Set a Thief To Catch a Thief
“Notorious brigand kills three police officers who tried to stop his smuggling trucks at the border checkpost with neighbouring state“ was the headline which stared in the face of the Director General of Police as he sat down to his morning cup of coffee and opened the newspaper his wife had pointedly placed face up to catch his attention. The senior policeman sipped his morning brew thoughtfully while his mind was miles away at his office thinking over all the extra paper work he had to do to prepare the financial benefits and pensions for the three slain officers. He hated paperwork and the brigand had forced it on him on three separate occasions within the last twelve months. He just had three more months to go till his retirement and his political enemies inside the department, a phrase he used to describe all his eligible juniors, would leave no stone unturned to try and find some kind of financial malfeasance to to dishonor his last stage of service before e retirement and to make sure that he went out under a cloud after thirty years of government service. If he wanted to retire with his pay and pension intact he had to, just had to, do something about this brigand problem. With that settled in mind he got down to the rest of the days business.
It was late evening by the time he could finally put his plan in action. He directed his driver to take a long and circuitous way home via the police training academy. Once at the academy, he stepped in to confer his plan secretly with the principal-in-charge, also his long time friend and partner in quite a few real estate deals over the years at their various postings together over their thirty years of service. Although his friend demurred at first, he cajoled him into sharing the details he asked for by painting a grim picture of what would happen to both of them if their financial dealings were put into greater scrutiny by their enemies in the police department. Even their political patrons wouldn’t lift a finger to save them as they were both approaching their respective retirement ages and would no longer be of any use politically. So the principal-in-charge called to his room his three best cadets from the outgoing batch and the Director general of police interviewed them separately and decided on one particular person he felt best suited to carry out the job.
Exactly one month later the DGP called a press conference and paraded before the media the forest brigand handcuffed and looking beaten like a rabid dog. “This is the man” he thundered at the assembled scribes “who had slain over fifteen polic officers, enforcement officers, forest officers over the last two years in addition to slaughtering numerous elephants and tigers and chopping down sandalwood trees”. He looked at the tv hacks with a face full of pride “and it took a dedicated team of officers trained specially by the army commandos in jungle warfare three months to trace and arrest this most desperate felon.” He went on to look directly into the tv cameras focused on his large mustachioed face as he said “ I hope the government recognizes the daredevil officers and grants them large cash prizes and allots housing units in prime localities as a reward for their bravery and hard work” as he looked meaningfully at the assembled police officers sitting in the hall below the dias.
Later that afternoon he rang the bell to call his personal assistant who was seated outside in the ante-room. “PA” said the DGP “has the trainee officer arrived yet?”. “Yes sir” said his PA “just as you said i made sure he only came here after the press conference was over”. The DGP twirled his mustaches “hmmm, well then don’t waste time, ask him in, he is a brave fellow”. The PA turned to leave and just then as if remembering something else turned back and said “Well, i have been getting a lot of calls from officers about including their names in the reward list for capturing the brigand”. The DGP said thoughtfully “The terms still stands the same, they have to pay us the value of the cash price, whatever the government gives them and 30% of the land price of their allotted plots if they want me to include their names in the brigand capturing team list. After all they are getting large residential plots in a prime locality inside the city at such a cheap allotment price from the government with no risk at all and after i did all the hard work in capturing that fellow”. The PA said “Understood sir” and went out to send in the police trainee who had actually captured the brigand singlehandedly.
Later, sitting inside the room and facing the nervous trainee the DGP looked at him and said “You did your work well, officer”. The trainee relaxed a bit and said “Nothing to it sir, merely followed your orders sir”. The DGP twirled his mustache and asked “So you made sure none of the local police people knew you were there on my behalf to capture the brigand?”. The trainee officer said more confidently “Not a single person in the local station suspected anything sir, otherwise the brigand wouldn’t have boldly walked alone into the police station at 10Am in the morning to pay his regular monthly bribe sir. I handcuffed him right outside the station as he came out and brought him directly here. Your plan worked beautifully sir” he said and stood up to salute the DGP.