She was waiting for the call. As ordered, she couldn’t leave before receiving that particular call. She almost dozed off when the vibration of her own phone startled her. She took no time to press the ‘accept’ button.
“Is he sleeping?” the voice on the other side calmly asked.
“Okay, you may leave now. Thanks for your service”.
Never in her life anybody ever had thanked her before for her service. She was still sitting there, flummoxed. Then silently she picked her handbag up, slipped into the deserted corridor and closed the door behind. She touched once again the wad of notes inside her bag and smiled. She took the stairs as was instructed and within a few minutes she was on the road. Though it was almost midnight and a diaphanous curtain of fog were hanging all over, she easily spotted the car which was waiting for her. She tapped the glass on the driver’s side. The poor guy perhaps was taking a nap. After the third knock, he opened the door for her. She made herself comfortable inside as the engine revved up.
Anil Rastogi, the newly recruited housekeeping staff of Hotel View Point, felt the presence of numerous beads of sweat on his forehead denying the chilly weather. He was feeling nervous and tensed. This was the tenth time he knocked at the door of the exclusive suite but in vain. No response. The occupant being one of the most renowned business tycoons of India, he was completely at a loss with his next move. After another unsuccessful loud knock, he decided to inform the manager.
Inspector Roy was about to finish his 7th round of jogging when his cell phone rang. Mechanically he took the call without noticing the number and said, “Hello, Inspector Roy here.” After listening for a couple of minutes, he disconnected the call and resumed his jog to finish the round. He was not going anywhere without 10 rounds.
When after about forty minutes Roy entered the plush lobby of Hotel View Point, it was looking no different from any other day. The hotel authority has successfully kept the matter private till now it seems, mused Roy, but not for long. Nobody paid attention to him as he made his way towards the reception. A young man in his early twenties greeted him nonchalantly. Without his uniform, Roy didn’t look any different from every Tom-Dick-Harry. But a keen observer seldom failed to notice his deep brown penetrative eyes with a glint of intelligence in them. His brain and his eyes, a deadly combo, as his colleagues often said about him.
The nonchalance of the receptionist transformed into reverence as Roy showed him his ID card. Nervously, he summoned a waiter standing nearby and told him to take Roy to the Manager’s cabin.
Mr Kashyap, the manager of the most prestigious hotel in Dehradun, Hotel View Point, was waiting eagerly for Roy. A small team including a photographer and a doctor were on their way, but Mr Kashyap especially requested the Police Commissioner to send Inspector Roy as early as possible. At this moment, he wanted nothing more than to go away with the whole thing. It was a prestige issue for his hotel. Kashyap knew Roy from an earlier case and he also knew that a clean-chit from his side meant an end of all hullabaloos.
“So, Mr Kashyap, I hope you or any of your staff has not touched anything yet. Let’s get to Suite no. 708″. Roy avoided any formal greeting and went straight to the point. Kashyap muttered,”c-c-coffee?” But stopped in the middle, took the master key and started his way towards the lift followed by Roy.
A gust of chilly wind from the Northern Mountains greeted Roy as he entered the bedroom of the suite. Shivering, he moved forward and closed the shutters. His eyes keen and attentive. “Did anyone entered the room except you?” he asked.
“None, just me and Anil, the guy who called me around 7.30 am to inform that Mr Suresh Singhania was not opening the door even after repeated knocking”.
“Hmmm, did you, by any chance, open the window right beside the bed?”
Kashyap nodded. “It must be the wind, otherwise who will be such crazy to keep the window open for the whole night in the month of December? We saw it when we entered earlier”.
Roy looked at the body which was lying on the designer four poster bed. He touched the fingers of Late Mr Singhania. Cold as ice. The severe wind from the open window did its work. He had to wait for the doctor to know the exact time of the death.
The team with the doctor arrived after 10 more minutes. In the meantime, Roy checked everything. Nothing seemed to be out of order. Everything was just perfect.
“As it looks from the cursory examination”, Dr Lohia said, “Mr Singhania died between 4.00 to 5.30 am in the morning. Reason, massive heart attack. He didn’t get much time, passed away in his sleep”. “I can cater you with the exact timing and other details later”.
“Open and shut case Sir”, announced Anand, Roy’s assistant. “Nothing is missing, No evidence signifying any forced entry or anything. The man died a normal death”.
“Our CCTV footage is also there Sir” added an enthusiastic Kashyap,”Nobody entered or left this floor after 11.30 last night. The lift took nobody up or down from this floor”. All he wanted was to get rid of this event. A death was okay for him. But a planned death, which he dared to call a murder, would be enough to ruin his career, as well as the reputation of the hotel.
Roy was thinking. Too much normalcy meant something was abnormal. However, he instructed Anand to perform the routine jobs and was about to leave the room when something attracted his attention. It was a bookmark. He took it out from under the table. A handmade, unusual looking bookmark.
He didn’t find any book in the suite. There were some newspapers and magazines, but no book.
To be continued………..
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