Tag Archives: postmortem

Whodunnit: Fictional Relief of Frustration – Part IV

Part IV: Continued from Part III:

Recap:
Five auto-rickshaw drivers are mysteriously killed on the road over a week. The passenger of the first auto-rickshaw, Maanvi Sharma, potentially provided a clue of a bike driver being the potential suspect. The investigating police sub-inspector D. K. Gowda had received a note from the supposed killer which explained the reason for the murders. The supposed killer wanted the auto-rickshaw drivers to drive responsibly & strictly follow traffic rules. Now there’s news about an accident involving two cabs on HAL Airport road.

Alongwith the auto-rickshaw drivers, cab drivers who ferry the various company staff across the city, were also the worst drivers on the road. Unlike an auto-rickshaw, which cannot go very fast, the cab drivers drove their ‘racing cars‘ recklessly on the city ‘tracks‘. Numerous accidents caused by cab drivers were reported on a daily basis, and even otherwise – with their constant honking, menacing driving, blatant & consistent breaking of rules; the cab drivers *were* a serious nuisance on the road.

There was something unusual about this accident worrying Gowda, otherwise he wouldn’t have been informed about it. He was getting anxious as his jeep closed on to the HAL Airport (Old Airport) road – Victoria Road – Trinity Church Road junction.

The junction is a T-Junction where the HAL Airport road ends and the Victoria road starts, while the Trinity Church road causes the perpendicular split & connects them to the M.G. Road. The traffic signal regulates vehicles coming from the old Airport end taking a right turn on to the Trinity Church road, or continue straight on to the Victoria Road. Similarly, Vehicles coming from the Victoria Layout end can take a left on to the Trinity Church Road or continue straight on to the HAL Airport road.

Gowda got down from his jeep and walked towards the crowd gathered near the road coming from the Trinity Church road and turning left on to the HAL Airport road. He could see a white Tata Indica (car) crashed in to the right-side of a white Tata Sumo (multi-utility vehicle). Both the vehicles were badly damaged with the impact. Both the vehicles were cabs, most-likely ferrying IT/BT/BPO employees. There were a couple of police constables and a traffic constable already there. One of the police constable rushed over to Gowda and saluted him.

“Namaskara Sir, we had reported this & called for you.”

Gowda nodded, “Hmm… When did this happen?”

The constable replied, “This happened about an hour ago. We reached here about 30 minutes back, after we received the message broadcast. The traffic constable had first reported this.” He pointed to the traffic constable, called him over and continued, “Sir, the Tata Indica driver was coming from the Victoria road, crossing the signal to get on to the old Airport road, when this happened. The Indica driver was shot in the head, so we were called.”

The constable looked at Gowda’s face, expecting for some reaction. However, Gowda was busy inspecting the two vehicles. Without any expressions, he asked, “Is he alive?”

The constable replied, “No sir, he is dead. Both vehicle drivers are dead sir. We were doing the panchanama when you arrived.”

By that time, the traffic constable had reached them. He saluted Gowda and looked at the police constable, who continued, “After the driver was shot, he seems to have lost control of his vehicle. He probably floored the accelerator of the car turned left to crash into the Tata Sumo which was coming from the Trinity Church road and taking the left turn to get on to the HAL Airport road.”

Gowda slowly nodded his head, then turned to the traffic constable and asked him, “Where were you when this happened?”

The traffic constable immediately replied, “I was right here sir, managing the traffic. I was on the road median facing & guiding the vehicles coming from the Airport road when I heard a loud noise from behind. I turned around and saw the Indica and the Sumo had crashed.”

Gowda asked him, “Were there any passengers in the Indica or the Sumo? Were any other people hurt in this?”

The traffic constable replied, “Yes sir, there was one passenger in the Sumo. He’s not hurt as much, only some scratches. He was sitting on the left seat behind the driver.”

Gowda asked him again, “Any other passengers or passers-by hurt?”

The traffic constable replied, “No sir, no one else. The Indica was empty.”

Gowda turned to the police constable, “Where’s the passenger? Did you speak to him?”

The police constable said, “Yes sir, we spoke to him… that’s how we got to know that the driver was shot at.”

Gowda exclaimed, “What? Did he see someone shoot the driver? Where is he?”

The police constable said, “Yes sir, he’s there on the footpath.” They start walking towards the footpath.

The constable continued, “He said he saw someone riding a bike shoot the driver. The bike was waiting to take a right turn from the Airport road on to the Trinity Church road. After shooting the bike immediately sped away from the spot, he says.”

They reached the footpath and searched for the passenger. He was sitting below a tree with a handkerchief tied to his forehead. He had a bottle of water in his hand and looked calm.

Gowda held his hand out and said, “Hello, I’m sub-inspector Gowda. How are you feeling now?”

The man, seemed to be about 30 years old, shook his hand and said, “Hello sir, I’m Amit Joshi. I’m okay now, thank you.” He looked at his left elbow and lightly touched his forehead.

Gowda said, “Okay, good. Where do you work?”

Amit replied, “I work with Citibank, on Hayes Road, and I stay at Marathahalli. I was on my way home, after my shift, when this happened.”

He continued after a pause, “I saw someone shoot at the Indica sir. He was riding a bike.”

He took a pause again, wondering if he should continue talking or stop.

Gowda, looking at him in the eye, said, “Yes, continue… I want to know what you saw. Tell me in detail.”

Amit continued, “Sir, we were coming from this side”, showing his hand towards the Trinity Church road, “and the signal had just turned green for us and my driver continued to take the turn quickly as there was no vehicle ahead of us.”

“I was slightly worried and was anxiously looking at the traffic coming from the Victoria Layout end. Their signal had turned red, but still the last 2-3 vehicles were speeding through the signal, towards us. One of them was this Indica. As soon as the Indica was at the center of the road junction, I saw a bike rider standing at the signal, point a gun towards the Indica. I think he shot from the gun & after that, I saw the Indica lose control and hurtling towards us. It crashed into us and then I don’t remember anything until I was being pulled out from the wreck by this traffic constable and one other person. I’m not hurt much, but these policemen tell me my driver is dead.”

Gowda nodded. He said, “Yes, unfortunately he’s dead. Did you see the bike rider properly? What bike was it? What was he wearing? Was he wearing a helmet or did you see his face?”

Amit replied, “I only saw the rider for a fraction of a second. I only remember he was riding a black Enfield Bullet and was wearing a black or gray jacket. He wore a helmet, so I didn’t see his face.”

Amit continued, after a pause, “And yes, the rider had a cream or brown coloured bag kept in the front, on the bike’s fuel tank, where he quickly put the gun back before speeding away. I couldn’t understand anything at that time, and was more concerned about the cab approaching us.”

Gowda nodded, “Yes, I can understand. Do you recollect anything else? Anything written on his jacket or bag? Some logo or picture?”

Amit shook his head, “No sir, all this while after I was pulled out of the Sumo, I was thinking about the same thing. Whatever I could recollect I’ve just told you sir.”

Gowda replied, “Okay. Fine. Do you want to visit a doctor & get yourself checked?”

Amit replied, “No… no sir, I’m fine. I just want to go home now. Can I leave? I will hire an auto-rickshaw.”

Gowda called the police constable, “Take his name, address, phone numbers & get him an auto-rickshaw to go to Marathahalli.”

He then wrote something on a chit of paper, turned to Amit and said, “Give the constable your contact details. And, here’s my cell number. If you recollect anything else, feel free to give me a call anytime. Thank you, and take care of yourself.”

After Amit left, Gowda called the traffic constable near, and asked him, “Didn’t you hear any gun-shot sound from where you were standing? It seems you were close to the bike rider?”

The constable replied, “Sir, I might have heard – but didn’t notice it. Many times, vehicle tyres burst and even some vehicles, especially auto-rickshaws, while starting make abrupt loud noises… These sound like crackers bursting. So, I may have heard it, but didn’t give any attention to it sir.”

Gowda said, “Hmm… Is this signal mounted with a CCTV camera, & monitored at the Ashok Nagar police station?”

The constable shook his head, “No sir, not this one.”

Gowda brushed his hair with his right hand; he was deep in thought. This was *again* leading him nowhere. There were thousands of Enfield Bullet bikes on Bangalore’s roads. He still needed some better leads to solve this.

It also seemed like the Indica driver drove past a red signal, just before the vehicles from the Old Airport road were about to take the right turn on to the Trinity Church road. Their signal would’ve just turned green; so the bike rider *must* have been ready to shoot, with his bike engine running, before the Indica drove in front of him.

The killer also seemed to be a trained/expert shooter. He could hit moving targets with accuracy. Most of his shots were on the head, giving little or no chance of survival. Once he shot at the driver here today, all he had to do was keep the smoking gun in his bag, change the bike’s gear and accelerate away.

There must’ve been other vehicles behind him who must’ve seen him shoot and speed away. But no one there, waited to tell the story. These killings were also causing a serious risk to the other vehicles on the road and passers-by.

The next day morning, he was surprised to see the newspaper’s front page reporting the cabs accident and the driver’s murder. It had also published a letter received by most of the newspaper offices, purportedly written by the killer. The letter’s content as well as its photograph was published and it was formed with words cut out from a newspaper or a magazine, just like before. The words were again stuck to a paper in correct sequence of the words to form a sentence. It read:

This is my NO-TOLERANCE MOVEMENT.

This time I got two birds with just one shot! The cab driver drove through the red signal; I drove a bullet through his skull.

My hit count is six, but total deaths are seven. Very low ‘statistics’ as compared to the perpetrators on the roads. So, treat this as an open warning to *everyone* on the road. Henceforth, I will not target auto or cab drivers only, now *ALL* the rash drivers are on my hit-list. If I see you break a rule, you will be shot at, 24x7x365. Simple.

Remember & obey the following 10 simple rules:

1. Strictly follow lane discipline. Do not change lanes without prior indication to the vehicles behind & in front of you.

2. Do not drive through red or amber signals. Respect the traffic signals, obiediently.

3. Do not honk unnecessarily. Honk *only* to inform other vehicles, not to SHOUT at them.

4. Slow down & HONK before a road crossing, and every time you take a blind turn.

5. Respect & give way to people crossing the road. Its their right to walk, while driving is a privilege given to you.

6. Needless to say, DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE.

7. As well as, DO NOT SPEAK ON YOUR CELLPHONE WHILE DRIVING.

8. Do not drive on the wrong side of the road, or especially on the footpath, even for a short distance.

9. Do not drive rashly in a personal rush/emergency; if you’re late for your appointment/work, its not the others’ problem.

10. Follow all traffic rules, and do not bribe traffic policemen to avoid penalty/punishment when you flout the rules. I will shoot both of you dead.

No one knows me. No one has seen me. Don’t dismiss my warnings here, I shoot quite accurately & discreetly. Strictly follow my instructions above, and stay alive.

Soon, there will be many more people like me, monitoring the roads in Bangalore & shooting at anyone who dares disobey my instructions. After here, we will move to other cities in India.

JAI HIND!

With a little grin on his face, Gowda read the associated article. He said to himself, “I think, I like this guy!”

(End of Part IV)
Go to the last part, Part V

Whodunnit: Fictional Relief of Frustration – Part III

Part III: Continued from Part II:

Recap:
Two auto-rickshaw drivers are mysteriously killed on the road over a period of two days. They both were driving at crowded places when they were killed & lost control over their respective vehicles. The passenger of the first auto-rickshaw, Maanvi Sharma, potentially provided a clue of a bike driver being the suspect. The investigating police sub-inspector D. K. Gowda has received the postmortem reports of both the driver’s bodies & they corroborate Gowda’s thought that both the killings are related & done by the same person.

Early morning the next day, a constable walked over to Gowda’s desk and handed over an envelope to him. It was addressed to the Adugodi police station and had arrived by post. Gowda turned it over to see the post-office’s seal on it. It read “Koramangala Post Office” and was posted the day before yesterday, that is – on the day of the second murder. He slit open the envelope and pulled out a paper which some pieces of paper stuck on it. The pieces seemed to form a message created by using printed words cut and pasted in a sequence to form the sentences, and read:

The two auto drivers were killed because they were rash drivers and had almost got me hurt or killed on the road. I was barely saved, others may not be so lucky, so I killed them to save the others. I do not want to hurt or cause worry to any passengers and I will do my best not to hurt them. As passengers, they should act responsibly and stop the auto drivers from rash driving and/or breaking traffic rules. Henceforth any rash auto drivers I encounter, will be shot dead… INSTANTLY. Enough is enough! All auto drivers should strictly follow the traffic rules, obey the signals, show respect to other drivers on the road and drive safely; IF THEY WANT TO STAY ALIVE!

Gowda noticed that the words were cut out from newspaper or magazine articles and cleanly glued on a plain paper in the correct sequence to form the sentences with appropriate punctuation marks. The sentences seemed grammatically accurate, opening up the possibility of an educated & professional person ‘writing’ it!

He thought, “Its quite likely that the bike rider that Maanvi’s reported could’ve killed these two. The reason fits now, though a petty one, but his frustration on auto-rickshaw drivers seems to be on the last stage, not allowing him to ignore/forgive!”

Alongwith the motive behind the killings clarified, the person also seemed to be inspired from Kamal Haasan’s movie “Indian“, where a veteran freedom fighter (Senapati) takes upon a task to ‘clean’ the corrupt government departments by murdering all the corrupt government employees found harassing the public.

Gowda thought, “What will he or she do next? There are close to a lakh auto-rickshaws in Bangalore. A majority of them, rather all of them, break the traffic rules day in and day out. The killer doesn’t even wait for any explanation or reasoning and just shoots down an offending auto-rickshaw driver. He or she seems to be an extremely frustrated person, possibly had some very bad experience with auto-rickshaw drivers. He or she seems to be a regular traveller between Adugodi & Koramangala, quite likely working at Koramangala, as the murders were done in the morning when typically people are on their way to the office. We need to patrol that road thoroughly and even caution *all* the auto-rickshaw drivers in Bangalore about this. What is the best way for me to do that?…”

As if in answer to his question, a few crime reporters rushed in and thronged Gowda’s desk. They started asking him for more information about the two auto-driver murders. Gowda told them that the investigation was in progress and that he had just received an anonymous note from the killer. He told them that both murders were linked and done by the same person, as per the note. On insistence from the reporters, he showed them the note from the killer.

The next day, all the newspapers carried this story on their front page with pictures of the killer’s note to the police and with the regular sentimental masala about the murdered auto-rickshaw drivers’ families & their conditions.

The auto-rickshaw drivers in Bangalore started to panic, with many of them not plying their vehicles that day. Later during that day, the Chief Minister visited the families of the auto-drivers and promised them a cash compensation of Rs.1 Lakh each from the government. He also faced the other auto-rickshaw drivers’ ire over the murders.

The auto-rickshaw drivers’ union representatives also confronted the chief minister, and threatened the CM with an auto-rickshaw strike on the next day, if the killer wasn’t caught. They blamed the inability of the police to secure “innocent citizens” in broad daylight.

The CM tried to pacify their anger, saying the police are investigating the case on priority and that they were tracing the clues to the killer. He said, the killer will soon be caught and put behind bars.

He also asked them to communicate to all the auto-rickshaw driver unions & all their members to maintain their calm and not to break any traffic rules. They should all avoid provoking the killer, until he or she is traced & nabbed by the police.

A couple of days later, with three more auto-rickshaw drivers shot dead – the situation wasn’t in Gowda’s (or rather anyone’s) control. The auto-rickshaw driver unions had called for a second day strike today to oppose the murders, and there were very few auto-rickshaws plying today. Those auto-rickshaws on the road, were driving very carefully – taking care not to offend any other drivers. They had suddenly turned very polite and stopped quarrelling with any other drivers & passengers.

Gowda’s station got an urgent message from their central communication department reporting an accident involving two cabs (taxis) on the old airport road.

Gowda thought, “Oh my god! Now what? Cab drivers?? They *are* the rudest lot on the roads!”

(End of Part III)
Go to Part IV

Whodunnit: Fictional Relief of Frustration – Part II

Part II: Continued from Part I:

Recap:
An auto-rickshaw driver is shot dead by a mysterious killer near the Adugodi signal, while he was driving his passenger, Maanvi Sharma, to the Forum Mall. Though there’s a bad accident after the driver loses control, Maanvi escapes without any major injuries & informs the investigating police sub-inspector D. K. Gowda about an altercation between the auto-rickshaw driver & a bike rider a little while before the accident. She said she thought that the bike rider in a dark gray jacket & a small brown bag on his shoulders could have shot the driver.

PSI D.K. Gowda hung up the call and jotted down the first description of the potential suspect received from Maanvi, though he couldn’t digest the thought that the bike rider could shoot down the auto-driver for such a petty reason. However, he couldn’t ignore any leads & any clues to a potential suspect. With the bike rider in the back of his mind, he left the police station to go to the accident spot to further enquire with the shopkeepers & residents in that area.

After about an hour and after speaking to atleast a dozen shopkeepers & a couple of residents, he concluded that none of the shopkeepers or residents saw anything untoward until the accident occurred. They also did not notice any peculiar person on the road-side. Being a busy road as well as a busy market place, all this sounded pretty weird, but it really seemed like no one saw what actually happened. For someone to shoot a person – while both of them are moving, and with such accuracy to hit the head – he had to be a professional shooter. It was unlikely for such a professional shooter to shoot down a simple auto-rickshaw driver, while riding a bike. So it was quite possible that the shot was fired by someone standing on the road-side. It was also possible that the shot was fired to kill someone else at the location at that time, while it mistakenly hit the driver.

The loud ringtone of his cell phone interrupted his flow of thought – there was a call from his station. He picked up the call, it was one of his constables from the station. He spoke with the constable for less than a minute, and rushed back into his jeep. He asked his driver constable to rush to the Koramangala Water Tank, about 2.5-3.0 kilometers away.

On reaching the St. John’s signal next to the Koramangala Water Tank on Sarjapur Road, he pointed to a crowd standing about 150-200 metres after the signal, “Take me over there.”

The driver drove towards the crowd & stopped the jeep close to the crowd. Gowda saw an auto-rickshaw which had crashed into the trunk of a big tree at the edge of the road. He alighted from the jeep and pushed aside a few people from the crowd to make way for himself. As soon as some of the people saw him, they themselves moved aside, making way for him to reach the accident spot.

The vehicle’s front body was badly damaged due to the collision, so the driver seemed to have been at a high speed. On taking a closer look, Gowda saw that there was no passenger, but the driver was still in his seat crushed by the vehicle’s front body!

Nobody could’ve survived in that position Gowda thought, and that was also probably why no one from the crowd had touched the driver – fearing he was already dead. However, Gowda called up his station & asked them to urgently send an ambulance and a couple of constables to the accident site. He then asked 2-3 people from the crowd to help pull out the driver from the vehicle. They broke off some leftover glass from the wind shield & pulled up the front of the auto-rickshaw with the help of the wind shield’s side bars. Slowly, they pulled out the profusely bleeding driver and laid him on the footpath next to the vehicle.

Gowda inspected the driver, checked for his pulse – there was none, checked his nostrils to check for his breath – but no sensation there as well. He also noticed that there was a deep injury in the head, it seemed like something had pierced through the back of his head and caused a serious injury.

“Could this be a bullet injury? Is this linked to the first murder at Adugodi? Is this the work of a serial killer targetting auto-rickshaw drivers?”

With such thoughts racing through his mind, Gowda loudly asked the people gathered, “Was there any passenger in the auto-rickshaw with him?”

A few people shook their head and replied, “No sir…”

Within another couple of minutes, the ambulance arrived. Gowda asked the paramedics to check the driver, if he was alive. They immediately tried to check if he was still alive, however finally concluded that the driver was already dead.

Gowda asked them to take the dead body & conduct the post-mortem on it. He would now have to wait until the report arrived the next day, to ascertain the cause of the death as well as the cause of the deep head injury.

By this time, his constables also arrived & with them he cordoned the site and started searching for any clues around the crashed vehicle.

He asked the people from the crowd, “Who saw the accident happen?”

A couple of men raised their hand and walked towards Gowda. He asked them to relate what had happened.

One of the men started narrating, “I was standing at the bus-stop here waiting for my bus to go to Bellandur. When the traffic signal turned green for the traffic coming from Madiwala check post, all the vehicles started rushing. There were 3-4 buses in the vehicles and I got busy checking if any of the buses would ply to Bellandur. And within a few seconds I saw the auto-rickshaw suddenly come out from behind one of the buses and directly went & hit the tree. Luckily there were no people standing there, as well as the auto-rickshaw was empty. There was a loud noise and the wind shield glass shattered.”

Gowda looked at him inquisitively, “Was the auto-rickshaw at a high speed?”

Both the men shook their heads & almost replied together, “No sir, it was not fast…”

Gowda looked at both of them, still patiently listening & waiting to hear more…

The second man continued, “But generally like what happens when the signal turns green, all the vehicles rush out fast; similarly the auto-rickshaw was behind the private bus along with other vehicles. He probably was driving towards the left to search for a passenger near this bus-stop, as he was driving empty.”

Gowda said, “Okay, so where were you standing?”

The second man replied, “Over there sir… near that gate sir…” & pointed to the white gate of a house on the service road, parallel to the main Sarjapur road.

“I work there, and had come out to smoke a cigarette… I was almost done, when I heard the crashing noise and saw the auto-rickshaw had hit the tree. I saw the driver was in it, and ran toward it to help. But when I reached there, I was afraid to pull out the driver, as he was badly stuck up in the crashed vehicle’s front body.”

Gowda asked him, “When you saw the driver, was he alive? Was he moving?”

The man replied, “No sir, he was not moving… I don’t know if he was alive, but he made no sound or movement.”

Gowda further asked him, “Did you hear any other peculiar noise before the accident’s sound? Like a gun shot or small blast or so?”

The man shook his head and replied, “No sir… The traffic was very noisy as it is… I didn’t hear any other sound sir…”

Gowda asked, “What other vehicles were next to the auto-rickshaw? Did you see them?”

The man replied, “There were many bikes along with the auto-rickshaw, and a bus that was before it.”

Gowda exhaled heavily & asked them both, “Do you remember anything else?”

Both of them shook their heads again & replied, “No sir… nothing else.”

Gowda looked behind and called out for one of his constables. Then turned back to them and said, “Give your full name, residential address and phone numbers to him. We may call you up, if necessary. And if you recollect anything else, absolutely anything, do call me.”

The two men nodded back.

He turned to his constable and instructed him, “Take their details, and give them my contact number.”

Gowda further instructed the constables to continue with the investigation process as he had to go back to the station.

At the station the postmortem report of the first auto-rickshaw driver had arrived. It confirmed that the death had occurred with a bullet in the head which should have been shot from a maximum distance of 1.5 metres away from the head. The other details of the bullet & the gun used were also mentioned alongwith the other usual information. He skimmed through the report and asked his constable to get him a cup of tea.

The next day, the second postmortem report also arrived and it seemed to corroborate his thoughts of the two accidents being related. The death of this driver was also with a bullet embedded in his head. It would’ve also been shot from a close range of a maximum of 2 metres away from the head. The bullet used & the gun type also matched for both the cases.

“Damn! Who is doing this? And why is he or she doing it? Why only auto-rickshaw drivers? Is there a psycho serial killer on the loose? They both seem like a professional job, as there are almost no clues at the sites. He or she seems to carry out the killings stealthily, in crowded & noisy areas, roads specifically, and making it difficult for them to be traced. What is he or she upto?”

With a deep sigh, he continues poring through the two reports.

(End of Part II)
Go to Part III