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Detective GovindaM

Updated: Nov 25

Govind Mellachervu, a.k.a Detective GovindaM, is an alumnus of the National Institute of Private Investigations, often consulted for crime investigations. His observation skills and presence of mind have helped numerous victims.

“Detective GovindaM” by V. K. Telkepalli is a collection of six cases between 2001 to 2015 called The Master Copy, Axe Slayer, A Suspicious Husband, The Inner Man, The Red Wallet & Curious Case of Mr Eknath. They showcase how Govind grew up hunting criminals and facing the harsh reality of life over the years.

Cover Photos by Kevin Braun


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This anthology is reviewed by R. S. Chintalapati, edited by Tarun Chintam, proofread by K. M. Sindhushree, & photographed by Kevin Braun.



This anthology is available in paperback & ebook.


Case I

The Master Copy

A professor is missing along with the master copy of a question paper for an upcoming exam. Though uninvited, Govind is fascinated to get involved and help as much as possible for personal reasons & for his colleagues too.

“The Master Copy” is the first case of Detective Govindam that shows the bond between Ankitha, Govindam & Sharma while revealing how the young detective wasn’t always successful in concluding the cases.

Cover Photo by Kevin Braun

8th March 2001

“Pfft… the Professor feels my hypothesis is non-existent. How can he decide that? In the question, he asked about my opinion and not what would happen,” said Govind after reading the answer sheet while we were at the University garden analysing our papers.

It was exam season. Everyone was immersed in books. The photocopy shop had long queues. The pressure on each student could be felt in the whole college. The atmosphere was dense and in the middle of all this pressure was Govind giving the exam, maybe, for the fourth time. He was way past the point of exam pressure and was reviewing a paper he had given two years back. I don’t know how but I feel he has figured it all out. I am sure that by the end of this semester, he will clear all the subjects. That is what his confidence and face said to me.

For years, Govind told everyone he wrote realistic solutions for his questionnaires, but the university was concerned more about the theoretical write-up than anything else, especially the evaluators. Often, I told him, “Well, you need to write a hypothesis that could be a reality, not jot down your wildest fantasies.”

“Yeah… everybody, please listen to this topper beside me! The answer I wrote is the reality and not what this law book in our hand says,” he replied, this time mocking an announcement scenario.

“First of all, you have been completing your third year since the last two years in this institution. So, I think it’s better if you stick to the reality that the professors expect. Next, I bet I can tell you where you are going wrong in your cases yet to come. Wanna bet, Govindam?”

Although everyone calls him Govind, I got used to calling him Govindam. And he likes it too. We have this thing where he always tries to introduce himself as Detective Govindam. And I add a tag, “Cases yet to come.”

Meanwhile, a peon of our faculty was walking by & I wished, “A very good morning Bhai… would you like some tea?” & he gave him a warm smile.

Raju was one of the oldest peons in our college, and almost everyone respected him more than the principal. Govind was fond of him because he rented Raju’s place for the time being. Raju knew Govind was a rusty detective, but he believed in him because of Govind’s walk-the-talk attitude.

"I have no time, Ankitha. Professor Upadhyay is missing, and the master copy of his exam paper is nowhere to be seen. We have informed the Police already, but it’s huge chaos up there,” he said in an anxious tone.

“Raju Bhai, why didn’t you come to me when you realised the papers went missing? This is the kind of case I have been looking for until now. Let’s go to his cabin and understand what has happened.” exclaimed Govind.

“I think it is too risky for you to get involved in Govindam,” I said.

“Raju Bhai, don’t listen to her. This is my chance to rise and shine. Let’s go anyway; if I solve this case, Ankitha will be bearing my expenses for the next month according to our bet,” said Govind.

Raju Bhai considered the proposal for a few moments before saying, “Okay, let’s go; I think I can sneak you in. But you have less time to do whatever you want as the Police will be here anytime soon.”

“Ankitha… Sometimes, this educational establishment needs my help in developing the future of bright students like you,” Govindam mused, dusting off the dirt from his pants and his bag.

“The management suspects that the Professor has leaked the papers. But he is missing. We have called his family, and they have no clue where he is. Before the Police arrive for the investigation, I would like you to have a look at the office and try to find something. This will help us all & most importantly, the college.” said Raju while they were ascending the stairs to the administrative building.

“Get ready to treat me at the Cafe, Ankitha. The case is exciting,” said Govindam, to which I just smiled. “But Bhai, if the papers were leaked, I would have knowledge about it. How come no one told me? Damn! I missed the chance of topping the exams.”

“No... wait... I never said the papers were circulated. The master copy is missing, but the photocopy which the thief planned to distribute is still out there.” said Raju.

Unlocking the Professor’s office, Raju let us in & immediately closed the door behind us. He warned, “No one should know about it.”

“That’s strange. Why does no one have a copy of the leaked paper?” I asked, catching my breath.

“No idea. We have already checked the CCTV footage, and as expected, last night’s recordings were tampered with,” replied Raju.

My heartbeat raced as he said that. But Govind was going around the cabin as calm as a Buddhist monk. After a brief pause, he said, “Okay, lots of puzzles to solve. Let’s start with a demo of the sequence of what might have happened.”

Glancing at the entrance, he continued, “If I were the Professor, I would have entered through the door since I must have the keys, and since it’s exam time, even the watchmen would have allowed me in… Bhai, did you ask the night watchman as to what might have happened? I am sure he must have seen something and the CCTV office is just near the security cabin, so how could anyone tamper with it?”

Raju Bhai could only nod, indicating no and said nothing else.

Pointing his hand now towards me, Govind continued, “Please make a point that we need to talk to the night watchman later... Then the Professor entered the room, opened the drawer, reached for the master copy, and might have started printing photocopies from the machine.”

Going towards the copy machine, Govinda picked up the photocopies before saying, “He was sweating but did not stop. Was it too hot here? No, the AC is always on, and it didn’t rain yesterday. Does that mean… he was afraid? Or…”

I interrupted him to ask, “Wait… wait… wait… how do you know he might be afraid?”

He explained, “The top papers have dried water stains, and the spots are a bit yellow, making them dirt marks. And since the Professor is borderline ethical, he must have been threatened. Note this point as well, Ankitha.”

Annoyed by his commanding tone, I demanded, “Mr So-called detective! I am not your assistant! So, stop giving me orders.”

“No Ankitha, not at all. I am just trying to take help from your memory power. And if I need to remind you, you are the one who agreed to be my assistant.”

All I could do was nod and pen down those points in my notebook. He was right, and I was the one who was excited to be a part of his cases.

“Now, coming back to the professor who was standing there regretting the vulnerable situation and all of a sudden, he is on the floor.”

Govind falls flat on his back on the floor, startling us and gets up immediately to point us towards the carpet. He said, “The Professor was dragged by someone, a man with a heavy build...”

“Again, hypothesis, how can you say a man with a heavy build?” I inquired.

“Uff... Please work on your observations, Ankitha. Take a look here; the carpet has been pressed a bit more than usual, and this pressed fur has a trail to the door. That could only mean that the Professor was dragged here and then got lifted because we didn’t see any dragging marks in the lobby. So this means the person is heavily built to pick up the Professor easily. A fainted professor, to be specific.”

“Professor fainted? How can you say that?”, my curiosity kept on increasing.

And all of a sudden, the cabin doors opened, and the Inspector was standing with his subordinates and our Dean. Gawking at Govind, he exclaimed, “Nice theory kid, but I think aloof you should be charged for the disappearance of Professor Upadhyay.”

“Hello Inspector, Good morning Dean. Well, according to our glorious Indian Penal code, anyone who is found on a crime scene after 8 hours of the crime cannot be called an accomplice of the crime. However, they can be punished for contaminating the crime scene. However, in this case, we haven’t touched anything yet that can be proved after forensics are done with dusting the place and submitting their analysis.’ claimed Govind.

“Ah... Govindam, you might have touched the question papers,” I whispered, but it was loud enough to get heard by everyone.

Our Dean was furious and bursting with anger. Govind calmly took out a visiting card from his shirt pocket, gave it to the Inspector, and introduced himself. I was getting chills, and Raju Bhai froze like he saw a ghost. No matter what, Govind jollily talked to the Inspector and our Dean. After a few minutes, to my surprise, I saw they were shaking hands, and Govind smilingly turned towards me and said, “Ankitha, Raju Bhai meet Inspector Sharma. He has allowed me to investigate the case.”

We had no clue what was going on and how did that happen.

“Continue your theory, Detective Govindam”, said Inspector Sharma.

“Now, where was I… Oh yes. How will you lift a man who is awake and trying to hit? Or look at the papers, the photocopy papers are still here, but the master copy is missing; why? Maybe it was taken by the attacker, or it was thrown somewhere. Or it was delivered to the students directly, which is highly unlikely. I think these are the questions which we need to answer,” said Govind.

Turning to the Inspector, he asked, “While I enquire about the leaked paper, can you guys investigate about the professor’s missing?”

“Well, don’t teach us our job, Govindam. We know what we have to do, so if you are kind enough, leave this place immediately,” said Inspector Sharma.

The Police lingered around for a while and did some preliminary investigations. They took statements from Raju Bhai and me. Later, Govind & I reached the cafeteria, and before I could say anything, I saw him lighting a cigarette and talking to the kiosk owner.

I asked him, “Grab a few coffee bites for me, Govindam”, & he gave a grim look at me as if I had asked for his life. He then picked the jars from the assortments of jars on the kiosk’s front table before taking a handful of coffee bites. He pointed his finger towards me and signalled the kiosk guy to write under my tab. He even included his damn cigarettes too.

That evening, Govind pleaded, “Ankitha, I am tired. Went back home to sleep. Could you please find out the developments from the Police and report to me in the evening?”

“Go by yourself, and for your kind information, I have to study for tomorrow’s exam. So, leave me alone.” I said, knowing that he would have reasons to make me do this, and there he drops that one thing I cannot deny.

“Yeah! Okay… I was just trying to involve you in the case. Anyway, I will go on my own and have a nice bun maska at the Good Luck cafe on the way.”

“Yeah, totally fine by me! Bye!” I said while controlling all my cravings and love for the most famous thing in Pune. Before he spoke another word, I started walking toward the Bus stop, but he was still looking at me as he knew I would return.

Walking a few steps away, I took a turn to run toward him. I hate this guy; he knows all my nerves, and the case also ticks my curiosity.

He just laughed, rejoicing in his victory, and we started walking toward the Police vehicles. In Police’s investigation, they found that the watchman had seen the Professor’s entry with a woman and didn’t know his exit time as he had gone to the washroom when his car left the campus. I assumed he might have brought his wife to the campus, but Govind was sure it was not his wife. After gaining that information, we headed directly towards Good Luck cafe.

“How did you convince the Dean and that inspector to involve you in the case?” I asked him, astounded by the recent events.

“Yes. Sometimes you just need to be smart enough and may need to beg for mercy… By the way, you owe me ₹ 100/-. My hypothesis was correct back there.”

Trying to tone down his enthusiasm, I replied, “Nothing has been proved yet… so hold your horses. I will give it to you once the case is solved.”

After that day, I was busy with our exams while Govind still held onto the case focusing on the developments from the Police department. Strangely, I used to find him chatting with a few notorious groups of the college daily. One fine evening, the Police found the Professor’s car in the lake almost on the outskirts of the city. The Professor’s body was found; they had found the master copy too! They were about to close the case and declare it as suicide, but neither Govind nor I was not convinced about it.

So Govind wanted to take a deeper look into the car. Pleading Sharma, he somehow sneaked into the car for a deeper investigation. The fingerprints were washed off because of water; the forensics had already swept it clean, and he couldn’t find anything significant.

With whatever he found, Govind needed the resources at the station to have a deeper look. He went to the police station to ask for details from Inspector Sharma. Since the case was closed, the evidence was shifted to headquarters. To access the room, a person should know the case number and should register his entry and exit in the register.

Inspector Sharma refused to give him access as the issue was resolved, and Govind would be booked under evidence tampering if he tried to access it on his own. But Govindam’s motivation and curiosity never bothered him from such hurdles. He borrowed a constable dress from a costume guy and entered the headquarters, showcasing his utmost confidence.

The police headquarters had a complicated layout. The building was more confusing than our college & that was saying something. However, Govind found the evidence room in the corner of the building. The room was no different from a typical bureaucratic structure. Caged counters. Huge piles of files all around the tables. A constable was sitting on a table whom no one could find unless called, and even he was as dusty as those files around him. Govind signed the register, after which the constable fetched the evidence box for the case.

He went through the contents of the box. On top were the forensic reports and a few other papers. The forensics had found a lipstick. It seemed like a costly one. The master copy was in the car but it was totally washed down due to water. There was a brown shoe which Govindam recognised, and he knew it belonged to the Professor. Govindam couldn’t add up the contents found and what might have occurred. But he was sure the Professor was with a woman or a girl before he went missing. There was no sign of the Professor nor his whereabouts.

The next day, Govind told me what happened back in college. Since it was already the end of the semester, there was no one on campus. The news that one of their Professors died circulated, but none of them knew the truth, as to what happened or how. Govind headed directly towards the old hostel buildings where the notorious group was celebrating the end of exams, and all were drunk.

Govind walked into the building as if he knew where he was supposed to be headed. The building had a foul smell, and the moss had taken over the walls. The building was constructed with stones and cement; thus, there were no cracks, but one of the side walls had fallen, due to which it was emptied years back. Now it was only habitable for big rats, insects and a few birds. Sometimes, it was used by students to drink.

Heading towards the warden’s room, Govind found those students that he suspected were involved in robbing the master copy. They were wasted. He picked one of those guys and slapped him as hard as he could. The boy was startled for a moment but soon returned to his numb state and had no reaction to the beating.

Fed up, Govind asked furiously, “What did you guys know about the professor?”

“That dean was supposed to give us the papers… but he ran away without delivering it… and now probably he is dead,” said the boy in a slurry voice.

“Tell me clearly, what did you guys do?”

“We had some photographs of his affair. We threatened him, but he didn’t budge, but his lover did. However, she didn’t deliver.”

“Why did you guys kill the Professor then? Where are the photos of the affair?”

“The photographs are here,” he said, waving his hand haphazardly around the place. “And we didn’t kill him. He was supposed to be kidnapped by his lover & we were supposed to get the master copy for the photos, but we never heard after the abduction,” said another gang member.

I started to look around the place and found a few photographs. Govind grabbed one from my hand and looked closely at it, “Who is she? Did you see her face?” he asked, holding the collar of another student.

“We never got to see her,” came the reply.

Govind had lost his mind and was outraged. We had no idea what was going on. What has been happening?


Case II

The Axe Slayer

Mr Maniratnam, a businessman, gets killed in the middle of the night & his head is taken by his killer. When the Police are called, they summon Detective Govindam to get some help in finding the killer.

“The Axe Slayer” is the second case of Detective Govindam, where the budding detective collaborates with Inspector Sharma and Ankitha to find the mysterious killer of Mr Maniratnam while learning the treacherous past of his victim.

Cover Photo by Kevin Braun

24th April 2003

On a full moon night, as Mr Maniratnam lay resting in his bedroom, an axe clipped off his head with brute force.

The following day, while Govind was reading the daily newspaper, comfortably seated in his rocking chair on the balcony, the phone rang and there was a brief gaze from him to pick up the phone, which I conveniently ignored. After a few rings, accepting the defeat, he picked up the receiver.

While I was preparing for my bar exam, I continued to tail him on his cases and started writing investigative journals for the local paper.

Concluding the call, he shouted, “It’s Inspector Sharma. He says he would need our help.”

That’s all it ever took for Govind. A request for help.

It took us half an hour to reach the scene via an auto rickshaw, and Inspector Sharma was, as usual, standing with his intense grimness inspecting the crime scene. He seemed both curious and anxious at the same time as we exchanged looks.

While Mrs Maniratnam was crying, their servants stood in stunned silence near the room entrance. We entered to take a look at the body and noticed blood spread all over the white sheets and Mr Maniratnam’s body lying on his bed, but to my surprise, his head was nowhere to be seen. Before Govind could ask the inspector, he confirmed that the head was indeed missing. Govind had noticed the clean-cut, the inspector continued by mentioning that the early forensic findings suggested that the weapon used was an axe, and Govind nodded, agreeing with the conclusion.

Suddenly from nowhere, a hand with a cup of tea appeared in front of me. One of the servants of the Maniratnam family brought it, and I accepted his offer and continued to observe the body. Camera shutter sounds were ringing in my ears while Govind was taking a look at the axe cut.

The cut around the neck was clean and swift and it also ripped the pillow, indicating the killer was not only strong but also unhesitant. Probably, Mr Maniratnam didn’t even know what was going on, before he was killed. I could guarantee that whosoever the person was, he knew how to use an axe for such a cut. But the biggest question, which was storming my brain, was why someone wanted to kill Mr Maniratnam, a reputed businessman and well-respected man. Govind understood my thoughts and said, “Would be great if you start thinking where is the head?” before his regular show-off biz and asked me to note a few points.

“As we can see, there were no bloodstains in any other part of the room. It was totally closed, and not even a single trace of someone coming through the balcony could be seen, and so this concluded that the murderer had entered from the main entrance. Where did the murderer put the head? How did he carry it? What was his motivation? Why didn’t anyone notice him if he entered from the main door? Are the questions which we need answers to, Ankitha.” said Govind as he turned towards me and winked.

Before long, we were back in the office, and I noticed Govind’s Rubik’s cube that lay as a paperweight in the middle of all the papers was still unsolved. Picking it up, Govind tried to find possible answers with each flip of the cube, while I was reading the intel received after enquiring about Mrs Maniratnam. I could also hear Govind’s excitement about the case, and I was sure he would want me to write it down that very night itself and I was planning too.

Thinking this would be a good time to reveal my findings, I informed Govind that one of the servants named Krishnakanth was from the village Mr Maniratnam originally came from and was hired a year ago, and Govind stopped for a minute. He immediately instructed me to go to Mr Maniratnam’s native village and find out every detail I could find about Krishnakanth and his relationship with Mr Maniratnam before he joined as one of the servants in the home. Though I disliked such requests in the past, I’m more than willing to help, and I think it is because it helps me with my content or offers me a little joy to help Govind.

The next day, we were invited to Mr Maniratnam’s funeral, and I could notice that Govind was preoccupied throughout the event, asking the obvious question of where Mr Maniratnam’s head was even after I reported back a lead but Govind wasn’t satisfied yet.

Not bothering and lost in my thoughts, I stood beside the others silently. Those rituals always annoyed me, but the interesting element was that Krishnakanth stood beside Govind, observing the proceedings with great pity. Greeting Govind with a smile, he asked, “Are you also an atheist?”

Govind surprisingly nodded, confirming his guess, and Krishnakanth remarked, “I could see that you are bugged up with the proceedings!”

As Govind continued his silence, Krishnakanth again asked, “Would you like to come to my house just a few blocks away to escape this?”

With a smile, Govind replied, “No thanks. I am fine.”

Taking a deep breath, he exclaimed before leaving, “I cannot take it anymore. This cemetery is annoying me.”

After the funeral, Govind called Inspector Sharma and asked him to search the cemetery, to which the inspector was quite surprised. However, Govind assured him that he had identified the murderer, and according to his theory, Mr Maniratnam’s missing head would be around his burial site itself. The next day, he assembled every house member in the living room since the police finally recovered the missing head, just as Govind had predicted.

With the entire room packed with members of the house, Mrs Maniratnam curiously asked, “What is going on here, detective?”

Unable to bear her impatience, Govind replied, “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m pleased to inform you that we have found Mr Maniratnam’s head, and I have found the killer as well. You’d be surprised to know that he is in this very room right now.”

Leaning back on the only closed door, Inspector Sharma questioned in exhaustion, “So, who was it?”

“Mr Krishnakanth, please proceed. I don’t want to waste my energy.”

“Wh... Wha… What? Do you think it’s me? I… I… was not the one who buried the head there...”

“Ahh... Then tell us how you know that the head was buried in the first place?”

“A... aa... aa”

While everyone gawked at him, Govind said, “Ahh… apparently I should spend my energy after all and tell them what happened… So, Mrs Maniratnam, your servant here, Mr Krishnakanth, is also from your in-law’s place, as you said during our inquiry. I had my doubts about him when he offered me tea when I first came to the crime scene. How could a person working the whole day in the house have such dirty nails containing mud which usually is the case with gardeners?”

As Krishnakanth silently placed his hands in his pockets, Govind continued, “To know more, I sent Ankitha to his native place to inquire about his past. From there, I learned that your husband and Krishnakanth were relatives. Your husband was Krishnakanth’s son-in-law, and he molested and cheated on Krishnakanth’s daughter before he married you. While he was marrying you, Krishnakanth’s daughter tried to oppose him, but Mr Maniratnam’s father not only covered it all up but even insulted and harassed her badly. The poor woman couldn’t take all that and decided to commit suicide.”

Noticing how Krishnakanth’s face turned red, Govind concluded, “And our dear Krishnakanth here, or should I say, Mr Arvind, being the discarded adopted father, who never met your husband in the past, introduced himself as a poor guy and entered your house. And yes, Mr Arvind, who was a woodcutter in the past, knew how to use an axe excellently. Am I right, Mr Arvind, or am I wrong?”

Giving up his pretence, Arvind shouted, “Yes! Yes! I did kill him… I killed that bastard for what he has done to my girl in my absence. When I buried her body in this very city, I vowed to kill him….”

Not bothering anyone in the room and even pleased with himself, Arvind continued, “And as promised, I buried his head near her tomb as an offering. I thought if the head was missing, it would be impossible to solve the case, and I would be living freely until my last days. But, I am curious to know as to how you got to know where I buried the head?”

Staring into his guilt-free eyes, Govind replied, “As I told you, ever since I saw mud in your nails and got to know about your previous profession, I had a suspicion. It grew when you were the only servant to attend his funeral, implying a closeness, and my mind started ticking when you said the cemetery annoys you. So, I just tried a blind shot and asked Inspector Sharma to search the cemetery, and the rest happened, as you know.”

As soon as Govind completed, Mrs Maniratnam shouted, “You...” and held Mr Arvind by his collar. Though it seemed like she wanted to hit him, she just cried and shouted, “Take him out of my sight!”

It was disheartening to see the look on Mrs Maniratnam’s face as she realised, she mourned a man who never truly deserved to be loved.

As for Mr Arvind, being jailed in the past for his crimes did not deter him from taking the law into his own hands. He chose to fall back on the world of violence to bring justice to his daughter. He went from being a father who could not protect his daughter’s life since he was always locked up to being a father who would now be imprisoned for avenging her death.


Case III - VI

The rest of the cases are only accessible via ebook & paperback.

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