Inspector Khanna was in a corner of Green garden bar leisurely sipping whisky diluted with water. There was nothing to give away that he was a policeman. He looked a sturdy body builder in his blue jeans and T shirt that scarcely concealed his slightly protruding tummy. The sense of urgency and anxiety in his face could be seen through the façade of calm as his eyes repeatedly flitted between the entrance to the bar and inside. The Commissioner wanted the case cracked within two days and from his tone he could feel the pressure on him from very top source.
The headlines of dailies and the TV channels were already screaming loud about the fifth rape within a month and the total lack of safety on the roads for women after dusk. It looked as though in public eye the police were either complicit by their indifference or indirectly responsible for the occurrence of every assault on women. A young woman in mid twenties was dragged two days before into a moving vehicle around 8pm in a busy thoroughfare and gang raped by three individuals before dropping her around 1 am in the outskirts of the city. A PCR van noticed the unconscious woman on the road and admitted her in a hospital. Gang rape was confirmed by the hospital
Normally after initial media attention and the frenzy it created, such news fades away from public memory when another important or titillating news claims precedence. But in this case the highly qualified and working woman happened to be politically connected. The woman could not give much lead as it was dark in the vehicle except three young men between 25 and 30 were involved and that one who raped her first had a button on one ear. She could not remember their faces or the make of the car but said it was a big one as they raped her in the rear seat. Police had announced a reward of five lakhs from her parents for a clue that would lead to the arrest of the perpetrators
Khanna had received a call from an unknown informant to come to Green garden bar at 9 pm and that he would help him in identifying the rogues. The bar was busy with many tables occupied. It was 9pm and there was no semblance of the informant. Khanna had given him details of what he would be wearing. He looked around lazily. He saw some couples, some girls in different groups, three young men at another corner and an old man with loud voice demanding immediate attention. These were besides three plain clothes men whom Khanna had asked to occupy vantage points. They were armed.
It was nearing 930 p.m. Khanna was restless and wondered whether the call was a hoax. After 15 minutes he asked the waiter to bring his bill. After a couple of minutes the waiter went first to the three men to give their bill and then came to Khanna with his bill.
When Khanna opened the folder, he saw a slip “The three men in black, orange T shirt and one in kurta at the other corner are your quarry” The waiter had left the table in the meanwhile. As Khanna stood up, his men also stood at different tables. As Khanna closed in with his hand on his hip towards the three young men, they took out their revolvers and shot at random to scare him away. But Khanna’s men unnoticed by them shot them dead. Two were shot in chest and the third got shot at his jaw ripping the ear and smashing the face and head.Everyone had seen the three started firing first.
Khanna beamed with satisfaction and told the customers who were huddled in a corner “All is over. It is safe now. Carry on.” After his men took the bodies in an ambulance to hospital, he left the scene happily having accomplished his mission of nabbing the three wanted culprits, dead or alive.
After everyone had left the restaurant, the waiter took the button from his pocket and wore it on his ear.