When Zap arrived in Pritampur with his companion Abozad,it was a summer noon and the rays of the sun were falling directly over the face. Zap took out from the bag, which he carried over his shoulder, a piece of the newspaper cutting in which an article of the suspect, seen in these whereabouts was published by the correspondent Jaalmani, on a date about a week earlier. Thanks to the precise coverage of the case, somehow leaked in the media, everybody was suddenly getting interested in the person concerned.
Zap and Abozad rented a room in a lodge very near to the station and after having a good meal decided to rest for the day.
The following day Zap met father Ignasius of the convent nearby and mixed with usual conversation, he asked him if somehow he had any knowledge about the suspect they were so desperately trying to locate.
"Mr Zap,my entire day is either spent in the missionary or in the school spreading knowledge or attending to the needs of the distressed. So unfortunately I cannot be of much help to you but the porters who assist the commuters in transferring their luggage always get the possession of even the smallest information surrounding our village, am more than sure that Raghu, their leader, if you meet him will be able to guide you."
From the convent zap and Abozad returned to the lodge.Zap decided that the whole day, they would spend in front of the console and from he footages they have in possesstion they would try to accumulate as much details of the suspect to carry on the investigation.
“Isn’t it possible to take a printout of his picture from the footages that we have and show it to the people who may have seen him”, asked Abozad
"We have thousands of pics already at our possession all collected from different sources. But if we go by the face value of the agency’s words we are not to find him as he looks here," said zap
“Let us jolt down the important details and hope for the best.”
Once the whole process got over zap gave a ring to inspector M.V.Sammaddar with the details. The inspector assured him that if given around a fortnight, they would carry out a search operation according to the leads zap supplied and if successful they would be called for final identification.
True to his word, Inspector Sammaddar, brought before them a dozen people, all tall dark, burly around the age group 28-30. “These people have been nabbed from here and the adjoining areas. Although none possess significant criminal background, they have gone in and out of jail on petty charges.”
Somehow after seeing the people, Zap was not convinced that anyone of them possessed the asteristic resemblance of their suspect. Sammaddar could sense this and thus requested them to have a cup of tea with them.
“Biddhu, tell the chokraa from the nearest stall to bring some biscuits and tea.”
In about five minutes came Natawar Soren’s son Ramavatar with tea. As his teeth flashed after placing the tumbler of tea on the table he said “GARAM CHA AAR SEENGHADA ENECHI BABU!(I have brought hot tea and samosas for you sir),signed a quick namaskar and went away.
Abozad took the onus upon himself of meeting Raghu, the porter, but all he could tell was few days ago a tall person with two suitcases and a trolley bag used the porter services of Gangadeen and paid him sixty rupees. When Gangadeen was called, he added that he left the tourist near the auto stand with his luggage and does not remember anything further.
“Can you then tell me Gangakaka, from which train he got down?”
“Well, eee…um..i have grown old, so I can’t remember much except that the train came from Mumbai on 27 may, I remember clearly as my grandson was born on the same day.”
After returning to the lodge Abozad shared this piece of information with Zap,who was contemplating over something as was clear from the lines that appeared on his temple.
A few minutes later he picked up the telephone and made a call to the station master of Pritampur, requesting him to supply under the oath of confidentiality the details of all the passengers who reached Pritampur from Mumbai on 27 may.
After patiently going through the list he was more surprised than before, because the appearance of the suspect in this part of the world got printed even before 27 may in the daily “The trap”. This did not match with what Gangakaka said and opened up the possibility of a missing link before zap.
Even a cool person like Zap,was getting frustrated. The water was getting murkier and the scattered pieces of puzzle were laughing loud at his intellect.
The relief came in the form of an invitation from Father ignasius tom attend the annual day of the school run by the church.
END OF PART 3