[if this is the first time you have landed here, I strongly recommend, you check this out first]
On his way to the Check Point, Agasthya noted that the scientist’s mansion was one of the many large house or villas on that road. There were roads, both behind and in front of Nandakumar’s mansion, all of which ran parallel to each other and together formed an expensive up-market residency. The check point in question was on the road, behind Nandakumar’s house. Some villas had entries on both ends, allowing them to access both roads. Nandakumar’s didn’t, instead it had a high wall towards the road where the check point was. The wall was difficult to scale but not impossible. On the other hand though, beyond the wall was the garden, which added up to allow anyone who had climbed the wall access to the window of the study without getting through the main gate in the front. Also the time taken to scale the wall would explain why the murdered was not further away than he already was.
The rain had subsided by the time Agasthya and Kabir reached the Police Check Point. Kabir parked the police jeep right in front of the barrier in the middle of the road and stepped outside, Agasthya shook his head and followed. The Check Point was exactly that a Point. It was 8 by 8 shack made out of stainless steel, painted in the familiar colors of white blue and red of the Delhi Police. Agasthya was the first to reach the non-existent door of the check point. As he stepped inside, he was greeted with crisps salutes by the 2 constables on duty there.
The room was lit by a single gas operated lamp kept right in the center. There was a lever to operate the barrier outside on one wall, with a few plastic chairs too, heaped one onto the other and stacked alongside it. The other one had a police radio, and various quilts and pillows collected into a heap, and put onto a makeshift slab. Along the third one, opposite to the wall which operated the barrier; a small cot was laid out. On that cot, sat a man drenched from head to toe. He had clasped his hands together, and sat with his head bowed down, his elbows resting on his knees. Agasthya had seen outpost on the China border better equipped than this. This was a feeble attempt to show Delhi that police had a presence here, no wonder they were scared of holding someone for long.
“Is he the one?”, Kabir asked one of the constable as he followed Agasthya into the small room pointing at the man sitting on the cot. The constable nodded in the affirmative. He was shivering a bit, Agasthya didn’t blame him.
The man looked up in reaction the question and then stood up. He was tall and slim, wore a plain white T-Shirt and fitting worn out Denim Jeans. He had a pair of heavy hiking shoes on, and a metal watch on his left hand. He was fair and had medium black hair, most of it matted onto his forehead because of the rain; Agasthya would put him somewhere around 26-28 years of age. He seemed fit enough to scale a wall, and then climb up a french window, Agasthya thought to himself.
“Why am I being held?”, asked the young man. “I need to go home, I have rights. You can’t keep me here. I know people.”, focusing his questions onto the constable.
The 2 constables looked worriedly at Kabir, who looked at Agasthya. Agasthya signaled to Kabir that he had this covered.
“And who do you know?”, Agasthya asked calmly. “Mr. Dixit the commissioner of Police in Delhi? Or is it Jay Rawat, the MLA from this area? Or is it someone from the Home Ministry? I have phone numbers of half of them in my phone right now. Tell me who you want me to call, and I will tell him/her why you are being detained. Sounds about right?”, the statement had began slowly but ended with authority. The young man was flustered and gaped wildly at Agasthya. The constables though snickered. Kabir smiled he knew Agasthya didn’t carry a mobile.
The young man sat back down exasperated.”That’s what I thought.”, said Agasthya, “So what’s your name?”, he asked the man and motioned one of the constable to bring him a seat.
“Sanjeev Rana.”, the man answered looking down into the ground. His shoulders dropping as he sat down.
“Look at me when I am talking to you.”, Agasthya spoke in a steely voice. Sanjeev immediately cocked his head, and looked up. Agasthya put his chair in the area between the lamp and the cot, but he didn’t block the lamp itself. Sanjeev’s face was bathed in the yellow light from the lamp allowing Agasthya to observe him better, Agasthya’s however was much more difficult to make out.
“Better. Now tell me who you are? What are you doing here? And why are you carrying a knife with you?”
Kabir found himself smiling internally. He asked for a chair himself and sat down behind the lamp. He motioned the constables to take a seat too. One of them did, while the other squatted onto the floor itself. This was going to be interesting.