The book “CIU: Criminals in Uniform” by Sanjay Singh and Rakesh Trivedi has been translated from the Hindi by Sneha Bawari Makharia.
A furore erupts across India when explosives are found in a vehicle parked outside the house of Asia’s richest man. The controversial head of Mumbai Police’s elite Crime Investigation Unit (CIU), who handles all the high-profile cases, becomes the chief investigation officer of this case. A series of sensational events lead to the mysterious death of the sole witness in the case, adding more to the drama than just the vehicle, explosives and terrorist threats.
What unfolds next has the potential to embarrass the state government. Is the CIU chief a player or a pawn in this surreptitious conspiracy? With six investigative agencies now pursuing this case, who will emerge the hunters and who the hunted? Who will turn out to be the most dangerous players of this dirty game—the biggest ‘criminals in uniform’?
Read an excerpt from the book below.
Three hours later, DIG Palande and Inspector Nitya returned to the ATS office from Thane after grilling Hasmukh. ATS chief Vishwajeet was waiting for them. It was unusual to find him in his cabin so late in the night. But before they could give him an update, Vishwajeet gave them an earful. Commissioner Mahavir Tomar had called him and the ATS chief was simply executing a ‘forward as received’.
The ATS’s questioning had left Hasmukh shaken. He had been unable to answer quite a few questions to their satisfaction. Early that morning, Hasmukh had had to leave for the Vikhroli police station where he had filed the missing car report. After being questioned there, Hasmukh had made his way to the CIU office in south Bombay, where he had been made to wait for hours before his statement was recorded. He had been unable to go to work. To top it all, the moment he reached home the ATS had descended upon him like a pack of wolves. He had been questioned like a terrorist in his own house, with the ATS threatening to haul his sorry ass to their office for another round of questioning. As far as he knew, the CIU had been investigating the case and the same had been reiterated in the media. What had been the meaning of this additional investigation?
Hasmukh looked at his face in the mirror and felt that he had aged ten years in a day. The moment the ATS left, he had called Yatin Sathe in desperation and wept. A few minutes later, Commissioner Tomar had phoned the ATS chief.
Tomar was known for his Haryanvi swag and the ATS chief was aware that the commissioner’s closeness with the current ruling party had fetched him this cream position. The chief had also heard whispers in the police circles that Tomar had paid a staggering hundred crores for the post and was now on the road to recovering this money. It was no secret that officers offered bribes for the coveted commissioner’s post, but this time the amount had been record-breaking.
ATS chief Vishwajeet was in a conundrum. Commissioner Tomar was his senior; he was not someone Vishwajeet could confront alone and directly. Also, Vishwajeet did not want to ruin his chances of becoming the next commissioner of Mumbai or the state’s DGP. He was not a player in this fight and did not want to take sides. He was also aware that the commissioner had direct links with the Kuber family. After weighing all the pros and cons, Vishwajeet had chosen his words carefully before reprimanding his juniors.
Tomar had made it clear that while he had no problem with the ATS running a parallel investigation, threatening and frightening Hasmukh could ruin the entire case. He had also warned Vishwajeet that if Hasmukh decided to open his mouth in front of the media, the Mumbai Police would lay the entire blame on the ATS and not take any responsibility. Vishwajeet would then have to deal with the government and the media on his own.
After thirty years in service, Vishwajeet understood what the commissioner had subtly communicated. He berated Palande and Nitya for their treatment of the complainant and witness, Hasmukh. He warned Nitya that he was not to use this case as an opportunity to get back at Sathe for a tiff that had occurred seventeen years ago.
It did not take long for Palande and Nitya to understand the situation. They guessed correctly that Hasmukh had called Sathe the moment they had left. Sathe had then called his ‘caretaker’, Commissioner Tomar, who had phoned Vishwajeet.
They knew Vishwajeet played it safe and had big aspirations for the future. So, even though his officers had done a good job, they were being admonished. Palande and Nitya also knew that Hasmukh’s statement had its loose ends, but after being admonished by the chief, their suspicion had turned to belief. They knew there was something worth pursuing and they also realized that there would be no straight answers. But they had an ace up their sleeves.
Excerpted with permission from CIU: Criminals in Uniform, Sanjay Singh and Rakesh Trivedi, translated from the Hindi by Sneha Bawari Makharia, HarperCollins India. Read more about the book here and buy it here.