Chapter 13(M): Mind of a Murderer

[if this is the first time you have landed here, I strongly recommend, you check this out first]

Agasthya was feeling the heat and it wasn’t just the Bangalore weather. The first news that his team had got as soon as they had landed at the KIAB International Airport was that Akash Sharma had been found dead in his car. Kabir was baffled, ever since that fateful night the killer has been one step ahead of them at every single turn. Chandra was sure this was the job of a terrorists organization, as only they had the resources to pull of such meticulous kills. Agasthya was not so sure.

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Chapter 12(L): Paradise Lost

[if this is the first time you have landed here, I strongly recommend, you check this out first]

Akash adjusted his tie until it was dead center and looked in perfect shape. He smiled at himself in the mirror. 30 years, and he still looked the part. He always believed that keeping fit should be as important as keeping rich. He sure was fit, and soon he was going to be rich too, or to be more accurate richer.

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Chapter 11(K): The kill, the clue

[if this is the first time you have landed here, I strongly recommend, you check this out first]

The police color painted Tata Sumo bumped and rolled on the dusty streets. Agasthya, Kabir and Chandra had left as soon as they heard report of a critical Salil Batra. From what they could understand from the broken conversation over the radio, was that Batra had fallen sick about an hour after their last radio contact. They had to turn back to the last village they had crossed and had admitted Batra into the local hospital. No foul play was evident, but Agasthya would be the judge of that. The car bumped up and down tremendously but Agashya and the others didn’t have time for comfort.

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Chapter 10(J): Jaipur

[if this is the first time you have landed here, I strongly recommend, you check this out first]

Agasthya wiped his forehead for the nth time. It was like sitting in a car out in the sunlight with its window shut. The only difference was he wasn’t in a car, but a outer border Police Chowki of Jaipur. It had turned out that Dr. Salil Batra was nearer to Jaipur, than he was to Ahmedabad. Agasthya had taken a call and wanted Salil Batra to come to Jaipur instead of Ahmedabad. Not only did it reduce the time where Salil Batra was un-protected, it also threw a wrench in the plans of the killer, if he had plans for Ahmedabad.

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Chapter 9(I): Identity

[if this is the first time you have landed here, I strongly recommend, you check this out first]

Parshuram spread the 7 photos with a smooth moment of his hands into a semi-circle. He had crossed out the photo on his extreme left with a red marker. He picked up that photo and admired it, Dr. Nandakumar beamed back at him. It was an old photo, taken from his formative years in the DRDO.

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Chapter 8(H): A Hunt?

[if this is the first time you have landed here, I strongly recommend, you check this out first]

“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.”

Agasthya read it, and then re-read it. It was clearly a message, and an omen of things to come. It was also a challenge. But was it a deception? These were the questions that had been floating around in Agasthya’s head ever since Kabir told him of this note. It was still in his mind when he was summoned to the N.I.A headquarters in Delhi, and asked for a debriefing.

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Chapter 7(G): Grim Poem

[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.

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Chapter 6(F): First Contact

[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.

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Chapter 5(E): Experience

[if this is the first time you have landed here, I strongly recommend, you check this out first]

“Dr. Salil Batra”, Agasthya repeated that name twice. Running it through his head to see if he can pick up something. After a few seconds, he shook his head and turned back to the window sill.

“Kabir Bhai, find out who this Salil Batra is. Name, location, relation, records. The complete works. Use my authority if you run into roadblocks.”

Agasthya had been calm when he gave the above order. But Kabir felt it should be more important.

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Chapter 4(D): Dr. Salil Batra

[if this is the first time you have landed here, I strongly recommend, you check this out first]

“What do you make of the murder scene.”

Kabir had been waiting for this question as soon as they had entered the study. Agasthya always asked him this question. It was like he tested his skills, but he knew it was more because Agasthya didn’t want to re-work anything that Kabir had already done.

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