you?'
'What you know about me?' She spoke in a well-mannered polite tone.
'I know about you, your husband Rajath and also about your father-in-law Dhyaneshwar. Your husband is currently the vice-chairman of Godavac Pharma and your father-in-law is the Chairman of that company.'
'Are you an employee in my husband's company?'
'No, I don't work in your husband's company.'
'Then who are you and how did you get to know all these things?'
'Madam, do you want me to tell you the truth?'
'Truth? What kind of a truth?'
'The most horrible truth about your husband and your father-in-law.'
'Don't talk rubbish!' she became increasingly flustered and angry. 'Keep in mind that you are inside of Peddamma temple. If you speak or do anything wrong, she will definitely punish you.'
'You are right madam. But I am not afraid of it, because I haven't committed anything wrong. If there's anyone who has committed wrong, it is your husband and your father-in-law.'
'How dare you call my husband a criminal?' she said with a fuming rage in her eyes.
'Madam, not only your husband, your great father-in-law is a very big criminal than your husband. And I have the proof of it. Just a second,' Karthik took out the mobile from his pocket, plugged in the earphones and gave it to her hand. 'See this video.'
Akshara plugged in the earphones and watched the video statement of Dr.Kiran's. At times in between while watching the video she looked up at Karthik in an incredulous manner. By the end of the video, her eyes slightly welled up with tears.
'I know madam, it's hard to believe. But it is true,' Karthik said, looking at her grief-stricken face.
Akshara gave the mobile into his hands. 'Who is that person? How much did you pay him?' she said through a haze of disbelief and confusion.
'This is not a fake video madam. If you don't trust me, go and find the facts by yourself. This old man in the video stays in an old age home located in the next street. You can visit him if you want.'
'Who is Akella Raghavendra?'
'Raghavendra is a former business partner of your father-in-law Dhyaneshwar. The land on which the pharma plant is constructed actually belonged to him and your father-in-law forcefully took that land into possession by killing him.'
A dead silence prevailed. Neither Akshara, nor Karthik didn't speak anything for a minute.
'Madam, your husband is accused in the murder of HBN-Channel journalist Suresh. The police are investigating it. I know it's difficult for you to take it, but facts are always bitter to taste. Your father-in-law has ruined the life of Sanjana.'
'Sanjana? Who is this Sanjana again?'
'Sanjana is Raghavendra's daughter.'
'I see, so Sanjana is plotting revenge against my family?'
'No madam, Sanjana doesn't know about Dhyaneshwar. She still thinks that her father died a natural death. She was only six when her father died and she lost her mother when she was four. One can cheat the law, but none can cheat God. You might be wondering why I am sharing all these things with you? It's because you are the believer of God and the person who believes in God, believes in goodness and I need your support in my fight against Dhyaneshwar because he is worthy of being punished.'
'No! I can't do it,' Akshara sighed, fighting against the sense of grief that was suddenly overwhelming.
'It is not fair on my part to ask for your support, but always remember one thing, in the battle against good and bad, one should always support the good. This is even written in our holy scriptures. In case if you wish to support me in my fight, let's meet tomorrow morning at this same temple. I will be here from ten to twelve. Please do think about it and also your father-in-law and your husband are not as good as you think about them. If not today, you will realize it one day. But I pray to god to make you realize soon before it becomes late.'
Akshara rose up, painfully silent and started walking towards the parking place without replying to Karthik. She walked faster than her usual pace and Karthik stood at his place looking at her until she disappeared from his view.
What does this silence mean? And what a foolish thing I have done in disclosing everything to her. I shouldn't have done it? But Akshara will never do that. God please let her realize the truth about Rajath and Dhyaneshwar... Precisely at the same instance, one of the devotees rang the bell. Whoa! A good sign. Let's see what is going to happen? And by the way I don't know how Arnold is? I was really rude with him on that day. Once after this issue is sorted out I will apologize to him. If necessary I will even catch his feet. He really supported me a lot many times. Peddamma if my love is really true, please make Akshara realize the true nature of her father-in-law and also about Rajath. Please take care of her.
Inspector Arjun rushed into commissioner P V Anand's office holding a blue colored file in his hand.
'Good Afternoon sir,' Arjun saluted the commissioner.
'Arjun, I was waiting for you. Please sit down and any updates about Dr.MadhuSudhan?'
'Sir, unfortunately we couldn't recover the CCTV footage at the Punjagutta junction. Last week a lorry rammed into the pole to which the camera was fixed and the traffic officials didn't care to replace it again. But luckily as you know the Hyderabad central mall is just a stone's throw away from the junction, they have a camera affixed at their entrance. I requested the manager of the mall to help us with the footage and he gave it,' he took out three photographs from the file. 'These are the snapshots from the CCTV footage. After Punjagutta junction we spotted it at Masab Tank and then it got onto the P V Narasimha Rao expressway. But sir, look at this footage,' he then showed an image of the road.
'I don't see any vehicle on this,' said Anand, gazing at the photograph.
'It's not the vehicle sir, the two people who are smoking near the tea stall.'
'Who are they?'
'Sir, to tell you frankly, I wasn't satisfied with the testimonial account presented by ACB inspector Nagaraju. This abduction is not possible unless there's support from inside. I went to the hospital where Dr.MadhuSudhan was first admitted. I surveyed the entire premises around the hospital and this tea stall is present on the back street. The owner of the stall told me that he had seen this black vehicle. It was parked there for nearly two hours and they started around twelve the same time at which Dr.MadhuSudhan was shifted to an ambulance to take him to the NIMS hospital.'
'Wonderful job Arjun. Even I felt suspicious about Nagaraju's statement. I thought of enquiring him but later I dropped it because he is on medical leave now and also if the criminal got to know that we are enquiring Nagaraju, he might get alarmed and chances are it may be difficult for us to find Dr.MadhuSudhan.'
'That's correct sir. Now the question is where we can start finding from. After getting down the expressway the Bangalore highway is just thirty minutes away.'
'Then there might be chances that he might have crossed the state. Comb the highway. Arjun, I am appointing you as an officer on special duty for this. Catch MadhuSudhan as early as possible. The more we delay the more are the chances for the actual culprits to escape.'
'And sir, what about Rajath? MadhuSudhan and Rajath are commonly connected with Suresh. Can't we enquire Rajath on this point.'
'Just because we are having a photograph it doesn't mean Rajath is involved in the murder of Suresh. He is a high profile businessman in the state and we can't take chances without any concrete proofs. First catch MadhuSudhan because he can be instrumental in joining the missing pieces of the puzzle. If once he comes into our custody then we can pull out all the required information from him. And on the day of Suresh's murder Dhyaneshwar was present in US right?'
'Yes sir, Dhyaneshwar was not in Hyderabad.'
'Then there's no way we can approach him. And also this abduction of Dr.MadhuSudhan, it is an act of complete professionalism. I suspect any involvement of a big criminal gang behind this. Ask Imtiaz to get the details of all the rowdy-sheeters and the gangs which were involved in kidnapping. Maybe we can find a clue about it.'
'Yes sir, the way in which it happened, only a professional can do it. I will inform Imtiaz.'
'Sounds good! Meanwhile you focus on finding MadhuSudhan and leave this file with me.'
'See Dr.MadhuSudhan, please try to adjust for two more days. In short I will make the arrangements for you to shift to Nepal and nobody can catch you anymore. Please be patient for sometime,' Dhyaneshwar said and cut the call.
Rajath walked into his fathers room and closed it slightly, without bolting it. 'Dad, what happened? To whom you are saying to be patient?'
'Your one foolish act is making me catch everyone's feet. If you had told me before, I would have managed without leaving any evidence behind. I made a mistake in making you the vice-chairman of the company.'
'Dad, I never expected that our trouble would come in the form of Suresh.'
Akshara was passing through the corridor in front of Dhyaneshwar's room. Listening to the word Suresh she stopped and stood beside the door, straining her ear to listen to the conversation going inside.
'If you had told me about Suresh, I would have managed to get him closed without leaving any hint of murder. We would have made a truck ram him from behind. It would be a complete accident. Luckily Uday uncle has given the contact of Bhilal gang, else you would have been in jail by now.'
'So it is my husband who has killed Suresh. I really can't believe it,' Akshara thought.
'And where is Akshara? I haven't seen her since morning.' Dhyaneshwar asked.
'It doesn't make any sense whether she is present or not. That stupid lady has gone to the Peddamma temple. Dad, I am not happy with Akshara. I didn't like marrying her but you forced me.'
'Rajath, Akshara has one thousand acres of land in Vijayawada. And apart from that her father has three hospitals in Hyderabad, a medical college in Guntur, along with a sugar factory in East Godavari district.'
'That's why I say you are a fool. Akshara is the only child of her parents. So undeniably she will be the owner of all the businesses owned by her father. I just got to know that the new capital for Andhra Pradesh will be near Vijayawada only. Once we get the thousand acres of land we can start a big venture and those hospitals will be a golden egg for us.'
'I never thought about it in this way. But dad, I am not happy with her. Everytime she speaks about good and bad, always busy with devotion and temples. I am fed up with her.'
'We need to be patient until we have all the assets of Akshara's on your name. Once we get it, we will apply for a divorce and kick her out of this house and you can marry whomever you want to but she should be a millionaire.'
It was beyond the threshold of Akshara to digest those words.
'So whatever Karthik said in the temple, is it right? Daily I pray for their well-being and this is what they think about me? What should I do now?' Akshara thought.
The realization brought a tsunami into her life. She ran down the stairs hastily with tears coursing through her eyes and entered the prayer room.
To be continued...