That was IT? I felt like one of those obsessive moms who teach their kids verses from the Gita for a fancy dress competition and then gape in horror at their child prancing about stage without a care in the world, completely oblivious to all they have been force-fed. The Judge saw me hissing hurried prompts to the PP, and taking full advantage of his attention I launched into arguments and tried to prove my case. But to no avail - Anticipatory Bail was granted.
"Ruma," said SP, who is the senior most associate in the office and of very high coolness quotient, "why are you looking so upset?"
"Dude. I just blew the anticipatory bail hearing."
"Ruma, its part of the game, you win some, you lose some. Which court was this in, anyway?"
"Patil. No. 34."
"Patil? So the PP was Rao?"
SP chuckles. "Didn't you go to brief him?"
"Of course I did. Twice. I gave him all the papers also. He just stood up and sat down, almost. Bloody hell!"
"So you went to brief him? In his office?"
"And then he sent you to get your copies, with the Peon?"
"Yeah...how did you know?"
SP smiled. "And then what happened?"
"I got the copies, paid for the xerox, and came back to office."
"Yeah, that's it."
"That cannot be it."
SP clicked his tongue on the roof of his mouth. "Think Ruma, think."
"What think? I spoke to the PP, briefed him, then he sent me to look for his peon to go get the copies made..."
Then I remembered. Someone called out to me.
"Aren't you AR's junior? Isn't he Special PP in the Arms Haul case?"
I whirled around. "Yes, I am."
"So will you accept service on his behalf? Something urgent has come in."
Flashback over. SP is clutching his sides and laughing. "No wonder!"
"No wonder what?"
"Obviously, once he heard that you were Boss's Junior there was no fucking way he would ever approach you. That's his game, he sends you with the Peon, and the Peon makes the offer and handles the transaction. Whether you want Bail granted or you want Bail denied, Rao gets his cut."
My head reeled from the impact of both the revelation and the timing. "How much IS his cut?"
"5. 4 for the PP, 1 for the Peon."
Holy Crap! I'm not saying that I was totally in denial of the possibility that PPs could throw cases. But just for a gain of 4,000 bucks?
I began to stutter. "SP, dude, are you telling me that it was rigged?"
"Who was the Opposing Lawyer?"
"Uh, yeah, I mean, he was kinda dark complexioned."
"Poor baby," said SP, ruffling my hair. "Even the IIMs are considering giving him a honorary degree in Management. You never even stood a chance."