- 09 Feb - 15 Feb, 2019
CRIMES AT CORNERS
- 23 Dec - 29 Dec, 2017
Kevin Rollins was sitting inside his office. His laptop was placed on his desk and he was looking at the screen. His mind was wandering as he was engaged in his thoughts. Suddenly, his cell phone rang, bringing him back to reality. He answered the call:
“You have a client waiting for you.”
“I’m sorry, please cancel his appointment.”
He disconnected the call and scratched his forehead in anxiety.
How did this happen? Who could have done this? He wondered. Professor Yasir’s death is a strange mystery to me.
He shut his laptop and prepared to leave the office.
Meanwhile at Maria’s home, Rehan was watching an episode of Crimes at Corners on YouTube.
In the video:
Professor Yasir was standing on a street and was talking to the viewers, holding his mic:
“People of Pakistan, today we’re going to see how some people illegally supply guns and weapons. We’ve been informed that there is a group consisting of two partners who sell these guns. Now, I don’t know if they have a license to distribute weapons or not. But they do sell guns to people who don’t have a license to own them.”
He stopped for a moment. Another guy from his team, who was of the same height as him and was wearing sunglasses, had appeared before the camera. Yasir explained to the viewers:
“There is a secret camera hidden in this guy’s sunglasses. He and I will now go to the shop and buy a gun without any license. We will pay the required amount and all of you will be able to see our conversation through the camera on his shades.”
The next moment, Yasir entered the shop. There were plenty of different kinds of guns on display inside. There was only one shopkeeper there. Yasir asked him in a low voice:
“Hello, how are you?”
“I’m good,” the shopkeeper said while using his cell phone, “what do you need?”
“I need a brand new handgun.”
“Sure, how much are you willing to pay, if I may ask?”
“Price is not a problem, just give me the best of the best.”
The shopkeeper chuckled and then looked under his desk.
A minute later, he placed a hand gun and a form on the desk.
“Wow, this is a good one,” Yasir commented, picking it up.
“Yes, I’m giving you the very best.”
“Can I take it home today?”
The shopkeeper didn’t reply.
“Sir?” Yasir raised his voice. “I don’t have a license.”
“No problem,” he said calmly, as though this were something usual, “Just pay extra and you can have the gun.”
“How much money?”
The scene ended there. Yasir now appeared in front of the camera saying: “Can I take a minute and fill this form outside?”
“Sure,” the shopkeeper replied.
Yasir then walked a few steps outside the shop. He was holding the form, which was filled in blue ink and was talking to the viewers: “Ladies and gentlemen, I have just filled out this form and as you all know, I don’t have a license and have only paid the required amount. Viewers, we will now walk you through the entire process of how weapons are being illegally supplied in our country.”
Back inside the shop, Yasir handed over the money to the supplier. This time, another shopkeeper was also standing there. Yasir shook hands with both of them after giving them the money. He asked the other guy:
“So, you’re his brother?”
“Yes, elder brother.”
“I see. How long have you two been running this business?”
“It’s been more than five years,” the younger one replied.
“Ok, thank you.”
Yasir was now standing outside the shop, showing the handgun to his viewers, saying,“This gun that you all can see now belongs to me. And the interesting part is, I don’t have the license or any authority to own it. As usual, our team has called a police officer who must be on his way.”
In the next scene, Yasir was talking to the police officer: “You see this gun in my hand? I bought it without a license. I only had to pay money. Nothing else.”
“Where is this shop?” the police officer asked.
“It’s right behind us.”
“If there are more gun suppliers like him then we must take immediate action,” said the police officer. “We’ll question him right now and might shut down his shop.”
“I’ll take you there, please come with me.”
As they reached the shop, the two brothers seemed startled. Yasir said calmly to the officer, “I purchased this gun from them about 30 minutes ago. I don’t have a license; I just paid them extra money.”
The younger brother who seemed quite frightened said, “He’s lying! We didn’t sell him that!”
“Please, don’t lie,” Yasir said gently, “I have recorded the entire video as proof.”
The shopkeepers were speechless now.
“Whose shop are you running?” the cop asked sternly.
“This is our shop,” the elder brother replied, “We only sell guns to licensed professionals. This guy is a liar and he’s only trying to blackmail us.”
“Then what is this?” Yasir asked, showing them the handgun.
“I don’t know,” he lied. “That doesn’t belong to us.”
“Then, what about this?” Yasir asked, showing the photocopy of the form filled by him, “Isn’t this from your shop?”
“What’s with you?” the younger brother asked. “Who sent you? What do you want from us?”
“What I want is not important. The question is, why are you doing this illegal business? Do you have any idea how many people get killed every day in Pakistan? And it’s only because of men like you.”
“Let me talk to him,” the cop interrupted Yasir. “What’s your name? Show me your license.”
The shopkeepers didn’t respond.
“Do you or do you not have a license to run this shop?”
“Yes, we do,” the elder brother replied.
“Then show it to us,” Yasir said, matter of factly.
“I’m not talking to you,” he said, turning to Yasir.
“But I was your customer; you have to answer my questions.”
“I don’t want to talk to you. Get out of my shop!”
“Nobody’s leaving,” the police officer declared, “Not until you show us your licensed authority to run this shop.”
The fed up shopkeeper stared at the officer and then said,“Ok, I will show it to you. But then, you all must leave immediately.”
“What about this gun you just gave me?” Yasir asked.
“You can give it back to me,” he said, holding back his anger, “And you can take your money back.”
“That’s not the point, mister! You are selling guns to criminals who are killing innocent people! Who is responsible for that?” , Yasir yelled, who was now becoming uneasy.
“That’s not my problem. What my customers do with the products is none of my concern.”
“You are getting arrested today!” the police officer said, clearly enraged. “Show me your license, now!”
The brothers remained silent. The younger stood up to go inside a room.
“Where’s he going?” the police officer asked.
“To get the files,” he replied.
“So, mister,” Yasir continued, “You were saying that no matter what happens, no matter who dies because of your negligence, you will take no responsibility for it at all?”
He remained silent and looked away, avoiding eye contact.
“Come on man, talk to us,” said Yasir in a friendly tone.
“We are showing you our license, you can then decide for yourself.”
A large caption appeared on the screen. It read: 15 minutes later.
Yasir was still standing with the police officer, saying, “It’s been a long time and your brother still hasn’t showed up.”
“I’ll go and see,” the elder brother said, turning towards the room.
Yasir and the police officer waited for several minutes at the same spot.
“Why aren’t they coming back?” the police officer asked.
“I don’t know, maybe we should go and see,” Yasir suggested.
The video paused for a minute and then played Professor Yasir’s narration:
“Ladies and gentlemen, what happened next was completely unexpected and unbelievable. The police officer and I followed the two men inside the room, only to find that they had both disappeared. The brothers had escaped from the rear exit and had locked the door from outside. The two cowards thought they had fooled us but they didn’t realize that we would take their shop under custody. They obviously had to return some day. The police officer had called two constables and had assigned them to stay inside the shop until the two brothers returned. Furthermore, something very interesting happened the next day. I was at my office when I had received a call from an unknown number. It was the elder brother from the gun shop. Fortunately, I was able to record the conversation. You will now find out what he had to say.”
The scene changed immediately. Yasir was now sitting with the police officer, in front of the two brothers. They were listening to the phone conversation:
“Listen Mr Yasir Javed,” said the voice, “I’m warning you on a very serious note. If you don’t end this campaign of yours by today then I will call my men who will abduct your family and no one would ever find out.”
“Campaign?” Yasir asked sarcastically. “What kind of campaign are you talking about?”
“Whatever you are doing on behalf of your channel. Listen, I have noted down your car’s number and I’ve also…”
“My car’s number?” Yasir interrupted, “I didn’t come in a car. Whose car are you talking about?”
There was a pause on the other side.
“Look Yasir,” he continued, “I’m giving you two hours. Ask the cops to empty my shop or else I…”
“Oh, that’s what they are doing. They have emptied your shop already. Now if you want your stuff, you better…”
“…I won’t spare you!” he said loudly, “If anything gets stolen from our shop, I’ll strangle you with my own hands.”
“With your hands?” Yasir teased. “You have a whole collection of guns and yet, you’ll use your hands to kill me? Impressive.”
The conversation marked out the end of the show. That was the end of the show.
Rehan closed the YouTube tab on his laptop. Maria who was standing by his side, asked:
“So what do you think?”
“I don’t know.”
“It’s possible that these two are involved.”
“That’s not the point,” Rehan said standing up, “The question is, who is capable enough. Almost anybody can yell out in anger. In fact, people utter such warnings all the time now. But the question is, who is really capable of doing such a thing?”
“So, you don’t think these men have what it takes to kill a guy?”
“Come on, did you look at them? They were cowards. They couldn’t kill anyone no matter how many guns they owned.”
“What were the cops saying about them?”
“Inspector Affan didn’t say anything about the suspects. Their interrogation is still in progress.”
“What do we do now?” Maria asked, hopelessly.
“I’ll talk to their team members.”
“Who? The cops?”
“No, the team of Crimes at Corners”
“And what about the mesmerism story?”
“I’m keeping that aside for a while. I won’t tell the cops about it,”
“Well,” Maria said before leaving, “do what you think is right. But don’t be so hard on yourself.”
She left the room.
Rehan looked at his cell phone and then dialled a number.
Meanwhile, at the city’s police station, Inspector Affan’s cell phone began to ring. He answered the call: “Yes?”
“Inspector Affan, it’s me, Rehan,” said Rehan from the other line. “I want to know if there is any progress on the case.”
“The interrogations are taking place here, we are more than sure that the criminal is among these five suspects.”
“Sir, I watched the episode of the two brothers who own guns.”
Inspector Affan suddenly got distracted. A man had entered inside the police station. He stood up in anger and said: “Yes, what do you want?”
Rehan who was still on the other line was listening carefully to what was happening.
Next, Rehan heard what sounded like a gunshot, followed by the screams of Inspector Affan. In a panicking voice, he yelled on the phone:
“Inspector Affan! Inspector! What happened? Are you alright?”
Back at the police station, the constables were running around. They were struck by panic. Inspector Affan had just been shot to death.
“Who was this guy?”
“Where did he go?”
These were the questions that were circulating around the police station. The head constable was standing at the entrance and was holding a bundle of cash. He was looking at the criminal who was riding his bike away from the police station.
“I’ll take care of it now,” he said, looking back inside at the dead body.
He came by the Inspector’s dead body and saw that his cell phone was ringing. He attended the call but did not speak: “Hello?” Rehan spoke from the other line.
“Yes” he replied with a low voice.
“What happened? I heard Mr. Affan screaming.”
“Mr Affan has just been murdered.”
“Murdered?” Rehan said in a tense voice, “Oh no! But, by whom?”
to be continued...