- 09 Feb - 15 Feb, 2019
- 10 Mar - 16 Mar, 2018
At some distance from my house, there were two police officers, waiting for the head, Inspector Yunus arrived.
“All right, here’s what we know; this robbery was conducted on the orders of a woman, named Tanya Sharma,” Inspector Yunus informed them about the robbery details.
“Right,” one of the constables agreed.
“And one of the three thieves, who made the confession, gave us her address.”
“The exact address?” a constable asked.
“Almost… he was just confused about the house number. Anyways, we’re going to Tanya’s house now. We need to catch her by all means.”
The cops planned to get to her house immediately but they had no idea that the criminal was with me.
Meanwhile, at my house, Hina wasn’t terrified at all. While I aimed my gun at her, she stayed normal. Maybe she knew that I wouldn’t shoot her.
“Do what you want,” she said to me. “I won’t stop you.”
Feeling trapped and fooled, I dropped the weapon and hid my eyes with my hands. I was hiding my tears. I took out the car’s keys from my pocket and threw them to the ground. She smiled. I left the room with my hands still covering my face.
Few hours later, I saw her counting the money in my living room. The bags filled with the stolen money sat right next to her on the sofa. I was sitting in the kitchen, extremely upset. I had never felt this way before. So betrayed and befooled. The woman I loved with all my heart had been pulling wool over my eyes. I wondered if she deserved what she got from her husband. He probably did it to her because he got the wind of her misdoings. Unfortunately, I had never heard her voice before. If only I was familiar with her voice then probably I wouldn’t have been betrayed so easily.
And now I was in trouble because of this woman. The cops would definitely discover her hiding place and raid my house anytime soon. I would also get arrested until I proved my innocence to them.
“Shahid, could you come here?” she called out.
“Yes… one minute,” I replied.
After saying this, I made a phone call.
Ten minutes later, Hina came to the kitchen herself and found me talking on the phone. I disconnected the call as soon as I saw her coming.
“Who were you talking to?” she asked.
“My colleagues,” I answered.
“Did they tell anything about the three men who got caught?”
“Anyways, I’m here to tell you that we have ten million rupees. How about we split the amount fifty-fifty if you promise not to turn me in?”
“How can I turn you in? I would get in trouble myself. I’d lose my job.”
“So, is it a deal? Let’s share the amount equally.”
“Not now,” I said, adding, “I want you to stay for one night. I’ll give you my final decision by tomorrow afternoon.”
“OK, sure,” she spoke after thinking for a while.
During that night, Inspector Yunus was standing outside Hina’s locked house. He read her name ‘Tanya Sharma’ on the plate outside. With the sledge hammer in his hand, he broke the lock of her house by hitting it as hard as he could.
Next afternoon while Hina was seated at the dining table, I came and sat on the chair across her.
“I need to tell you something,” I announced.
“What?” she asked, apparently uneasy by my behaviour.
“Last night I realised that I am still in love with that beautiful woman. And I am willing to forgo every lie she has spoken to me. I just want her now. I want to marry you, Hina Khan.”
“Oh God,” she whispered, “This is difficult.”
“I won’t ask for a single penny. You can keep all the money. But I want to marry you.”
“I can’t believe you still have feelings for me,” she spoke nervously.
“I loved you, not just for your beauty but for your character as well.”
She was speechless.
This is when she made a false commitment to me:
“All right my dear, I’m willing to marry you.”
I knew she was lying because she needed a place to hide and had her eyes on my share of the money. Her intentions became clearer to me when she asked me to get married at the earliest.
“We’ll get married as soon as I deposit the money in my bank account.”
“Sure, why not?” I smiled, innocently.
Something unexpected happened the next evening. Hina had transferred all the money in brief cases, which lay open in the living room. She was planning to get it deposited in the coming days. I had just returned from work and commented, “Everyone seemed really upset at the bank.”
She didn’t answer out of guilt.
“And there’s also a bad news for you,” I said, trying to break her silence, adding, “One of your men has revealed your name.”
“What?” she looked seriously worried.
“Yes, he has revealed everything, including your address.”
“What actually has he revealed?”
“You don’t need to worry about that. The police is looking for Tanya Sharma, not Hina Khan.”
“Don’t worry, I’m with you. I won’t let anyone come near you.”
She smiled at me thankfully but avoided eye contact.
It was past eight o’clock when we heard sirens of police vans. I looked outside the window, hiding behind the curtain. Two police vehicles stopped outside my house.
“What is it?” Hina asked, looking terrified.
“The cops are here.”
“Oh no!” she exclaimed, apparently scared. “We’re dead.”
I thought for a while and then said, “Why don’t you go and hide in the store room? I’ll handle them.”
“Good,” she said, with least concern for me.
Before she left, she feigned innocence and said, “Dear, please don’t mention me before them if you really…”
“I won’t,” I interrupted.
The door bell rang twice. I went calmly to answer it. I opened the door gently and saw Inspector Yunus outside, staring at me. He asked:
“Are you Shahid Minhas?”
“Yes,” I spoke fearfully.
He forcefully entered the house with two police constables.
“Can I help you, sir?” I spoke timidly.
“We’ve been told that the money stolen from the bank is hidden at your house.”
As they entered the living room, they found the nine brief cases filled with money, some open while others shut.
“Perfect!” the inspector smiled, “Just what we were told.”
I came by their side and said, “Look, I can explain.”
“Arrest him!” he ordered.
The constables held me from behind and handcuffed me. Hina was watching and hearing the entire scene from the store room. She was just worried that I might take her name.
“You should be ashamed of yourself, Mr. Shahid,” Inspector Yunus scolded me, “You robbed the bank you work for. The bank that relies on you.”
“Look, sir. It was those three men who forced me to help them.” I made up a false story, “They were blackmailing me that they would hurt my family if I don’t help them with the robbery.”
“Really? Tell me their names. The robbers’ names.”
I was speechless. I didn’t have an answer which made me look like a culprit.
“The robbers said,” he began, “They work for some woman named Tanya Sharma and her boyfriend Shahid.”
Hina, who was secretly listening, looked surprised when she heard this.
“I don’t know any woman of that name,” I lied while giving my justification.
“You’ll have to come to the police station,” he said while making his way outside.
“Let me explain sir,” I pleaded, “Those three men planned everything.”
“Can you explain why the money was found in your house while those who planned the crime got arrested?”
I was speechless again. My expressions made them realise that I was just making up stories.
“Just surrender now,” he said while coming back and picking up the brief cases, “You have no way to prove your innocence but if you tell us about Tanya’s whereabouts then you might be given some leverage.”
“Did you check her house?”
“There was no one inside,” he answered, “We broke into her house but found nothing despite a thorough search.”
Hina seemed relieved to hear this. She was afraid that they might have found any picture of hers.
“Sir, how about we share the money?” I asked coyly, offering him a bribe.
He stared at me angrily and then called out on police personnels, “Take him to the police station right away. I’ll come as soon as I collect all the money.”
Hina peeked outside and saw the cops dragging me to their van.
A week later, Hina sat on a public bench, waiting for a coach to leave the city. Her coach’s departure was scheduled after thirty minutes. All that while, she thought:
I just can’t believe it. I have successfully acquired ten million rupees. The cops have arrested all my partners, including Shahid. So there’s a good chance that I’d get caught if I stay in the city.
She got up to board the coach. With her luggage safely inside, she checked her wallet. It had enough money for her to settle somewhere for a few days.
As she tried getting into the vehicle herself, someone stopped her from behind. She turned only to find out Inspector Yunus staring at her.
“Ma’am, we need to ask you some questions.”
Hina felt her heart beating fast. Stepping down, she said, “Yes?”
“You are Tanya Sharma, aren’t you?” the inspector enquired.
“What?” she pretended to be indifferent. “I don’t know her.”
The inspector smiled and said, “Nice try, ma’am but you are under arrest for the bank heist case.”
“Do you have any proof that I was involved?”
“Your guy Shahid told you that the CCTV cameras were not recording the crime. He lied.”
“Arrest her,” Inspector Yunus ordered.
The two female police constables caught her.
Meanwhile, I was sitting in the garden at my house. I was happily having a drink and thinking about the events a week ago.
One week ago, inside my house, Hina called me out. “Shahid, could you come here?”
“Yes… one minute,” I replied.
After saying that, I made a phone call to the cops.
“Yes, who is it?” the call was answered by some senior police officer.
“Sir, I have an information regarding the recent bank robbery.”
“Who are you?”
“My name is Shahid Minhas. I am a senior manager of the bank. I was threatened. The criminals had forced me to help them with the bank robbery. I was the driver of the van too.”
“How were you forced?”
“They were threatening to kill my family,” I lied but then changed the mode of conversation, “But fortunately, the leading criminal is at my house right now. Her real name is Hina Khan but she calls herself Tanya Sharma.”
“And the money?”
“That is also here at my house. I am willing to hand over everything if you guys promise me that my job won’t be at risk.”
“Ok I’ll think of something,” he said after thinking for a while, “If you hand over the woman and the money then we’ll ensure your that you don't prove guilty. Inspector Yunus is handling this case.”
“Alright, I’ll meet him tonight when Hina falls asleep.”
I heard Hina’s footsteps approaching the kitchen and disconnected the call to look.
“Who were you talking to?” she asked.
“My colleagues,” I answered.
Back to the present day, I took a sip from my drink while thinking about my private meeting with Inspector Yunus a few days back.
I remember the night as I was standing next to Inspector Yunus in the police station.
“So you have that woman in your house?” the inspector asked.
“And the money?”
“Yes, but it’s a little difficult to keep her in the house for long.”
“Just keep her for two days, I’ll come after two days for arrest. In the meantime, I have some other cases to investigate. But I will come.”
“I can lie to her and convince her to stay by telling her that I love her.”
“You do that,” he said, while checking his cell phone, “The day I’ll come to your house, we’ll have you arrested. Don’t worry, it will all be a drama.”
“Just tell that woman to hide somewhere inside the house where she can see us arresting you.”
“But why do we need to fake this drama of arresting me?”
“We need to see what her next move is. We will follow her and see where this woman go later. She might have more crime partners. The purpose is just to follow her and then we’ll arrest her eventually.”
“And what about me? Will I be in trouble?”
“Not at all.”
Back to the present day again, I felt great thinking about how I had won against the woman who had betrayed me.
I had no love for her after I realised that she had betrayed me, I spoke to myself.
Hina was handcuffed and was forced to sit inside the van. She was weeping as she knew her game was over. And there was no point in defending herself. •