The Millionaire Beggar


                   The Bharti Chowk is one of the busiest begging area of the city. A beggar easily makes from five hundred to few thousands a day. As a result, the begging community has seen a steady rise in its number since the last decade. However , the main earners are the older ones. One such old boss is,Pappu, the crooked fellow. His scuffles with police, public and with begging community are quite famous. Everybody prefers to keep a distance from him. He loves the panic and discomfort his presence creates in the behaviour of the people. This makes him the ultimate boss and he usually ends up being the highest earner for the day.

          For last one week,however ,he is not seen on the chowk by anybody. For many ,this was a breath of fresh air.Others took advantage and earned pretty good in his absence. His pivotal place at the chowk, was now ,the bone of contention for all the beggars .The older lot, however, was missing their rough friend. Even though he was a baddie for many , he still had some good left in him. Many thought he might be ill and would resume once he recovers. His friends didn’t wait any longer and started looking for him.No one knew his house or family or freinds. He was the first one to come and the last to go, everyday, at the chowk. After a lot of searching they found, Shuklaji paanwala, who knew a bit about Pappu.

               Shukla ji remebered that once Pappu was in good mood. He told him that he lived in Parwana slums and his house was near the meat shop, Abdul Chicken House.Pappu liked Shukla ji for his non nonsense attitude and often talked to him at length. Shuklaji also told that Pappu is from a village in Unnao. He didn’t remember the name. Pappu’s relative were all dead and he was a lone soul.

        The Parwana slums was the largest and finding Pappu’s kholi was going to be a difficult task. The freinds searched the whole day and at last were able to locate Abdul’s shop. Pappu’s kholi was just few meters away from there. They knocked the door but there was no response. It wasn’t locked.They banged the door but still no one answered. There was a pungent smell coming from the house as is of a rotten rat. Sensing that something was wrong , they barged inside.

             There he was, lying on the floor,with the eyes wide open.It was a scary sight. Everbody covered their face as the odour was unbearable.The kholi was full of litter of papers lying all over the floor.There was a bed,a fridge and a smart TV on the wall.There were few trunks which were open and its contents scattered.It looked as if he has been robbed and was killed while resisting. All the friends were terrified and panicked. Some neighbours also came inside. One of them called police. Senior Inspector, Mr. Pankaj Basu, arrived at the scene with his team.

                 The crime scene was sealed and all present were interrogated. Their statements were recorded and their details taken. The forensic team collected all the evidences including the hairs, a small patch of skin stuck in Pappu’s nails, fingerprints, papers, trunk contents, etc. The police team tried to recreate the crime so as to get an idea what might have happened. During the interrogation one of the neighbour told police that a man was recently seen with Pappu. He visited Pappu quite often. They seemed to be good friends. The police got the sketch as per the neighbour’s description. The body was sent for postmortem. 

                             Findings of the investigation were quite shocking. The papers collected from Pappu’s kholi were all financial documents. Some were his ITR’s over the years, bank statements, property documents and share certificates. The pauper beggar turned out to be a millionaire. Interesting fact among all these was that nominees in all cases were NGOs, orphanages and old age home. Given the reputation Pappu had , this was a revealation for all. Suddenly , the notorious beggar was revered by one and all. The news spread like a wildfire and all news channel had only one news to report. Who killed the generous and kind hearted beggar, Pappu? Each channel had their own story to narrate. Every day a new suspect was invented and the drama went on for weeks. The race was getting intense and mukier day by day.

                    Meanwhile Inspector Basu was silently working on the case. He avoided media at all costs as he knew they will create a hill from a mole. Amongst the evidences collected from the crime scene, there were few photographs. They were from early days of Pappu. One photograph was quite particular. It had Pappu with one of his friend enjoying a tonga ride in his village. It looked like a normal photo but when looked closely , there was a man in the background. His image was a bit blurred but his expressions were pretty clear. Inspector Basu closed his eyes and contemplated about the mystery man. Suddenly , he opened his eyes and looked for the sketch that was made on the neighbour’s description. There it was and just what he had thought. The sketch was pretty much similar to that of the mystery man in the photograph.

                     Elated with his findings, Basu called his team. He instructed constable Yadav to match the sketch with the man in the photograph using the software. He wanted to be hundred percent sure about this. Inspector Kirti was asked to circulate the sketch in all police stations and all hotels and lodgings in the city. Basu wanted to nab the mystery man before he manages to escape. Strict confidentiality was the need of the hour and Basu’s team was well versed with it. Everybody did their work without any noise. Constabel Yadav was the first one to report. The match was around eighty percent. It was sufficient for Basu to go ahead with the lead. Inspector Kirti came with a positive news. The mystery man is in a lodge near the railway station. Their was a grin on Basu’s face hearing this. All leapt into action. Within minutes, they raided the lodge. The mystery man was in the room on first floor. He tried to escape but was caught briskly by Inspector Kirti. Looking at the suspect face to face , gave a chill to Basu.

                     The name of the mystery man was , Giriraj. He was the childhood friend and  neighbour of Pappu in his village. He confessed his crime quite easily. This was a bit surprising and disappointing for Basu and his team. They expected Giriraj to be a tough nut to crack. Giriraj told the police that few months back , he had come to city for work. All his properties in the village were mortgaged. His daughter’s marriage was round the corner. While he was searching for work, he met Pappu accidentally at a tea shop. Both were happy to see each other after so many years. Pappu told him about his occupation and suggested Giriraj to do the same. The former thought this would solve the latter’s financial crunch. Giriraj, however, took it the other way. He thought Pappu is mocking his helplessness. Anyhow he considered begging as a bad and cheap job. 

                              After trying to get a job for a month or so, Giriraj was still unemployed and homeless. All his savings have been spent. Pappu had given him his address and offered him to come whenever he wanted. He went to meet his friend. Pappu welcomed him in his abode. They had a few drinks and enjoyed. It was then that Pappu told Giriraj about his wealth. Intoxication made him do all weird things which otherwise he would never do. He showed Giriraj his property papers and other financial documents. Pappu had cleared high school before he left the village. He was considered the brightest kid in the village. His personality was also endearing, making him the favourite of all. Giriraj was secretly jealous of this popularity of his friend. He always wanted to teach the lad a lesson. He himself was an average in all departments.

                                  Pappu told him , how he was homeless and jobless for months after he came to the city. He tried hard but couldn’t get a decent job. He met a beggar one day and his life changed. He danced with happiness. He even showed all the cash and gold he had collected in all these years. This was enough for Giriraj. Red with anger and jealousy , he came from behind and started strangulating his friend with his gamcha. Pappu fought back bravely. He tried to pull Giriraj hair but his hold was not strong. He scratched his friend face in a bid to get free. None of his survival efforts worked. Giriraj was successful in getting rid of the person he despised the most. He hurriedly took the cash and gold and fled away in the darkness of the night. He thought that nobody knows him and no one saw him with Pappu that day , so he will never be caught. He was to board the train to his village the night he was caught. All these days he was hiding in fear. When the case was off the radar, he planned to flee.

                            Getting the confession is like half the battle won. Basu was very happy with the outcome. He and his team was congratulated by the commissioner himself. Inspector Kirti still had few questions in her mind. She asked Basu, why and when he thought that mystery man is the real culprit. Basu smiled and showed her the photograph. He asked her to look closely. She too saw Pappu with his friend enjoying the tonga ride. When she looked closely,she saw a blurred image of Giriraj frowning and spitting paan in the direction of Pappu. Both the officers shared a smile.    

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