The Mysterious Mrs A: Chapter 6: Breaking News
The Mysterious Mrs A: Chapter 6: Breaking News
There is nothing special about Aam Ghat in Deoria. It was just like any other village. I had to take multiple modes of transport to reach Aam Ghat. I took a train to Deoria from Delhi and after alighting at the station I went to the stationmaster and enquired about the village. He told me how to reach there and asked me if I was from Deoria. I told him I was from Delhi but I was intending to visit someone here. He asked me who, and I gave him the name of Swamiji’s wife. He knew her, and he knew Swamiji. He knew about the ongoing sex scandal and all updates on the case as of today.
I reached the village with the sun just disappearing to some other part of the earth. I had no specific plan in mind as to how I would handle his wife. If she refuses to see me, I will have to go back to Deoria station and take the waiting room for the rest of the night.
The house was sizeable and looked well maintained. The fittings were decent, and I saw an extensive garden. The lawns were manicured and maintained. I gathered that the family was in good shape and definitely not abandoned or orphaned. A servant opened the door and he called out to the mistress in a loud voice to announce a stranger from Delhi. A lean and good-looking lady, dressed in good clothes rushed out and looked at me questioningly.
“I thought Pyare Mohan had come. Has he not come? Who are you?” The voice was rich and heavily accented, eastern UP accent.
“Pyare Mohan could not come. Swamiji asked me to go. I am Rajesh, his disciple.” I could not have done better, I thought. It came so spontaneously, the lie.
“Acha you are Rajesh. Pyare Ji has never talked about you. Come in. I’ll get you tea and something to eat, and then we'll talk.”
I had no clue that Pyare Mohan was a regular visitor to this house. It did not seem that the lady felt deserted or cheated by her husband.
“Kya bole tiwari ji, maaf karna swamiji? Has he sent some money? Is he ok?”
“He is fine. Have you read the newspapers?”
“I read the news. I watch TV. Swamiji is in trouble, I know, but all will be well. I know he is not that kind of man. I know.”
Obviously, all the stories about Swamiji deserting his family were wrong. He was taking good care of his wife and children and he had ensured that they do not get mixed up with whatever he is doing. Smart.
“Dekhiye, Swamiji ne sandesh bheja hai aap ke liye. He asked me to tell you they will soon release him and will be back at the ashram. He asked me to tell you and the children not to worry about him as the case against him is false. He did not send any money, but he will send something soon. Is there any other help you require? Anything I can do for you?”
There was a fleeting look of disappointment in her eyes, just passing. Must have been about the money part. She needed money for something.
“Well, thank you for visiting us. I will tell you if there is anything I need. It is already dark and you must stay with us for the night. I will get a room readied for you. Tell him we love him and we do not believe in the stories.”
“Another thing. It is possible that people from the press or TV may find out about you and trouble you. Swamiji told me you should entertain no one or talk to anyone whatever they say.”
“Yes, I understand, but very few people know about me. I will definitely take care.”
I spent the night at the house. During dinner, the two children joined us. They were both grown up and looked smart. The girl was older and looked to be of marriageable age. Lilawati told me they were looking for a suitable match. Their father did not want them to study in any place other than Deoria and so they could not study much. Swamiji had forbidden them to travel anywhere outside their district and so they stayed at home most of the time. The children did not seem to hold any resentment for their father for confining them here. It seemed like a happy and contented family.
A few days after my visit to the village all hell broke loose. The police announced that they had received a video clip showing Seema and others discussing an extortion plan. According to the news reports, Seema and other conspirators had done a sting operation on Swamiji and had demanded a sum of five crore rupees to keep silence. This was exactly what Swamiji had claimed in the counter FIR. Three of the conspirators were arrested and had reportedly confessed. Seema was absconding, and the police had launched a manhunt.
The most intriguing part was the naming of one ‘Mrs A’ as one conspirator. The police would give absolutely no information about the mysterious Mrs A. Interestingly, two of the three arrested conspirators were members of the party to which Swamiji belonged!
What should I make of all this? On the one hand, we have Swamiji coming close to confessing that he was sorry for what he had done. The girl in question who was actively appearing everywhere crying “Rape” and telling one and all that the police and the ashram were harassing her and even threatening to kill her had now disappeared into thin air! To top it all, his own party has now been dragged into the conspiracy theory being touted by the police. Swamiji’s bail plea was coming up for hearing in a week’s time.
Swamiji, are you a victim of your popularity or the perpetrator of the crime? Are you guilty, or are you innocent? Or both? The case of the anonymous Mrs A was confounding. Who is she and what role had she played in this scandal? Was she the mastermind? Why was her name not revealed? Did the police know or were they hiding someone powerful?
The media was abuzz with all kinds of speculations. Some papers quoted reliable sources, saying that there was a video that led to the latest unravelling. A video showing the conspirators talking openly about the extortion of Swamiji, and Seema was in it leading the discussion.
Why would the conspirators videotape such sensitive discussion that could expose them? There was this source, another reliable one, which claimed that the driver of a car which the conspirators had hired shot the video. It was the driver who passed on the video to the police; the source claimed. According to the source, he videotaped the entire discussion amongst the conspirators at the request of the conspirators themselves. They wanted to ensure that none of them backed out of the deal for any reason, or thought of squealing about it to the police. If caught, everyone would be punished.
Why did they ask the driver of all the people to shoot the video? And how did the driver steal the video from them? Why did the driver go to the police? There are too many question marks.
I used my sources and took a look at the video shot by the conspirators. It was as plain as daylight that they had been planning the ‘sting’ on Swamiji for a long time. I recognized Seema from her photographs in papers and on TV. She looks very smart and confident. Must be in her late twenties or early thirties and looked quite the seductress she had turned out to be. But for a godman to fall for this nymph of a girl? Well, can’t blame the sadhu, he is a man after all! We have this grand tradition of temptress and seductress, don’t we? Menka, Rambha, Urvashi...these women tamed many famed sanyasi!
The video discussion was very novel and refreshing. There were four of them and they spoke freely about Swamiji, how gullible he was and what a sex-maniac he turned out to be. It was, however, the money part was at the core of the conversation. How the sum of five crores will be divided. Seema had done the bulk of the job and would justifiably be entitled to a lion's share of the booty, one crore. Three others would get seventy lacs each amounting to two crores and ten lacs. That made three crores ten lacs out of five crores. Where will the balance go? You guessed right, Mrs A. Well they did not say Mrs A, but addressed her as Madam.
The mystery of Madam or Mrs A as the police named her should have been simple to resolve as the police had three of the four conspirators in their bag. An inside source, however, told me that the three arrested persons knew nothing about the Madam and only Seema knew about her. The three accused had never met her nor spoken to her. They told the police that Seema hatched the entire plan and Madam and Madam worked only through Seema. Now, Seema has vanished.
I racked my brains to figure out who this anonymous Mrs A could be? She must be connected to Swamiji in some manner, otherwise, there was no motive. Either something that Swamiji had done to her or to someone close to her which badly hurt her. The mystery lady did not wish to be seen and wanted to stay in the shadows. She knew Swamiji well enough to have suggested a sting. In fact, it could well be possible that Seema was not the first woman to be coerced into having sex with Swamiji, and only this mystery woman knew about it. Was she one of his early victims? The lady was influential and moneyed to have organized all this. Who could it be?
I know that Anabelle’s name started with A and she was one woman who had seen Swamiji from real close quarters. I had seen her and heard her story. I also know that she hated Swamiji for what he had done to Mataji and the ashram. All the ingredients for a plausible revenge story were in place and she was my prime suspect. She had reasons to defame Swamiji. She had reasons to stay in the shadows as she was a foreigner. The money, I suspect, was not her main motive. Maybe she intended to take it for the ashram which badly needed funding having lost Mataji and hordes of disciples. No one knew about her, she had never come out against Swamiji and thus had a good cover. She could ruin Swamiji’s life, hand over the money to the ashram and go back to Sweden, without ever being caught.
There was a big problem now for Anabelle. They would catch Seema eventually unless she were to disappear forever. Could it be possible? Could it be that Anabelle somehow spirited Seema away and got her killed? Whoever planned the sting was smart enough to know that the girl would come under scrutiny and would be investigated. Swamiji had lodged a counter FIR claiming he was the victim of blackmail and honey trapping. Three persons have already confirmed this and had named Seema and Mrs A as the prime conspirators. They were not aware of Mrs A but maybe Seema had given them this name, Mrs A, short for Anabelle. But Mrs? Anabelle was not married, not that I know of.
I have to find Anabelle and talk to her. With all the latest developments in the case, she might have already fled the country. Let me find out.