Grip of Infamy. Episode 17. By R. Sittamparam

Episode 17 (Scroll down the Literature section to read earlier episodes of this serialised Malaysian novel)

Thana knocked on the door of the president’s office situated at the first floor. An aide of Sanggaran Velu opened the door and let him in.

The portly Sanggaran Velu with an expression and appearance of a Feng Shui frog holding a coin in its wide drooping mouth, was seated at his desk.

In front of him sat the equally portly Wira Pandian and a Chinese man who was unknown to Thana.

Wira Pandian turned to address Thana as his father began leafing through some files in a rather ostentatious manner. This is ASP Tan. He wants a word with you about the Sentul shooting.

I am sure it is just a routine procedure over the matter of your shooting case. Take the officer to our meeting room Thana. He probably wants to see you in private.

It was quite a long meeting. And Thana was on the verge of exploding with bottled-up anger pressuring his mind agitated over the disruption of his main agenda of the day.

ASP Tan was very methodical in his questioning and went through the interrogation calmly taking his time to probe every angle of the case.

He wanted to know why Thana was at the Sental Cafe and whether it was to do with his attempts to track down the criminal elements in the area.

Was he meeting with informants or his department staff? Why did his car take the backroads? Did he carry a pistol? Was he conducting an operation for his department in the backroads? Was the shooting an attempt to prevent him from carrying out his department’s duties?

Was he using outriders at the time? Was the killed youth Gurubalun Saminthan known to him?

Then the inevitable question came: Do you have links to the underworld network in the city?

This was the breaking point for Thana and he exploded. Tuan ASP, I have given my full statement on the shooting the day after at the general hospital.

Why are you unnecessarily probing me like this again. I have a busy schedule today and would appreciate it if you come straight to the point.

Tan became silent awhile. He could feel the controlled aggression in Thana’s tone and it provoked his clinically nurtured police ego, more appropriately the sense of authoritativeness.

The directive from his superior was for him to run a routine round of questioning just to fulfill the requirements of the police’s Standard Operating Procedure.

But ASP Tan was now determined to get to the bottom of this shooting case at least for his own mental satisfaction of having one up on this arrogant politician.

Okay Mr. Thanabalon Moonaswaran I’m done now. Just sign this document and you can leave. We will call you if we need anything else. Have a nice day.

With the meeting over Thana stepped out of the room and was about to rush up the stairs to his office when he heard Sanggaran Velu’s personal secretary, Kanagasabapathi calling him from the other side of the floor.

Thana, the boss wants to see you awhile.

He hurried over to Sanggaran Velu’s office. There was a small group of CWC members aligned to the president huddled around the sofa area.

Sanggaran Velu was speaking. PG has to go. We can’t have him messing with our plans for the coming GE. The Prime Minister has given me the green light to oust PG.

But we must be careful how we do it. A wrong move could spell problems for my leadership. I will fire the first salvo today at the CWC meeting.

All I expect is for everyone of you to give undying support to my leadership and back up my decisions however controversial it might be.

Just trust me and back me up in any situation that may arise. You are my pillars of strength and I give my assurance that you will be well rewarded.

With the meeting over Thana rushed to his office realising it was already 3.50 pm. In the privacy of his office he called Santhiran.

Did everything go as planned. Is Datuk Seri PG in the building now?

Sorry boss, came the reply. Police have ordered us to disperse. Datuk Seri PG has not arrived yet.

Wait! Wait boss! His car just drove past the gate. I am standing on the other side of the road. The others have dispersed.

What do you want me to do now boss?

Damn the police. Damn ASP Tan.

Thana had sensed the police officer’s displeasure against his terse disruption of their just concluded meeting.

He was also sure Tan was aware of his role in the protest hence his action in disrupting it.

Thana was bubbling with anger and began ranting to himself. Who does this ASP Tan think he is? He is small fry.

He doesn’t know who he is messing with. Does he not know we have the big fish in our pockets?

All the events and characters portrayed in this serialised novel are fictional and any parallel with real life events or persons is purely conincidental.

Sittam Param

Writer, poet, dramatist and former journalist. I have passion for art in all its forms hence my involvement in this portal.

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