“Man! That was a hectic morning.” I said stretching out my arms and pushing back on the squeaky chair. For an old damp and dusty office, surprisingly the chairs are still a good comfort “It’s Friday for heaven’s sake. Planned to leave early and catch that new movie.”
“Well it’s what you always wanted, right Sir?” Said my partner in crime or rather crime solving I must say. He actually is my junior by 5 years but has the potential to rise very rapidly in his career. He came under my wing when I was posted in this neighborhood as Inspector six months ago. “Hardly anything ever happens in this area and this is the first interesting case in months.”
The vintage phone on the clustered desk suddenly rang.
“You should clean your desk once a while. It’s for you by the way” I yawned keeping my legs on the table and getting more comfortable on the old chair.
“Sub-Inspector Ajay here…Yes sir.” He sprang up from his seat in an instant. Still holding the receiver as if saluting with it, he continued “No sir! We have gathered all the information and all evidences from the crime scene has been sent for forensic tests. We are expecting the results by evening. No sir, the media are not much aware about it and we are keeping things under wrap. Will keep you posted Sir.” He laid down the receiver.
“Sir, that was.”
“I know. I already updated him twice since morning. He seems to have known the victim personally” I said smirking at him.
“What’s next Sir.”
“I suggest solving the case fast, before he calls again.”
“But Sir, it’s a simple and plain case of suicide. Bankrupt guy in mid fifties, wife dead, no children and depression got to him and he sought an end to it.”
“Don’t shrug it off so easily. You believe he shot himself from that angle? The bullet went from the front of his temple and not from side as one would assume in a suicide”
“It is possible sir, look” He took out his gun and held the nozzle to his temple at the point where the victim had the wound, but struggled to wrap his fingers around the trigger. “I guess one would have to use both hands to press the trigger.”
“Exactly we will have to wait for the forensics to confirm finger prints from both hands on the gun then right.”
“Right, sir wasn’t this guy, Mr. Vijay a big shot in his prime? Owner of that company, what’s the name, ya Marvel Engineering. Good company though.
“Yes, he lost everything to that young chap he sort of had adopted. Handed over everything to him and then got kicked out. He was staying on rent in his own house you know.”
“Yes I read that too. Some orphan named Hari, highly qualified and extremely smart is what the papers said. He took the company to great heights.”
I nodded “Vijay met him in some event years ago when Hari was still a student and was impressed at once. He took him under and over the years he started heading the management. Few years back they started falling apart and that started Mr. Vijay’s downfall. He by then had already sort of handed over everything to his name. The dead guy since then was fighting for his right in the courts. If you ask me this Hari surely had motive to kill this guy fearing Vijay would win against him.”
Suddenly a huge commotion was heard outside. A constable walked in “Sir Mr. Hari is here to see you.”
“Well this is a surprise. Send him in”
A fairly young man in mid thirties in black blazer and blue jeans stepped in followed by two huge guys in black t-shirts. Now Hari had a face that one can stare at for long time. Perfectly chiseled face with long hair and that smudge of pride will make anyone hate him at once.
“Hello Officers” he shook his firm hands with us. I noticed he had a band aid on his index finger “I am Hari, the CEO of Marvel Engineering. May I” pointing to the chair out in front.
“Yes please, what can we do for you Mr. Hari?”
“I have come to record my statement up front and save you the trouble of coming to me later on for the same.”
“A moment Mr. Hari, Ajay turn on the camera in the corner. Its protocol you see. Yes pray continue.”
“You must have by now realized my relation with Mr. J, I mean Mr. Vijay. We were not on good terms if you know what I mean and with his death all of a sudden. It doesn’t look good for me. Poor soul though, I wish I’d been there earlier. It might have made all the difference. So all I can tell you is why he was murdered.”
“What!” exclaimed my partner.
“I know you would have by now already inclined on me doing it. What I meant was that his own ego and stubbornness led to him killing himself. I offered to help him many a times but he refused. Yes, there were some conditions of course that he actually refused. But you see I am a business man. I look for profit in everything I do.”
“Even to a man who made you what you are today!”
He sat upright “I made myself officer not him.” He stopped and took a deep breath. “Anyways, I have come to say that I have an alibi for last night. I was at home and my guards can confirm that. Also you can verify my CCTV footages for the same.”
“We will certainly verify everything our way Mr. Hari.”
After a brief talk of some unrelated matter, he left. Ajay who showed him out came back in.
“I think he came with the press Sir. He just gave the same statement outside.
“Yes he is very smart, trying to gain the public and media sympathy beforehand. With his power and influence, I think he can manipulate and fake any number of alibis. He could easily tamper with the CCTV footages at his and I bet even the footages from victims place would not be of much help.”
The phone rang again startling me. I picked it up this time “Hello, yes speaking. Yes Doctor, go ahead. Oh I see. Thank you doc. Yes, send those files over when complete.”
“What’s the report, sir?”
“Vijay was poisoned! They found traces of poison in the autopsy. Probably in the drink he was having. And yes they found finger prints from both hands on the gun”
“How’s it possible. It means he first consumed poison and then shot himself. It doesn’t make sense.”
I was silent. My mind swirling trying to connects the dots.
“Let’s visit the crime scene again.”
We spent hours at the scene and in parallel did a complete background check on both Vijay and Hari and people close to them. A number of calls were made to get all possible information on them but nothing helped. I took a cigarette break “No break-in so it must mean he knew the person to allow him in and if it was him, he has done a good job. No clues what so ever. He is way too smart. Check all the call logs from his landline and mobiles. Was he expecting any visitors last night?”
My mobile rang, I excused myself. I came back looking more serious.
“What is it sir?”
“Just spoke with the victim’s lawyer. He says Mr. Vijay had a weak case and was probably going to lose.”
“Oh! So it was suicide after all.”
I walked around the hall in silence. Something’s off. I just can’t place it.“Let’s pay Hari a visit.”
Late that night at Hari’s bungalow a guard showed us in to the seating area. Hari was found sitting on the sofa with his head down. He was in his night pajamas and seemed like he was knocked out cold for he had drinks set out before him. The guard tried to wake him up but he just slumped over sideways. It was then when Ajay checked his pulse we realized he was dead.
Within the next hour or so the place was crowded with backup police, forensic team and the medics.
“Sir this now changes everything. We now have a common enemy or a serial killer. The killing pattern is the same. Both victims are found on their sofas with a drink on the coffee table. One was poisoned and shot, the other also poisoned I guess.
“Your guess seems right, poison it must be.” I walked around in silence when something caught my eye. I stopped before a beautifully crafted scotch bottle on the shelf. “Send this bottle immediately to the forensics and gather all other evidences. I think I know who murdered him.”
The Short Story continues here....