The scene outside the courtroom resembled nothing short of mayhem. At least a dozen TV channel crews with their reporters and cameraman jostled for space as they tried to get a best shot of the woman leaving the court, escorted by two lady constables. The wily reporters wriggled through the barriers created by policemen and thrust their microphones into the woman’s face.
Arushi Sinha, the young journalist from News Now channel was excited and elated. This was her first big case and she didn’t want to bungle it. She looked confidently into the camera and spoke to the audience all over the nation watching the live news telecasted by her channel.
“As you see, Aliya Sheik is being led away from the court after the final verdict on the case against her was announced this afternoon. A year after the Aliya Sheik case was first heard, the court has finally declared Aliya as guilty for the murder of Rashid Khan. To refresh your memory a little about the case, a year ago, Aliya, wife of Sheraz Ahmed, the industrialist and the business magnate, was found at her London residence, with a gun in her hand, and the body of Rashid, by her side. Rashid was stabbed 16 times with a kitchen knife and then shot point blank in the head. Aliya surrendered herself to the police and confessed that she had killed Rashid in a fit of rage. She had admitted to having an affair with Rashid for the past 5 years. This was a huge terrible blow to the mogul of Ahmed and Co. Sheraz was married to Aliya for 15 years, in fact they were childhood sweethearts and he was completely heartbroken when he came to know that his dear wife had been cheating on him. But his love for her, never diminished by this fact. During the hearing of this case, he was always beside her, supported her and tried to get her acquitted. But alas, even the powerful Sheraz couldn’t hide the bare facts that were laid open in this case.
Aliya’s confession of killing Rashid in cold blood, because he turned greedy and started blackmailing her for money, was a clincher in this case. Even the best lawyer couldn’t defend Aliya and save her. As per Aliya’s written statement, she met Rashid when she was vacationing in Abu Dhabi with a couple of friends. They became close abetted by the sad fact that her marriage with Sheraz was going through a rough patch. But a year into their affair, Rashid showed his true colors when he started blackmailing her for money. Initially Aliya conceded to his demands but as his hassles increased she decided to finish him off. When police found Aliya at the murder scene, she was terrified and shaking like a leaf. She was mentally unbalanced and kept shouting that she had killed Rashid.
The entire setup sounds like a movie but to man clearly still in love with his wife, it’s a hard reality. “
The camera panned to Sheraz who was holding Aliya’s hand and whispering in her ears before she was whisked away by the policemen into the waiting van. He covered his eyes with his hands as his shoulders shook with silent sobs.
A Week Later
The news of Aliya’s suicide inside the prison made breaking news on all TV channel and the story took the entire first page of every news paper. The case hogged the prime time slot again and there were many psychiatrists who were invited to the studios to discuss the mental state of Aliya that drove her to commit suicide. Some said that she was heartbroken over her own debauchery and the grief that she saw in her husband’s eyes. Some said that she was plain scared of spending her life in prison, after all she came from an affluent family and had lived a life surrounded by all luxuries that money could afford. The tragic love triangle of husband, wife and the playboy caught the nation’s interest and the case was analyzed and dissected all over again.
I took the glass filled with scotch to my study and sat on the leather couch looking at the photograph. Aliya looked so happy, so young and vibrant in the photo. It was taken during our honeymoon in Switzerland. I remembered the gaunt, thin face just before I lit the funeral pyre. It had not belonged to Aliya. It had belonged to a devious and shrewd woman who had become embittered in life. I realized that the happy, lively woman whom I had married had died long back.
I remembered the night, I had first viewed them both together, in my bedroom, in my bed. Entwined together, drunk in pleasure. My blood boiled when I saw my own wife, the woman with whom I had spent 2 decades of a wonderful life, in another’s arms. I would have never discovered what was happening right under my nose. But a month back, troubled by the rising number of burglaries in our neighborhood, I had installed a state of the art alarm system that came with hidden CCTV cameras all over my house, including my bedroom. Aliya had been on another of her vacations and she was completely unaware of the hidden cameras that were installed in our house.
I found out about my wife’s adultery through sheer dumb luck and I would have let it pass. I would have confronted her, divorced her, kicked her out of my house and life. But when I heard what my wife and her lover, Rashid, were planning, my heart came to a standstill. A cold rage took over my mind. The technician had arranged the live feed from the cameras to be displayed directly on my laptop and I was in my office when I heard the conversation between the two.
Aliya and Rashid were in a post-coital embrace and talking. One thing they didn’t know that they were being watched.
“Rashid, I don’t want to continue like this. I want to be with you, without having to keep our relationship under wraps. I want to be free. But Sheraz won’t divorce me and he would probably cut me off from his money if he came to know about our affair. You know my family is not as rich as people believe. I have had a wealthy upbringing but over the years our family business suffered and if Sheraz left me then we would be penniless. I want to be free of Sheraz and yet be rich.”
They looked at each other and Rashid spoke up.
“I have a plan.”
And in front of my own eyes, I saw my dear wife hatching a plan to kill me. And I hatched a plan of my own. I knew their schedule, when they would meet.
So that day when Aliya and Rashid met in my house, they had a surprise visitor. I bound her with ropes and forced her to watch her lover dying a slow death of pain as I stabbed him multiple times and then shot him in the head. I then turned the gun on Aliya. She was terrified, crying and asking me to forgive her.
Yes, I would forgive her but not without penance. She had to take the rap for Rashid’s murder. She would admit to killing him and surrender herself. I played my part of a heart-broken husband to the hilt throughout the case. It took only a few discreet phone calls to ensure that her life in prison was hell enough to push her to suicide. I knew that it was only a matter of months before Aliya broke down in prison.
The day the court had finally reached the verdict I cried when she was being taken away. I bent close to her ears and whispered.
“Enjoy in hell and be assured that I’ll make sure that each day, each moment of your life is unforgettable and by the end of it you will wish that I would have killed you along with your lover. Goodbye.”
It was getting late. I collected all of Aliya’s photos and threw them into the burning wood in the fireplace before sleeping.