Sales of my e-Book Who painted my money white? have been brisk as I set about readying the paperback release. Stay tuned for when I will be in your city…
In this chapter, the character of Dabang Devi is introduced. A knock-out beauty with the street smarts to not only survive but thrive in a male-dominated Indian Police Service, she is a key character in the book. You can buy it online line below:
Chapter 25: A Deadly Poison and a Deadlier Plan
Priya Menon was an early riser and trained hard at the gym for an hour every day. The call had come when she was busy kickboxing.
A 2008 batch intrepid IPS officer, she had served in sensitive areas and headed quite a few police stations, where she promptly ruffled feathers with the powerful lot. She had once dragged a local influential politician by the collar all the way to the police station when he refused to come over. On another occasion, she arrested an industrialist following a complaint of sexual assault by his maid.
But perhaps the most celebrated incident she was known for involved a muscleman-politician, who kept AK-47 rifles at home and roamed the streets on a horse, whipping people in his way. After cases were registered against him, he brazenly challenged her to arrest him. She took it to heart and launched a massive manhunt for the accused who had gone underground, eventually closing in on him. Realising that there was no escape, the man fled to Delhi and surrendered himself before the police there. Within 20 hours, Priya got him from Delhi back to Patna and dumped him behind bars.
Not surprisingly, she had received several ‘warning’ calls from ministers in the state government for her exploits that they were unhappy about. Dabang Devi – as she was called by many – bashed on regardless.
They could threaten her but could not get in her way because she was too brilliant to be put down. All they could do was to get her shunted from one police jurisdiction to another. Priya took these transfers as a validation of her doing the job well. No posting was a punishment; there was always something to be set right wherever she went. She was also gifted with the knack of getting to the root of the issue even in cases that seemed above board. She would persevere till the case was solved. Anybody who came in the way of her investigations in the meanwhile, got a taste of her wrath and unshakeable determination.
Impressed by these qualities, Amarnath recommended her name to the Intelligence Bureau. Priya had done enough conventional policing, and the NSA reasoned that her talent would be better utilised for matters of graver national importance. He was of the opinion that the Intelligence Bureau needed many more smart and courageous people to tackle the dangerous FICN-terror-betting-racket-Love-Jihad nexus.
It was the IB chief himself on the line. Priya jumped at the offer. Besides a good leap up on her career, it sounded like exciting work. She loved new challenges, after all.
However, she was not too pleased to know that she would be part of a team led by Karan Dixit, her batchmate at the IPS. Since she was his equal in terms of seniority, she saw no reason why she should be reporting to him.
The IB Director, Mike, was quick to notice the undercurrents of friction between them. Among his many strengths was a talent for man management. He had led several teams comprising some of the country’s finest minds, with equally big egos. He had shrewdly drawn the best out of them despite their interpersonal issues. He often steered their attention back to the larger picture and acknowledged each as a star in their own right.
He chatted up with Priya one day over coffee and gradually the conversation veered towards Karan. “He has more experience than you do in the organisation, Priya.”
“Karan’s success depends on how well you can support him. He is brilliant, Priya. Apart from a knack for drawing out the most difficult intel, his knowledge of Urdu, Persian and Arabic is a big asset to operate in countries that sponsor terrorism. But he would need your expertise in tracing the roots.”
She seemed to soften a bit.
“The country is bigger than all of us, individually and jointly,” Mike said finally. And like in most cases, that did the trick.
In their next meeting, Mike stressed on the importance of her role in the operation. He sketched out how counterfeit money becomes legitimate in India through shell companies, asking Karan to explain this further.