njali stepped into the elevator clutching her purse in one hand and a coffee cup in another. She smiled at the girl in the elevator who worked in the display advertising section.
“You look fabulous!” said the girl.
“Do I? I thought this outfit made me look too skinny…”
Anjali tried to hide her happiness beneath the matter-of-fact expression on her face.
“Busy day?” asked the girl.
“Looks like it. I am going up to attend the stand-up meeting with the editors.”
The elevator stopped at the next floor.
“See you later!”
Anjali stepped out and walked towards the conference room.
* * *
“I just got a call from the office of The Commissioner of Police. There is a press conference at 11.00 AM. It looks like they have made an arrest in the Kamini murder case.” Editor Sridharan, a man in his early fifties, paused and looked around the room.
Kamini was a leading actress. That was until she was murdered a week ago. Her body was found in the hotel room with multiple stab wounds.
“That’s an hour from now!” remarked Anjali.
“Yes. You will take the lead and cover the interview as you have been on this case for the past few days.”
“Ok. I am on my way out. I will call back as soon as I find out.”
The rest of the people in the room got to the other news items for the next day’s issue.
Anjali walked out of the room with her scooter keys jingling when her cell phone rang. It was from Prashant.
* * *
“We have solved Ms. Kamini’s murder case today. We have arrested Mr. Prashant, son of the general secretary of the ruling party.”
All the journalists clamoured to ask questions.
“I will take questions at the end. We have strong evidence to tie Mr. Prashant to the murder of Ms. Kamini.”
The Commissioner continued with the details of the investigation. Anjali wasn’t there at the press conference.
* * *
Prashant wasn’t just any ordinary man. He was the son of the general secretary of the party in power at the state.
Anjali was just getting out of the conference room when he called her cell phone.
“I am in deep trouble, Anjali!”
“Why? What happened?”
“I am being arrested as the prime suspect in the actress Kamini murder case! I am being framed!”
“Yes. You and I know that this is ridiculous. But I think there are people inside and outside the party who want to take me down with this murder allegation.”
Prashant was a rising star in the party. If everything went well, he was poised to take over the reins of the party from his father.
Anjali knew Prashant right from college. They were friends first and slowly it had morphed into an intense relationship. Over the years, their relationship had changed hues, especially after Prashant’s marriage. The marriage was a political convenience that Prashant’s family wanted. Prashant and Anjali continued with their secret affair. Anjali was fine with the nature of this arrangement and had no qualms or sentimentality attached to it. The only thing that she cared about was keeping this affair under wraps.
“They are saying that the knife that was found at the scene of the murder has my finger prints! Ok, I have to go. The police are here!”
The call ended.
* * *
Anjali knew that Prashant was innocent. She was his alibi. On the night of the murder, Prashant was with her. There was no way he could have committed the murder.
It was clear that she had to come out of the closet in order to save Prashant. She decided that was the right thing to do. She will meet his father and let him know. He is a senior party leader. Maybe he can do something to save his own son.
* * *
“You want me to believe that my son has been having a secret affair with you for many years!”
“Yes. That is the truth.”
“Did anyone from the opposition party put you up to this to tarnish the image of my son and family?”
“Sir, the only reason I came here is to make sure that your son doesn’t get framed for a murder that he didn’t commit.”
He clutched his heart and winced in pain. His chest heaved and he fell to the ground, dead from a massive heart attack.
* * *
The entire editorial team and correspondents were gathered around the table. Editor Sridharan cleared his throat.
“Do we have the photographs of all the people?”
“Yes! Everything is ready.”
“Can I see the article draft?”
Politician’s wife shoots reporter and kills herself.
OUR STAFF CORRESPONDENT, Oct 5, 2010–Leading state politician Prashant’s wife killed newspaper reporter Anjali who was covering her husband’s murder case. It may be noted that Prashant was arrested yesterday for the murder of actress Kamini…
* * *
Anjali was shocked to see Prashant’s father suffer a massive heart attack right in front of her eyes. That’s when she noticed Prashant’s wife with a .22 Magnum revolver in her hand walking towards her.
“Here’s a newsflash, dear! Prashant was seeing that golddigger Kamini. When I found out, I decided to get rid of her and punish Prashant as well by framing him for her murder. I got his fingerprints on the murder weapon when he was fast asleep after a few rounds of whisky. I am sorry I have to do this, but I cannot tolerate this infidelity!”
She shot Anjali and then pointed the gun to her head.