The Day The State Split Asunder - 53
The Day The State Split Asunder - 5315 mins 232 15 mins 232
As discussed with Akshara the day before, the following day, Karthik reached the Peddamma temple and settled at the same place where he sat the day before after offering his worship. Struggling to control his anxiety he circled many times around the temple for almost an hour.
The temple will be closed by 12:30 PM and it's already 11:30 AM now. With every passing minute he began experiencing a high surge of adrenaline rush coursing through his body, getting apprehensive whether Akshara will come.
At one point, he seemed afraid whether Akshara would tell her husband about him and if it happens hell will break loose. The very thought of that brought him out in a cold sweat. Yet deep somewhere he also felt that Akshara would never do anything of such kind owing to her compassionate propensity for fellow human beings.
'Peddamma, please do protect me and everyone,' he closed his eyes and began praying fervently. He then reached for his mobile in his pocket. 'It's already 11:45.'
'Have patience dear when God is making you wait he is planning to give more than what you have asked for,' said a voice beside him.
Karthik turned around to find a man who is around in his mid fifties, dressed in traditional saffron dhoti. He is one of the priests of the temple.
'I have been observing you for an hour,' the priest continued, 'You are impatiently circling around the temple. Looks like you are worried. Whatever is bothering you, forget it. Have trust in peddamma, everything will fall into place, be patient, she will remove all your worries. You will not leave this temple without getting what you want. Peddamma will never leave her devotees in the dark.' After saying that the priest stood up and walked out of the temple with a smile chanting the mantra of Goddess Peddamma.
'Strange!' Karthik thought. 'I don't understand how some can discern what goes on in other people's mind.'
A sudden tap on his shoulder startled him, interrupting his thoughts. He turned back swiftly and was surprised to see Akshara dressed in plain white sari with blue floral patterns and a dark blue blouse. Her hair was untied and her eyes looked tired and swollen clearly conveying that she hadn't slept the entire night.
'Akshara madam!' he said, gobsmacked. 'I thought you wouldn't come.'
'Karthik! Thank God, you are still here. I feared whether you might have left,' Akshara sighed and sat on the floor beside him. It appeared as if Akshara looked more relieved than Karthik.
'Madam, thank you so much for coming, so what did you decide?'
'Karthik, I still can't believe how my life changed drastically in a single day. I listened that things can change in the blink of an eye. An hour, a minute and a second can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes.' Her voice was filled with fury and anguish.
'What kind of a change madam?' Karthik asked, glancing at her distressed face.
'Karthik, yesterday when you told me about my husband and my father-in-law, I didn't believe in you. I thought you were lying. Per contra, Goddess Peddamma has unveiled the true colors of Rajath and Dhyaneshwar.'
'What happened madam? Had they done anything to you? Those people are really blood suckers. They are not fit to be called humans. In case if you have any problems please do share with me. Madhapur Circle Inspector Arjun will definitely come to help us. There's nothing to fear. Tell me whatever has happened.'
'Karthik, after leaving this temple I straightaway went to my home. I was just passing through the corridor in front of my husband's bedroom. He was discussing something with his father and I suddenly stopped, listening to the word 'Suresh' from Rajath's mouth. I stood near the door and listened to the entire conversation between them.'
'What did they discuss?'
'All these days I have been praying for their wellbeing. Rajath of course never cared about me as a husband. It's almost a year since we got married and he never ever asked me whether I even had my food or not, not even once. Despite his inconsiderate behaviour, I never resigned the hope that he will change someday which is never going to come. He married me only for the sake of my father's money and properties.'
'Madam, you should feel happy that you got to know the true shades of their characters. It is still not late for you. You can put yourself on defense. Together we can teach those bastards a lesson which they will never forget until their death.'
'I have to admit, at first, I wasn't satisfied with your explanation. I met Dr.Kiran at the old age home before coming here. Play by play, he described everything that happened on the day of Raghavendra's death and how he has been blackmailed to change the autopsy report. It is only after meeting Dr.Kiran, the whole picture became apparent.'
'Dhyaneshwar's punishment has already begun. As the saying goes, "No sin goes unpunished". He doesn't know that the verdict will only be delayed but can never be averted.'
'I was never happy with them. I have shed enough tears in my life and I don't want to do it anymore,' She stammered. 'And also it is my husband who has killed that HBN-7 Channel journalist Suresh.'
'I know that madam. The problem is there is no evidence which can establish Rajath's involvement in it. By this time he must have created an alibi strong enough to prove his innocence.'
'Karthik, no matter how smart and intelligent the criminal may be. He will definitely leave at least one clue behind.'
'The trouble is there's not even a single clue which can confirm that Rajath has killed Suresh. The only clue that we had was the photograph of Dr.MadhuSudhan along with Rajath.'
'Who is Dr.MadhuSudhan? I heard Rajath taking that name many times on mobile.'
'MadhuSudhan is the superintendent of Erragadda Mental Institute. Three days ago, the Anti Corruption Bureau officials raided his home and unearthed several illegal assets of him. He received a good sum of money from Rajath and we don't know for which purpose he received that amount. We thought by arresting Dr.MadhuSudhan he will confess and Rajath will soon get arrested. Unfortunately, it happened the other way. He escaped from ACB custody.'
'Had it not happened, I wouldn't have got the opportunity to meet you. If I hadn't met you I would have never learned the truth about my husband.'
'You are right madam. Everything happens for a reason. God has a unique way of bringing things together.'
'Also please stop calling me madam, call me Akshara,' Akshara smiled.
It was for the first time Karthik saw Akshara smiling and her smile transported his mind back to Sanjana. Sanjana had the most alluring smile. Thinking about her instantly brought a smile on his face.
'Why are you laughing?'
'Madam! Once again?' she raised her brows.
'Sorry Akshara. Actually your smile reminded me of Sanjana.'
'Wait! Tell me what is your relationship with Sanjana. Yesterday this question didn't cross my mind.'
'Akshara, I am in love with Sanjana.'
'I see! So when are you going to get married?'
'I don't know whether Sanjana loves me or not. I will get to know about it soon.'
'She hasn't accepted your love and you are doing this much for her? Why?'
'Akshara, love is not about giving and taking, it's all about giving without expecting in return. Whether Sanjana loves me or not, I will keep loving her, even if I have to put my life at stake.'
'I wish if Rajath were like you. Nobody can boost a woman's self esteem more than a man. A girl can tell us we look beautiful or our hair looks pretty and it definitely makes us feel good. On the other hand when a man says it, our confidence skyrockets. As women we go through a lot of changes, a lot of hormones and a lot of uncertainties. Only a husband can play a huge part in helping to build that confidence.'
'Akshara, I can't say whether a woman needs a man or not, however a man cannot exist without a woman. Take Sanjana for example, she has pulled her life without depending on others.'
'Not every woman can be emotionally as strong as Sanjana. Going ahead I am not sure how I will be able to pull my life all alone by myself.'
'What are you talking about, Akshara? What do you mean by all alone by myself?'
'Yes Karthik, I decided to leave Rajath. I will apply for divorce. I can't stay with him any longer.'
'Well, I don't want to speak anything about it because staying with Rajath is like staying in hell. I am sure you didn't take this decision all of a sudden.'
'And also Karthik, it may not be possible for us to meet again. I will be leaving home either today or tomorrow.'
'Akshara, you said something about the clue?'
'Oh! I almost forgot about it. Follow me Karthik,' Akshara stood up and started walking towards the exit gate. Karthik followed her and reached the parking lot where she parked her car. She opened the door and took a bunch of papers and a pendrive into her hands.
'What are these madam?'
'On December 1st, it was around 01:30. Rajath came home late. He brought along with him a laptop and these files. I saw him placing the documents inside a safe locker. I thought maybe he is keeping any important documents of the company. From that day on he looked extremely tense. He didn't go to the office and he looked extremely frightened. I never saw him in that way anytime before.'
'Akshara Suresh was murdered on December 1st only. That laptop might have belonged to Suresh.'
'It belonged to Suresh only. I saw the wallpaper of HBN-7 Channel logo wallpaper as I turned it on.'
'Akshara are you serious! What did you find inside the laptop?'
'I found a few photographs on the desktop. I didn't understand what those photographs were and these files,' she handed over the papers to Karthik. 'I found these papers inside the safelock.'
'What are these papers?'
'Karthik, not sure what these documents are all about. I didn't get time to see what they were. Few documents are very old and I saw the name of Akella Raghavendra somewhere in between. So I took photocopies of all the documents. I can't give you the originals because only Rajath, myself and Dhyaneshwar knew the key to open the safe lock'
'I will try to go through these documents' Karthik thought. While flipping through the documents he came across the affidavit copy of Raghavendra's and Dhyaneshwar's old partnership agreement on a stamp paper.
'Karthik, my father-in-law, has made one mistake by not destroying those evidences. Had he destroyed those, there would have been no chance of his crime being caught forever. He thought that evidence would be safe in home.'
'Akshara, every criminal leaves a trace behind. Your one help has brought us close towards the end of the mission. Now no force on this universe can protect Dhayneshwar and Rajath.'
'It's okay Karthik. I hope this will be our last meeting. And I will pray to God that Sanjana and you should get married soon.'
'Thank you Akshara. So sweet of you. Also in case if you wish to meet me before you leave, come to the old city Charminar and give me a call. Please take my number and don't hesitate to call me if you need any help.'
'Sure Karthik,' Akshara returned him with a smile and got into her car and drove out of the temple premises.
As Akshara went, the words of the priest came flashing into his mind - "When God is making you wait, he is planning to give more than what you have asked for."
'I never expected that Akshara would help me this much. Peddamma thank you so much. I have to give all these things to Swami uncle. He will decide what can be done.'
He started on his bike and reached Swamiji's house.
'Where have you been all this time?' Swamiji's servant Raju asked Karthik.
'I went to Peddamma temple and where is uncle?'
'He has gone to meet Radha. Had your lunch?'
'I am not feeling hungry,' Karthik replied.
Raju went into the kitchen to wash the utensils.
Karthik took his laptop and inserted the pendrive. He started going through the photographs one after the other. The images were not completely clear as it was taken from a long distance and the focus wasn't clear. He saw four people dressed in blue nursing dresses around the patients.
'What are these people doing? This is just looking like a normal treatment. I don't see any signs of crime. What is wrong in this?' He then took the documents that Akshara gave him. It had around sixty papers, few affidavits, and reports dating back to the year 1996.
'What are you doing hero?' Swamiji said, as soon as he stepped into the house. 'Where did you go this morning?'
'I went to the temple,' Karthik replied.
'Karthik, I have got a surprise for you. We are going to publish the documentary tomorrow and also the Telangana Joint Action committee has decided to help us in our fight,' Swamiji said.
'Wonderful uncle, and I also got one surprise for you.'
'Surprise, what kind of a surprise?'
'Have a look at these documents,' Karthik gave the documents to Swamiji.
Swamij started going through the papers.
'Karthik! Where did you get all these documents? These xerox copies of affidavits and partnership agreement reports where did you get them from?'
'Uncle, Rajath's wife Akshara helped me. Yesterday I met her at the temple and I told her about Dhyaneshwar and Rajath. With god's grace she decided to help us and gave me all these documents.'
'Idiot! I already told you before not to do anything without contacting me,' Swamiji yelled at the top of his voice.
Karthik stood up in fear placing the laptop on the table. Swamiji never shouted in that way before on him.
'Uncle Akshara is really a good woman. I didn't ask her to bring all these documents. She voluntarily gave those to me. She knew the true shades of Rajath and Dhyaneshwar.'
'Karthik what if she had told everything to Rajath. You, I and everyone would be at risk. I am trying my best not to fall in the eyes of Dhyaneshwar. Karthik, sufficient money makes a person it's boss, surplus money on the other hand becomes your boss and when a person even get the faintest idea that the money will soon slip out of his hands they can go till any extent to not let the money go out of their hands even if it requires killing others and Dhyaneshwar will do the same if he knows what we are doing.'
'I am sorry uncle, I thought of giving you a surprise.'
'Of course this is a surprise but I was worried about you. See you are still in your twenties and there's a lot of life for you to see ahead. I am sorry for shouting at you like that. Come, sit beside me,' Swamiji gestured to sit beside him.
Karthik sat beside him. 'Uncle, there is one particular report. See this one. I don't understand what's present inside. This seems to be the report of the patients and also there are few photographs,' Karthik turned the laptop towards Swamiji. 'I hope you can figure out what they are doing?'
Swamiji stared at the photographs and then flipped the pages of the document one by one. 'Kartthik, this is looking like a clinical trials report. Have you anytime listened to the drug name Deprossovac?'
'No uncle, I never listened to that name anytime before.'
'I know one of the person's who is working at the Drug Control Authority of India. Maybe he can tell us about it. They have the access to all the medicines manufactured in India as well as those imported from other countries.'
Swamiji opened an old diary and searched for the person with the name Ashok. He dialled the number and requested him to provide information about the drug 'Deprossovac'. Ashok informed Swamiji that he will be giving the information in an hour. He then went through the remaining documents.
'Karthik can you precisely tell me what Akshara and you have discussed?' Swamiji asked after having a conversation with Ashok.
Karthik told everything that he discussed with Akshara.
'My boy, sometimes the best things come when we least expect it. You know what this is a copy of the partnership agreement that Dhyaneshwar made with Raghavendra at the time of starting the company. He was supposed to submit all these documents to the commissioner at that time. Had we accomplished it would be a different picture today,' Swamiji looked up at the ceiling in grief, 'Karthik, from next time don't decide upon yourself without consulting me. It can be really dangerous. Don't you see I am the perfect example of it?'
'Going further I will never do anything without taking your opinion,' Karthik then turned the screen of laptop towards Swamiji. 'Can you give me the faintest idea of what these photographs are? I don't see anything wrong in them. Looks like they are just giving treatment to patients.'
Swamiji scrolled through all the photographs intently for one more time. There are around fifteen photographs in which the patients were being given an injection. 'As per the report I feel this to be a clinical trial. I cannot be sure until Ashok confirms it.'
'Clinical trials? That's a serious crime.'
'Clinical trials in India have been accompanied by large-scale criminality as doctors, officials and pharmaceutical companies understand well enough that India is a cesspool of corruption where clearances can be had for a pittance. In 2005 at a hospital in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, 3300 patients were subjected to 99 clinical trials. In American law, such violations automatically attract the criminal charge of battery. In India, the poor don't count at all.'
'Very bad uncle. How can they use humans as guinea pigs?'
'Companies can go till any extent to make money.'
Swamiji's mobile phone began to ring. He answered the call and in an instant he stood up and began swaying back and forth in the hall, raising his brows in between, clenching his fist and making his eyes larger at times. He used only three words during the entire conversation - 'What, Ok and Thank You.'
Karthik struggled to make the head and tail the circumstances as Swamiji didn't speak anything apart from these three words.
'Uncle, what happened and why do you look so angry?' Karthik asked after the call was finished.
'Karthik, there is no drug with the name depressovac. My guess was true. They have conducted clinical trials.'
'What can we do now?'
'Simple, let us hand over this evidence to Inspector Arjun. That's the best thing to do.'
'With this, we can close the chapter of Rajath's. '
'Absolutely! Once Rajath's story is over, we will close Dhyaneshwar's story as well. Put Arjun on call now.'
Karthik took out his mobile, dialled Arjun's number and gave the phone to Swamiji.
Swamiji: Hello Sir, this is me Satyanarayana Goswami.
Arjun: Hello sir, how are you?
Swamiji: Where are you sir?
Arjun: I am out of the city right now.
Swamiji: When will you be coming to Hyderabad?
Arjun: I can't give you the exact time. Why is there anything urgent?
Swamiji: Yes sir. I want to meet you.
Arjun: Actually I am on special duty. Can we meet tomorrow evening?
Swamiji: Fine sir.
Arjun: Ok! I will come to your home directly tomorrow.
To be continued...