As an under-textiled Mr. Bhattacharjee lay lifeless in a pool of blood, the first image that sprang to Detective Sarkar’s mind was that of the last slab of cheese in a depleted bowl of shahi paneer.
In one corner of the room, Mr. Bhattacharjee’s handcuffed man-servant Bablu cowered like a reluctant bather under the cold shower on a winter morning.
“What convinced you it was murder, Inspector Gupta?”
“Two people live in a flat with all the doors shut from inside. One of them is poisoned. Is it really rocket science?”
“Be suspicious of the obvious, Inspector. Can I ask Bablu a few questions?”
“Don’t take an eternity. Unlike you, we have a job to do.”
Detective Sarkar disregarded the insinuation as if it were some rogue elaichi in mutton biryani.
“Bablu, did Mr. Bhattacharjee have many enemies?”
“None outside his friends.”
“Did you notice any change in his behaviour lately?”
“Yes, sir was convinced he could establish communication with fishes. He has been reciting the Preamble to the Constitution to the goldfish and admonished it for using unparliamentary language every time it gulped.”
“Has he got any relative?”
“A distant cousin in the U.S., who’s a top honcho at Alcoholics Anonymous but currently in jail on DUI charges.”
“Inspector Gupta, what did you recover from the scene?”
“Wads of demonetised currency from victim’s pocket.”
“Let Bablu go.”
“Let me explain. What do you think ‘KB’ in the victim’s ring stands for?”
“Kaushik Bhattacharjee, obviously!”
“Beware of the obvious, Inspector. It stands for ‘Kick the Bucket’, a cult group which practises mass suicide. Google will tell you several KB members are lying dead across the world.”
“Why would he carry demonetised notes?”
“To exchange them at SBI’s After-Life branch. Mr. Bhattacharjee had closed all bank accounts and discontinued newspaper. And if I’m not mistaken, he has paid Bablu three months’ salary and told him to find a new job. Right?”
“You are not Detective Sarkar, you are P. C. Sorcar,” Bablu collapsed at the sleuth’s feet.