Read chapter 21 here.
Game of Blogs. Kalakaar Colony, Circle of Deceit. Round 3 (Wildcard entry)
Chapter 22, . Faith crumbles – and the web tightens.
Jennifer hobbled up to the elevator just as its door sprang open.
“That man I met … your neighbor…” she began excitedly.
“Why the hell are you running around …” Shekhar’s words collided with hers mid-air, “I said I was on the way. Do you think you are Nancy Drew?”
“Mr Ahuja’s pincode was mentioned by Legal Eagle. I couldn’t afford to wait for this trail to go cold.” she blurted out. She put a reassuring hand on Shekhar’s sleeve, “Mr Dutta, I have survived many years alone in Mumbai. I am not Alice in Wonderland. I had my iphone and the ATM solved my finances. Preserve yourself for Roohi. Is this really the time for fragile egos?”
Shekhar shrugged, “What about Ahuja? What’s the connection?”
Jennifer recounted her Google and blog search, the blogger’s face, the article in Crime & Punishment about Ahuja, the private investigator.
“Mr Ahuja knows the kidnapper! He’s vital to our investigation – and he is an investigator too. It cannot be a coincidence.”
Shekhar fished out his laptop and followed Jennifer’s search instructions to the blog.
“It is a pity Ahuja is a snobbish prig. He wouldn’t even lend a ear to my clues. A private investigator ought to pounce upon information. I told him Roohi is kidnapped …”
Shekhar whirled to her, “You told him? Then why did he act so naive? Was he watching for my reaction? Trapping me into a lie?”
He stalked the room restlessly, “Very odd behavior for an investigator to evade information. This blogger who is the kidnapper, the interview with Ahuja who just happens to be my neighbour and my daughter just happens to get kidnapped … too many coincidences.” He stopped pacing and faced Jennifer, “What if Ahuja is involved somehow? We had frequent arguments over the parking space, over his dog littering the building – maybe he holds a grudge.
Jennifer gasped, “Mr Dutta, believe me, I had no intentions. I was merely trying …”
Shekhar’s eyes narrowed, “No, I don’t know your intentions either, Ms Jennifer. You are the last person to meet Roohi, your camera has the kidnapper’s photo, your iphone zeroes down on the kidnapper’s blog, you evade me to approach Ahuja. Too many coincidences there as well.”
Jennifer blanched, “Mr Dutta …”
Shekhar frowned, “For all I know, the man in your camera accidentally came within the frame. We have only your word that a second biker whisked away Roohi, only your word that the man in your camera matches the biker. You may be putting us on a wild goose chase, while your real partner has my daughter!
Let me warn you, Ms Jennifer. I am going to the police with every ounce of information. If they catch this blogger, and Roohi is not with him … then Heaven help you. Because then you will be my main suspect.”
Cyrus felt a trickle of sweat roll down his neck, in spite of the chill that paralyzed his fingers. He had messed up! He had lost Roohi.
His memory scrambled through today’s sequence. Had he left a clue anywhere?, he wondered frantically.
Nobody but the tattooed girl witnessed the kidnap – but his face was hidden. She had been knocked unconscious, so no risk of her spotting his bike registration number.
The little girl might recognize him. Shit! He had been specifically instructed not to reveal his face to her, but he had. His partner was not used to insubordination and would certainly not be amused!
Cyrus had to leave this house, at any rate. He systematically wiped off his fingerprints from the door lock, the refrigerator, the pantry.
But digital fingerprints? How could he wipe those out? The emails, the phone calls, the blog comments which served as a communication pathway. He had to wipe out that trail too. ASAP.
Afterall, all trails would lead only to him. His partner was smug and safe. Cyrus was the kidnapper. Now that he had lost Roohi, Cyrus was no more a partner. He was the lone criminal and the lone fugitive. How did it get so late so soon???
The chase continues in chapter 23: http://jigishblaze.wordpress.com/2014/10/04/circle-of-deceit-chapter-xxiii-technology-a-boon-or-curse/