Have you missed the first part? read HERE
“What you’re saying Roy, is absolutely impossible”, declared ACP Gupta. “Mr Singhania and his ilk…you know…they are not ordinary people. Mrs Singhania has no confusion of any foul play, the primary medical report is okay, then on what basis are you creating this ruckus for postmortem? Only because you’ve found a casual bookmark in the room doesn’t establish the fact that there is any chicanery involved”.
“But Sir…. Mr Singhania was perfectly normal even when he was served dinner that night. One of the hotel employees has confirmed that. He was a patient of hypertension, but he used to take medicine for that regularly, the bottle which has been found on the bedside table…”
ACP Gupta interrupted him, “…..high blood pressure is a silent killer.. …the attack occurred in his sleep”. After a moment, he added,”Whatever, high blood pressure is not germane to our discussion. The crux is, no postmortem order is there for Singhania. I’ve already asked the concerned team to help Mrs Singhania in every possible way so that she never gets a chance to complain. I’m really feeling sorry for the lady, though her personal life is frazzled still she is handling the situation with great aplomb”.
Roy sighed. A postmortem might answer some of the questions which he had in his mind. But that’s not possible. These big people and their connections and rules. It sucks!
Roy went down to the coffee shop which had recently opened just beside the Police Station. He was feeling exhausted. The exhaustion was rather psychological than physical. Those unanswered questions which his brain raised, regarding the case, were pricking him. He knew he was not going to get any respite unless he could find the answers… satisfactory, logical answers. The aroma of freshly brewed strong filter coffee was doing its bit to ameliorate his present conundrum. Still he couldn’t help but think about the case. The strangest thing, he found about it, was that nothing seemed unnatural or imperfect. Everything was nicely placed in place, every bit of the plot was neat and tidy. Except…except that open window and the bookmark. Nobody was there in the room but the gentleman himself. He thought again. Was he straining his brain more than enough? Making mountain out of molehills? As the ACP said? The open window could just be a coincidence, the wind was blowing harsh that night …. and so the bookmark. Someone might have left it there.
“I need a break” Roy muttered as he sipped his coffee.
Suddenly his contemplation was interrupted by a giggle. A young couple had entered the coffee shop and the giggle of the sweet looking girl was already changed into loud laughter.
“You kept me waiting for more than 10 minutes!” The boy said, “…and now you’re laughing your head off! What’s so funny?”
The girl made a face. “It was such fun watching you! Every two minutes you’re looking at your mobile and then at your watch..almost like a clockwork toy”.
“But how did you see that?” He was exasperated.
“Because I was standing there all along…even before you came. Hiding behind the bookstall …”
Roy was electrified. The last sentence gave him a jolt. I was standing there all along….even before you came. What if someone was already there in the hotel…the person might have booked a room! In that case, nobody would have noticed him even if he entered Suite No.708. The CCTV cameras were placed right in front of the lifts. There were no cameras in the staircases…anybody could have used them to get in the room. But, the theory held good if only the person was known to Mr Singhania, because, there was no evidence of forced entry. Who could it be!
Roy was calculating fast. After 20 minutes, he entered the lobby of Hotel View Point.
There was another person there at the reception. Roy popped up his ID and said,”I want some information. When did Mr Sanghania check in?”
After two minutes, the answer came, “On Friday around 4.30 pm Sir”.
“Give me a list of all those who’ve checked in your hotel after that. Mark those especially who’re there to experience your hospitality for the first time.”
The receptionist did a neat and quick job and handed a brief list to Roy. Roy was scanning the list. Singhania was found dead on Sunday morning. From Friday evening to Saturday evening there were 25 persons who checked in the hotel. Of them, 17 were new guests. 10 American tourists, one newly wed couple, three businessmen who were quite old to commit a crime….the suspect list had finally three people. A young man who introduced himself as a nature photographer, a middle-aged person, officer of an MNC and a lady, she introduced herself as a widow, purpose: tourist.
“Show me the credentials of these three persons, fast. Are they still in the hotel?”
The receptionist handed him some papers and checked his register again.
“Sir, this photographer is still here. Mr Kohli, the MNC guy has left the hotel on Monday afternoon and the lady checked out early in the morning on Sunday”.
Roy was on alert. His instincts told him that he was on the right trail.
“When did the lady leave? I want to know the exact time”.
“It was quite early Sir, 5.00 am”
“Did the hotel authority arrange her transport?”
” No Sir”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I was right here that morning. I asked her about her itinerary and whether she needed any service from our part. She refused and said that she had arranged her own transport”.
Roy was checking the credentials of the woman. Her Photo ID card was showing a rather blurry picture. The only thing clearly visible was her white bobbed hair.
“How come you people accept such Photo ID proof?” Roy was fuming.
The receptionist looked nervous.
“Sir, almost all of our guests are quite reputed. We do check everyone’s ID proofs. The face may look blurry, but I can remember her hair, exactly matching with the photograph.”
Hah! thought Roy, that’s the thing… she was trying to highlight her hair, not her face and she had successfully done that leaving almost no trail behind. He was sure that the other details provided were fake.
He checked the CCTV footage hoping to get a clear glance of her face but without luck. He spotted her twice in the lift, but her face was covered with a scarf, only her white hair was visible.
Roy was feeling determined. The more cunning the perpetrator was, the more he felt the urge to unmask the person.
CONCLUDING PART: HERE
To be continued…..