The Closet Killer

Additional Commissioner of Police (III) Shri Supratim Sarkar’s efforts, translated in English, is nothing short of brilliant. He can either be e-mailed at addlcp3@kolkatapolice.gov.in or called on 033-22143970. 

There are several who enquire: why do some prefer watching, reading stories on crime? are they criminals themselves or are they learning how to protect, investigate, solve? I remember the ‘coin toss’ in No Country For Old Men. Anton Chigurh found crimes – regular, meaningless. He thus left it to chance for entertainment. Chances separate the hero from the devil. 

The 12 stories, if finished in one read, would leave the very best tired. Physics Tests, My Lord, changes how one perceives the world and is often born from an apple fall. 

Here is a minor excerpt. I have investigated, Mr. Sarkar, the descriptions involve The Real 12 – Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.

The Closet Killer

It struck Mr. Khetawat as odd. On all other days, Mrs. Naolakha would open the door at the first ring at eight thirty and greet him with a ravishing smile. It was an old habit to have his first cup of morning tea with the Naolakhas. Every single day of the year… 

Rameshwar Apartments was a plush eleven-storied apartment complex on Sarat Bose Road, South Kolkata. Flat number 10C on the ninth floor belonged to the Naolakhas… Fifty-nine-year-old Girish Kumar Naolakha’s inert, lifeless body lay on the carpet of the study. He was in a kurta pyjama, an expensive shawl still wound around his neck… Fifty-five-year-old Bina Naolakha’s body was in one of the bedrooms, face down in a free falling posture, a pillow underneath her abdomen…

The Kolkata Police Commissioner had gone on his morning walk when he got the information about the double murder. The probe began. Officers examined almost everything lying around. A property in one of the prime locations of the city occupied mostly by the rich business class meant that a number of precautionary measures had been taken for foolproof security. A private security agency – National Security and Detective Agency – was assigned the building’s run-the-clock surveillance. It seemed that not a chink of light could seep in without the knowledge of the security guards manning Rameshwar Apartments, and yet twin murders had occurred! 

In the illustrious history of Kolkata Police, countless cases have been solved with the help of good old, reliable source network. Sources are high-risk high maintenance staff. The source network hit the bull’s eye. It was the night of December 27. 

That night, the centre of attraction was a young man splurging on the gambling board with such confidence as if he had always had very deep pockets. He was bragging about his new Yashica Electro 35 camera and he had his own bottle of foreign liquor. His actions were raising a few eyebrows but he was blissfully unaware that he was under intense security by those around him. A few pegs down, and the man was belting out an old Geeta Dutt song from Baazi: ‘tadbir se bigdi hu taqdeer bana le, apne pe bhadosa hai to yeh dao lag le’

The ‘peon working in a rich house’ was picked up by the police that night itself. The confession came even before he could be welcomed in. ‘Sir, I am Khokon Giri, peon at Mr Khetawat’s office. But I have not killed alone.’ ‘Right then, tell me how you all did it, and why?’ ‘I couldn’t resist the money. Madam had offered One Lakh Rupees.’ ‘Vimla Madam. Mr. Khetawat’s wife.’

Jugal Kishore Khetawat was a party animal. It was not long before Jugal Kishore Khetawat and Bina Naolakha were drawn to each other. In 1986, the Naolakhas moved in to Rameshwar Apartments. His urgency and excitement about having Bina stay close to him led Jugal Kishore to sell the ninth floor flat at a discounted rate to the Naolakhas. 

Mrs. Naolakha was losing the plot. The lonely, reclusive Vimla was being torn to pieces. She decided to get rid of the woman who had ruined her life. Not only did she plot Bina’s murder, she also thought it best to get rid of Bina’s husband. 

In the 1990s, Rupees One Lakh meant a lot of money. No wonder Khokon agreed. Vimla Khetawat was arrested. She admitted to her crime almost immediately. The Alipore District Court ordered life imprisonment. The High Court gave the same verdict. Vimla Khetawat was seriously ill. This led the Supreme Court to grant her bail, on the condition that she would surrender once the health improved. 

On a sultry June afternoon in 2008, she jumped to her death from the balcony of her Sarat Bose Road flat. Perhaps this was the only conclusion possible for a life that had shrivelled into nothingness. 

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