The Investigator

Shovon Chowdhury | Updated on January 04, 2019

We dig for the truth. So you don't have to


The assembled policemen shuffle their feet nervously. I’m nervous too. As a journalist, I often have to be in the presence of the police, but it never gets any better. I am in the grip of acute fear, knowing that I am surrounded by hundreds of men, each one of who can, as part of their duty, attach electrodes to my groin. I walk past the dais, which is still under construction. One of the workmen stops hammering and stands up. He looks at the platform dubiously, scratching his head.



 “I’ve never had to build one to take the weight of a cow before,” he says. I pat him on the shoulder reassuringly and take out my notepad. I am here to report on the first public speech of the new Inspector General of the Uttar Pradesh Police. Her name is Sujata, formerly a resident of the Bulandshahr Gaushala, although now she has been assigned quarters in Lucknow. She is inside a nearby building, where she is being debriefed by the Chief Secretary. She will emerge shortly to give her first speech. The policemen are waiting, murmuring amongst themselves. “I have seen many things during my career,” says a grizzled veteran standing right behind me. “But this is a new one.” I decide to get some audience reactions while we’re waiting. “Do you support this move?” I ask him. “I think that on the whole, the decision has been taken with our best interests in mind,” he says. “Public is attacking policemen. But if cows join the force, our safety may increase. They may also be able to provide insights into cow-related cases, which are increasing day by day.” “Uncle, supporting this is suicidal,” says a young hothead standing next to him. “The IG is just the beginning. Tomorrow all of us will be replaced. Our livelihood is being threatened. If we have to open our mouths, now is the time!” Others agree with him, although not in anger. Their tone is resigned and mournful. Morale is not high in the UP police. “I understand your sentiment,” says the veteran, “but the situation is not so bad. Generally speaking, cows are not suitable for crime fighting. They are sedentary, and more appropriate for administrative positions. At the grass roots level, we will still be required. Hopefully, since we are reporting to her, the public will be more sympathetic.” As he speaks, waiters arrive, and hand out plastic cups. “What are these for?” I ask. “The IG will be providing liquid refreshments after the speech,” he says. “As our SHO pointed out, this is another plus point.”




In news welcomed as ‘one more step in the right direction’ by the Kremlin, the government has appointed India’s Chief Information Commissioner, responsible for ensuring transparency, in an atmosphere of complete secrecy.


 “Free speech is under threat, and our enemies are everywhere,” said an officer attached to the Commission, in an exclusive interview from an undisclosed location. He chose to remain anonymous. “We cannot allow our secrecy to be compromised. We were hesitant to even reveal his name, but reluctantly, we agreed. As a result, the public has been informed of his identity, but we were careful to avoid revealing unnecessary information, such as the criteria for selection, the process followed to select him and even who it was exactly who did the selecting. He will not be assigned a telephone, so that there will be no way to contact him. This allows him to stay focused on his task, free of unnecessary questioning regarding his bona fides. Suffice it to say that there were four eligible candidates, in the form of the existing commissioners, all of whom are retired bureaucrats. One of them has been elevated. This is right and proper.” Were there no other suitable candidates available apart from retired bureaucrats? “The serving officers are all very busy,” he explained.




Ally Subramaniam was born in the South-West Sundarbans, but was blown away by a cyclone and washed up on the shore near Chennai. He was adopted by a poor Brahmin family from Tirupur. He can answer all your questions. Just send them to



Dear Ally,

I am a retired bank officer and now my daughter wants Shah Rukh Khan to dance at her wedding. “Even this much you cannot do for me?” she is saying. Her mother is supporting her. What should I do?

Balakrishna, Bhubaneswar


Dear Balakrishna,

You could try a hologram. Do you know anybody in the Congress Party? This is not a widely known fact, but towards the latter stages of his administration, Manmohan Singh was replaced by one. It received a warm welcome in several foreign countries. It was unable to consume food at banquets, but this was explained as indigestion. They may have some good connections. Through them, you could get a reasonable price. But you must also apply your judgement. Avoid cheap Chinese holograms, which carry a risk of electrocution. Alternatively, you could bring in a humshakal or duplicate. Due to his immense popularity, there many duplicates of Shah Rukh Khan available, in a wide variety of price ranges. Just Google ‘Shah Rukh Khan duplicate Bhubaneshwar’. You are bound to find one who suits your pocket. Select wisely. I would advise you to focus on dancing skills, rather than exact similarity. If the performance is good, everyone will be happy.

Yours sincerely, Ally.


Shovon Chowdhury is chief Truthdigger and author of Murder with Bengali Characteristics

The Investigator is a monthly round-up of all things droll and newsy. All views are personal. Really personal. @shovonc

Published on January 04, 2019

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