Dunking Ink (10)
Next morning, the President took some daunting action to remove the Police Commissioner and he wasn’t prepared to leave the post simply. He eventually left after forty-eight hours and grew a strong critic to the existing government.
President Libra also called the Governor and told him to destroy the old stock of currency immediately or to resign. Governor chose to resign. He was succeeded by the Chairperson of the Economic Council; a woman called Maliya with dyed hair in a golden undertone.
In the days that followed, one charity bank in the capital raised almost two billion rufiya to the charities of ‘Peace Foundations’ whose accounts controlled by some distinguished people. And significantly, a billion claimed by President Libra himself. All that entered to his account at another bank where Rosa and Firal worked.
People invited to the Cosmo Tower party raised two billion in just one night and paid cash. Staffers at the 20th floor were rolling the money through teller machines for two days even before the party began. They rolled the money to pack paper bags for the invitees whose names appeared on the ‘White List’ with their bank details. And bulks of money were rolled out of the tower to the charity bank before 18th March, Friday.
A fund-raising telethon open to the city public could raise 3 to 6 million in 24 hours. To achieve a target of two billion was by far impossible.
Then the banks were tirelessly transferring cash to the central reserve before the deadline. Cash collected were authentic and not counterfeit. Somehow, the forged prints were in the stacks along with the old currency that would be soon destroyed by the Special Forces under the supervision of the Governor; a.k.a. Lady Maliya.
Invitees went home that night with bags full of cash for winning their bets in hundreds of thousands and none happened to be a loser. They all made large deposits to their accounts before the deadline and paid authentic cash at the banks. All their names appeared on the ‘White List’. No questions asked.
Soda and Jina sat with Firal at the police station to interrogate. By then, they knew that the Commissioner received a letter from the Libran Office suspending him from the post. Obviously, a tense situation at the station as the successor named stood on guard like a statue outside the Commissioner’s office expecting him to dismiss. President Libra called Deputy Waxan in the morning and absolutely convinced him. It gave him feathers to expand his chest and stand boldly. Slowly, the forces were getting divided at the station.
Firal was able to state in detail all that happened at the tables and a woman with golden hair who walked in the crowd bare nude. Nobody noticed her.
Soda could hardly believe her. Then she told him how the bearded men grilled her and thrown out of the party. Soda asked, “Why did they pull your panties?”
Firal said, “They were looking for a hex.”
“A hex!” Soda picked one of the items in plastic wrap displayed on the table removed from her handbag, “What is this?”
Firal replied, “I don’t know. That does not belong to me. They slipped it into my bag.”
Jina answered, “That is a baì-rufiya note. Half of one rufiya. I have not seen one in my life ever before. Of course, we don’t belong to the 50’s generation. I’m quite fascinated to note that the denomination is characterised in fraction in this uniface bank note.” It appeared on the top corners as ‘½’ on a red-and-green lines of a geometric circle pattern with a single vignette of the lateen sail doni and palm tree in the centre of the note. “Printed in 1947 in New Malden, Surrey, England, for the very first series of bank notes issued in the Maldives. This was dissolved by the 60’s and a fifty lari coin introduced.”
Soda sat bewildered and then ridiculed, “I guess you can tell who drew it…”
“A local artist at the time by the name of Sayyid Saeed and the calligraphy by Tabah Ali Fulhu.”
“Enough!” Soda knew he could not last here for long. He counted his time in minutes. Last thing he could do was to set her free. He let her go.
Police were gathering information from CCTVs, body cameras, Soda’s infrared camera, files and registers. They obtained a handful of names; Kiyaveli and a bunch of his right-hand men. They were collecting names of the people invited and of the employees from the Economic Council or the Ministry of Finance though the doors were closing on this investigation.
Even the Special Forces won’t know how the cash was moved from Cosmo Tower to Misal Bank – the charity bank. It was rumoured for years that counterfeit money were stowed somewhere in Libra House.
Soda inspected a CCTV footage of Bento, Moose and Moha climbing Don Manica days ago. This Big Game Fishing vessel belonged to Colonel Harry. It didn’t ring a bell. Soda secretly pocketed a complete ‘White List’ with the details of names and addresses, contact numbers and bank accounts.
However, they were unable to carry out a further investigation because Deputy Waxan, now officially the Police Commissioner, called it off. None of the guests or the employees could be interviewed.
Jina and a small group of officers were viewing the most preposterous footage caught on Soda’s camera. It showed like an oil paint on canvas, brief thirty seconds, behind the glass panels moist from condensation, images lingered in bright lights. A sudden tuck and a swift pull, then an icy cold smear on frosty glass to show wheatish skin, black hair and a blue piece of fabric.
Unexpectedly, the door swung open and the new Police Commissioner entered with a cluster of officers on his side. “Destroy the tape!” he ordered.
A day later, Soda was removed from job.