Intersections – Gautam S Mengle

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

Book reviewed by Vathukkat Krishnan Kutty

The author of this book is a crime reporter and this is his first book.

This is a fictional crime novel which states that anyone is capable of committing a crime. Hence policing and to an extent crime reporting is a study of basic human nature. Murdering a would-be rapist in her dream with a broken glass, the nightmare turning into reality as fire in the corridor room of her hotel is a good opening in the novel.

The story is very interesting and absorbing and also full of suspense. The plot grows in stature step by step and till the end, you cannot guess about the real villain.

The title of the story INTERSECTIONS Is very apt as the events and investigations are on the crossroad cutting across one another. It gives you a detailed picture of the murky underworld operations as well as about the system of policing.

The story starts with the unfolding of what is called the Shivaji park incident where a grenade is thrown at a meeting organized by the upcoming philanthropist and businessman Chintan Mehta.

Five people dies at the incident. Uday Mhatre assistant inspector shoots the grenade thrower. the criminal’s head is burst and the running blood and flesh is littered throughout the body of the girl who stood nearby. She, Tanisha is an inmate of a shelter run by nuns and had jumped the compound wall to meet her friends and to enjoy the mela. stupified by the incident she wanders aimlessly and in the night to avoid rape has to kill a brothel muscleman named Daftari. she is rescued and hidden by the inmates of the brothel. The pimp of the brothel comes to know of the murder and doubts the inmates and hurts them. especially Rekha who has saved the girl. Tanisha kills the pimp, Mallick with a crossbar striking at his head from behind. Rekha takes the help of Sanjay Bhatia who is one of their customers to dispose of the body. He gives Rekha some money and asks all of them to leave the place immediately otherwise retaliation will take place. he takes the girl with him. The police are able to catch the arm supplier Sanjay Bhatia through one of the phone numbers from the mobile phone of the attacker which an informer recognizes. Sanjay has fled from the scene and arrived at Kolkata with an intention to cross to Nepal through the border but a car accident foils the attempt. He has a scar on his face due to the accident. he gets freedom from the clutches of law because there is no evidence, even circumstantial to implicate him. he shifts his base to Punjab his native place.

After five years from this incident assistant inspector Mhatre gets information through an informer that three history sheeters have met in a place and he goes to the place and takes them into detention. There was no firearm or any other thing to implicate them. They were questioned and assaulted but no information was available and they were set free before the stipulated period of 24 hours for filing the case and producing before the court. the persons questioned were Niaz Anzari, Usman Kadam, And Tahir Siddiqui. Tahir submits a complaint about the illegality of detention and assault to the DCP Mr.khan by the prodding of another inspector of the police station and Mhatre gets a good dressing for the same. all allegations of assault, custodial or otherwise, required the complainant to get a medical certificate detailing their injuries, which became part of the evidence. Human rights activists were after the blood of Mathre accusing him of firing into the crowd. They were more concerned for the miscreant than the other five people dead. Rules exist for a reason and cannot be bent in the name of getting results. The people need to trust the police and not fear them.

Now let us come to the working of the police system. Now Mr.Mhatre cannot tail or do surveillance of the three people. A less harmful person has filed the complaint to pave way for the freedom of the other two.No police officer or station will help Mhatre to deal with these people. Police duty is patrolling, bandobast, preventive action. There is no time left for other myriad duties and crime detection. The policeman takes to alcoholism to get over the irritation of duty. the IPS Officer

Is primarily concerned with basic old-fashioned policing. police station staff and crime branch were conducting parallel investigations. The day after the suspects were released there was a fire at Sitaara Hotel. It was at the time of Mr.Mhatre coming out from DCP Mr.Khan’s office. Protocol dictates that every nearby policeman responds to an ongoing emergency A policeman first responds to any emergency. the middle-level cop is an assistant police inspector. Two overused ranks of policeman in popular culture is inspector and sub-inspector.

When a fire takes place fire brigade has to investigate and submit the report. if it is arson or suspected arson then only police investigation can start. All emergencies like fire or building collapses were graded from Level 1 To Level V with Level V being the most serious. In the hotel fire two people were killed .one was the male couple in a room, his companion a burqua clad woman was missing and the other was the hotel manager. manager’s death was said to be due to suffocation and the man in the room succumbed to burning.

Tragedy always holds the potential for stories. It was found that ID proof was missing from the drawer where it was kept. as per law, any death is either natural, homicide, or accidental. Time is always a precious commodity, the faster the better. first forty-eight hours most crucial in police investigation. better safe than sorry was a fundamental rule of crime investigation. Nobody has seen the face of the Burqua clad woman. According to Raman Singh First floor service boy, the dead man was having a thin vertical star like an arc in the right cheek. This helped to ascertain the identity of Sanjay Bhatia after comparing the description with his photo. According to Dr. Trivedi, there were injuries prior to the burning. It was his professional guess based on experience. The body itself being set aflame. His head injury being hit violently by a third party. This compounded the suspicion on the missing woman.

The police have mohalla committees, police Mitra scheme, Khabari network. The best person you can ask favor from is your batch mate. It is an unwritten rule in the police force. The police have to make friends with the journalists. technology has changed police working. true caller app help in identifying owners of cell phone numbers. A new sim card is used for a specific purpose and a limited period of time. Hollywood calls it a burner phone used for the duration of the job and then disposed off. police personnel have their WhatsApp group. they keep a comfortable working relationship with cellular service providers. CDR might hold a crucial clue. cellular movements lead to deduction and legwork. A number not in the police database and true caller is a rarity. Scores of suspects(history sheeters) to be questioned, CCTV camera footage to be examined and analyzed, call detail records scanned, forensic and medical reports analyzed, high profile cases like murder, rape, armed robberies missing woman cases. To be enquired the work is tedious and sometimes boring. There was a missing report case from a rescue shelter run by nuns but it was not vigorously followed up

Mhatre follows Gurpreet Singh a transporter and suspect but he hits the bike of Mhatre with his car and tries to escape. At that time Mhatre’s boss Patankar reaches there and take hold of the suspect. Assaulting a government servant has such broad definition in the Indian penal code and that too while on his duty, the suspect is forced to let out his secret. Gurpreet Singh clarifies that he is not involved in anything. He acknowledges meeting the woman with Bhatia and no more in their contact. he suspects Bhatia has died and fears the woman is more dangerous than Bhatia.

Now Mhatre turns his attention again to the woman and Niaz Ansari. He locates Niaz and chases him. Niaz on the run is hit by a hand cart and falls. Mathre throttles him to get the information at gunpoint In the road. Mob mentality is independent of time or place. Human beings, for the most part, will always want to get everywhere first. a crowd gathers and questions the police inspector. The suspect tells the public that he is going to be killed by mhatre. Mhatre in plain clothes tells that he is a policeman and in the melee, Ansari escapes. someone takes a video of the incident and it is sent to social media. As a result, he gets suspended. Now he becomes an untouchable to his compatriots. Special squad need not wear uniform. Policemen have to work under protocol. Entire cases collapsing just because the right procedure was not followed in one small part of the investigation. at the same time, results were not always obtained by following the rule book. Every super hero’s powers come at the cost of great personal tragedy. the public coming to the rescue of the miscreants against the police is an instance.

Oscar Fernandez joined the police force influenced by his father’s writing on them. During his service, he comes to know that half of the encounter killings are for the underworld and that the force was almost

Entirely corrupt and is there for the benefits. Real policing can be very tedious and at times even boring.

He has let a juvenile, Ankit Tripathi who tried to rob a jeweler because of his father’s pleadings and also at the insistence of the jeweler who did not want to file an FIR. later the juvenile has killed two elderly couples.

He felt that he was responsible for their death. he has resigned from the job with guilt conscience.it was the same case with Mathre In the Shivaji court case where five people died. he was feeling guilty for their death because he had not hit the grenade thrower before he opened the pin of the grenade.

Rohit’s father Deepak Garge is an alcoholic and used to beat his wife every day. Not able to bear it any longer, his wife stood before a running train and committed suicide. EXcept for his son, nobody knew this and so Deepak was not charged for abetting suicide. His son became incommunicado with his father, after the incident. Oscar was Deepak’s friend and on his request shadowed him to know his whereabouts. It was due to the late comings of his son and also as he was not speaking to him at all. Rohit had a class teacher by the name of rupa and she took pity on the child and once spoke to him. Rohit took it as love by the teacher. He was under delusions and used to go to the beach, sit there, and talked to himself. One day Chhaya has taken pity on him and talked to him. Rohit had come to know of the engagement of Rupa and wanted to kill HER fiancee. OScar has grabbed him in the nick of time and so Anuj Sodi was saved. On questioning, he told about Chhaya agreeing to his thinking and described her. oscar had also seen the woman.

In the meanwhile, Mahtre and Oscar had become friends. mhatre was able to get her picture from a Bandra hotel. Any big crime has always multiple players involved and one of them invariably talks. MAhtre was waiting for feedback from CCTV pictures from Girgaum Chaupatty. all of a sudden NIAZ came to Mhatre’s house and talked about the woman clad in burqua. He was fearing for his life .he was sure that she will not spare him as he has delivered the item. HE has not seen her face But her friend’s face he has seen that was enough reason for her to take his life. Chhaya has told him that she will kill him if the police get information. from NIAZ HE gets the address of the woman where she is staying. He had to act quickly because it was on the same day and place where the meeting for the inauguration of speed boats is scheduled, the mission is going to be accomplished. Mahtre informs his boss Sharad Patanakar and through Mr. khan gets the program of the Chief Minister and Chinta Mani Mehta gets canceled.in the meanwhile, he has got the photo from the Girgaum Chaupatty station and is confirmed about the missing girl from the shelter who is Chaya.

Mathre rushes to the apartment where Chaya is staying with her friend. Sharad patankar along with Kadham goes to the place. Mathre goes to Chhaya’s room and tries to convince her to desist from the action and surrender to him. he had Patankar as back up and kadham is able to gather more force around the building. Chhaya was holding a submachine gun.it was the most suitable place as it was behind front row buildings and there was enough gap to aim at the Dias. From Chhaya, Mhatre knows that the grenade attack was the brainchild of Chintamani Mehta and he has spent one and half crore rupees for the same. for chow patty action he has offered Ten crores. Bhatia was hesitant to take up the contract as it was very risky. he has told Chaya that he will not do it if some risk factor came to notice. That is why Chaya has killed him and taken the task herself. Her main target was Chintamani Mehta himself.

Mhatre had to shoot and kill her as she wanted to kill him and make the mission successful. Before the actual happening, Chaya has made an email proclaiming that Chintamani Mehta would be dead. The email was scheduled to be sent after one week of the incident.it was widely circulated as per the scheduled date. Chintamani Mehta caused a fire to kill his father to get the inheritance early. He was helping the fire victims saying that he lost his father to the fire.his modus operandi was to act as a philanthropher and thereby get praise from the public and the government and also government contracts. he was the person who most benefitted from the grenade attack.THE audio clip sent from the email id Tanisha. Chhaya had exposed him in the social media. Mhatre dialed Mehta and he responded. He justified his actions. Mathre told him that he is going to him and do justice to his victims. Then he heard a gunshot over the phone and the villain was no more. There was a shocking silence. There is so much to be done in this world, for this world. But no one takes notice of you unless there is a tragedy involved.

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Vathukkat Krishnan KuttyAn Avid reader and knowledge seeker with a curious mind and descriptive skills.

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