[if this is the first time you have landed here, I strongly recommend, you check this out first]
“So you are telling me. You were coming back from a party. Your car had broken down while on the way back, and the knife that you had, is something that you took from the party.”, Agasthya summarized the statement that Sanjeev had given him during the last half an hour or so.
From the word go, Kabir could see Sanjeev was lying. He stammered, was silent for a long periods before he began his sentences, and continuously fiddled with his thumbs. And yet, Agasthya had not once intervened. He kept listening to his whole story. Egging him on with his frequent nods, and hand movements.
“Yes….yes….”. Sanjeev finally committed to that paper thin statement.
Agasthya nodded, and stood up slowly, “Ok. I have some questions.”, he said.
“What was the number of your car?”
“UAT-08E-3985.”, that was the most confident Sanjeev had been all night.
“Did you lock the car, when you were coming?”, Agasthya fired the question as soon as Sanjeev had answered the first one. He nodded at one of the constables, almost immediately constable was on the radio checking with another check post nearby about any such car.
“Ye…s. Yes I did.”, Sanjeev said, that old doubt was back.
Agasthya looked at the second constable this time, and he shook his head in the negative.
“Do you have the keys, Sanjeev?”, Agasthay started pacing across the room, with his hands crossed behind him, and his head bowed down, deep in thought. Sanjeev’s eyes followed him like they would follow a pendulum. He swallowed hard, and looked even more uncomfortable in that stuffy little room, drenched from head to toe.
“Yes. I do. They are in my..”
“They are not in your jacket. We checked.”, Agasthya cut him off.
“I… I must have dropped them.”, said Sanjeev, almost pleased with the answer he had come up with.
“I guessed so. You are having quite a day aren’t you Sanjeev. Where was the party again?”, Agasthya asked him again. Almost mocking him.
“33C, Gulliver’s Garden, Defence Colony.”, once again he replied with benign confidence. This fluctuation in confidence was putting Kabir off.
Agasthya looked at the second constable again.”I know this address sir. It falls under our police station’s jurisdiction. We have a directory here, which list down addresses and their owner names. I will take a look and let you know.”, Agasthya nodded at that reaction as the constable got up, pulled out a big fat book from among the heap of quilts and pillows next to the radio, and started shuffling through it.
“Tell me again how you got the knife?”, Agasthya started his pacing again.
“It was a birthday party, and I was supposed to bring the cake and the knife. Since it was knife it was sensible enough to take it back with me. When my car broke down, I thought to carry it with me as I looked for a mechanic or some help.”
“You could have stayed in the car. Don’t you have a cell phone?”, Agasthya inquired. He noticed that the first constable on the radio called Kabir over.
“In hindsight I should have. My cell phone is out of juice. Its in the car.”, Sanjeev replied with as much disdain he could muster.
“Here it is sir.”, the constable going through the register called out from behind. Agathsya and Sanjeev looked at him. “The owner of 33C, Gulliver’s Garden in Def Col isnt’t a local resident. He lives somewhere in Ahemdabad. His name is….Doctor Salil Batra.”
Agasthya digested that information slowly. Almost instantly Kabir, walked up to Agasthya and spoke something into his ear. Agasthya nodded, rubbed his chin for a little while and then turned back.
“Sanjeev. There has been a murder. A prominent scientist has been killed not far from here, with a knife no less. We have reasons to believe that Dr. Salil Batra is the next target.”, Agsthya continued, “Now I know you are lying. But its not just all make believe. Somebody asked you to lie.”, Agasthya spoke sharply, looking right into Sanjeev.”How do I know that because you were told to give me that address and number.”
Sanjeev looked back at Agasthya wild eyed. This young man was way over his head. He had no idea what he had landed into.
“You already know that house belonged to Salil Batra. That car you said belonged to you. That belongs to Salil Batra too. What else, that car is parked not a kilometre from here, with the key in the front door, and bloody knife on the front seat.”
Kabir could see Sanjeev’s face get drained of its color. He wasn’t expecting this.
“Now I am betting my job that the knife that you had is not the murder weapon, but the one in the car is. This is Delhi Sanjeev. and you know how Delhi Police works. They have a body, a knife and a man who says the car belongs to him. So if I were you I would start telling the truth right about now.”
The effect on Sanjeev was immediate. The fear on his face clear. He was going to break and spill the beans. Agasthya had told Sanjeev everything, well everything he needed to know. Agasthya hadn’t told him about the note. Along with that knife was a note. A note with a grim poem. Kabir had written it down, as it was narrated to him on the radio. The rhyme still hung in his head.
“One by one they will fall
Kings and soldiers standing tall.
People who once held the wall.
No one will come to their beck and call.
One by one they will fall.”