Inspector Kartik Srinivasan arrived with his crew to the Srinagar slum area in Saki Naka, Andheri, Mumbai. The man was lying on the stairway face down. His right arm was stretched out above him. His left arm was pulled back behind him. His skull was broken on the back and the brain was lying nearby! The fingers were missing from both the hands. The flesh from within his right calf was exposed below the Bermuda he was wearing. All in all it was a gruesome sight!
After the photographer had done his job and the body was sent for post-mortem. Kartik started looking around. He saw a pair of slippers nearby, which he picked up. He then started asking questions. Everybody was there to watch the fun rather than help the police. By then, wailing sounds started emanating from the dead man’s house. Kartik was walking towards the house when his eyes fell on an open drain nearby.
It was morning and the women in the slum area had been busy collecting water in the single tap, when the dead body was discovered. All the water collection exercise had cleared the water. There was some piece of metal lying in the clear water. Kartik put his gloved hand into it and picked up a walking stick. Experience told him that it was a gupti. When he opened it, there were bloodstains on the knife!
“Hi, Radha! We need your help,” said Rashmi Sharma. The two friends were sitting with Ravi, Rashmi’s brand-new husband, in a restaurant. Lowering her voice she continued, “Ravi has been given a research assignment for the defense by his company, Shroff and Nagotnekar, a research-oriented company. Ravi had a concept about a secret weapon that uses radioactivity. And he offered to develop this for the Indian army. And now…”
“And now,” Ravi took up the narrative. “Twice, thefts have been attempted on these plans! I don’t want anybody to know about it, so I request you to help me out. I need the plans until I officially hand it over to the army.”
“Do you suspect anybody?”
“As a matter of fact, no. All the staff has security clearance.”
“What exactly happened?”
“The CD, with the blueprints, is located in a highly secure locker in a special windowless room in our office building at Saki Naka. The security system is such that anybody within a few feet of the door can excite the alarm. The first time the thief had been caught by the laser alarm but he escaped. The second time, we don’t know how but he passed this alarm without being caught. He had unlocked and entered the room and the alarm started ringing. When the guards reached there, they found only a toy dog inside the room.”
“This thief could have disarmed the outside alarm the second time?”
“Could be,” he shrugged.
“Or is there someone, who is helping from the inside?”
“I have started having second thoughts about the security clearance myself. Now, who could have reached inside the room despite the security being beefed up the second time?”
“I think the man or woman behind this is playing pranks. Tighten up the security further. Also, exchange the blueprints for a fake one. Let’s see what happens. In the meantime, can you get me the security DVDs of those days when the thefts happened? You must be having security cameras in the room.”
“In fact, due to the army authorities’ insistence, we have installed cameras at various points from the entrance of the building till the room and within it. I think I can manage to both the change the blueprints and pick up the DVDs, tonight.”
“I hope no one will suspect you for it.”
“Don’t worry. I am used to visiting the room often, during the evening, too.”
Ins. Kartik found out that the slippers he had found at the murder site did not belong to the victim. It belonged to a school-dropout called Dattar, who had left for his village the previous day. The gupti had the victim’s blood AB positive on it.
The victim, Alex D’Cruz was 26-year-old and another school dropout, who was initially working for sometime as a dye-maker. For the last 1 or 2 years, he had been an epileptic. Always smiling, he was a well-behaved unmarried man. He was going to Saudi Arabia to join a pharmaceutical company as a driver, within 8-10 days. Alex and Dattar were very good friends before drifting apart.
The previous day he had had dinner at midnight with the whole family and went to sleep in a separate room, as usual alone. Nobody could tell what had happened at night. The post-mortem report said that Alex had died of haemorrhage and shock due to multiple incised wounds over his head and body. There had been total 22 strikes on the poor man.
To be continued