Prosecution witness
Reminiscence

Prosecution witness

Transfers are part of a banker's life. Shifting to a new place with bag and baggage, finding a house to stay, taking stock of the broken furniture and and dinner sets are essential ingredients of the process which I had undergone many times.
The following incident took place within weeks after I landed in a new place of posting.....

September, 1994..third week..

I was getting ready to drop my daughter to school on a Tuesday morning. As I started the car I found a rectangular hole in the dash......My cassette tape recorder was missing. .....I got out of the car in a whiff to confirm that the doors of the house were in tact. Outside the gate there were signs to suspect that there was some motorcycle parked there the previous night.

Being new to the town, I went to consult my next door neighbour for help to go to the police station for lodging a complaint. Mr. S my neighbour quipped...." these days,  theft of things from a Maruti car is very easy. They open the quarter glass behind with a screwdriver and the rest is very easy. See you you should have fixed a grille as I have done......." . As he was showing me the protective grille fixed on the quarter glass, he could realise that his " fully loaded " car also had lost the Pioneer stereo player , perfume bottle and a few cassettes. Now I had one more friend to go to the police station with  complaints of same nature...!

October, 1994....second week..

The police nabbed the thieves. We were summoned to the station. The inspector wanted me to identify the tape recorder from the stock of about 25 of them kept like books in a library,  confiscated from two frail looking guys put behind the bars. The police wanted me to give a fresh complaint inflating the cost of the stolen item which I did very hesitantly.

October, 1994....third week....

There appeared a news item in the local news paper about the police sub inspector nabbing two thieves with many items stolen from the cars totalling to a huge amount. The photograph of the booty along with the thieves and inspector also appeared beside. It reminded me of those photos of old hunters with a leopard or lion shot by them. I also realised why I was compelled to give an inflated cost for the stolen item.

December 1994.....third week....

On a Monday morning came the feeler from the police that there is a proviso for collecting cassette player from the court against an indemnity along with two sureties.

As I enquired more on the nitty gritty of the procedure, I was told that the cost of stamp paper would be about rupees 500. In addition the ""likha padi "" would cost about 700. The process could be finalised with one or two days casual leave. Since  the lost item had cost me only about  rupees 1500, I chose to keep quiet. Bankers are smart in cost benefit analysis, you see.....

June 1996......first week....

By now I was transferred to a far off place as a controller. My neighbour whose car was also ‘co-robbed" came on an official visit, called on me. I invited him for dinner. He narrated the rest of the story. The police had come to ‘invite’ me to appear as prosecution witness in  the robbery case which was posted for hearing sometime in the beginning of 1996. After serving the summons on my neighbour, the police enquired about me . My friend knew that I was not interested in getting the stolen item back. And moreover it was not possible for me to avail leave and travel for that purpose. He had told the police that he was not in the know of my whereabouts. He said that he saved me by not divulging details of my transfer and posting. If he had told them about my place of posting, the summons would have come to my official address. I had to thank him profusely for saving me from the torture of a long journey and appearance in the court on the posted date/s. He also admitted that the tape recorder he got back from the police was heavily damaged and could not be put to any use, I had to treat my friend with a Johnny Walker black label which he richly deserved for the services rendered......