‘So any one of you could have been poisoned! ’ – Vikram exclaimed.
The three men looked at each other with shocked faces as if the thought just struck them after Vikram’s comment. Raja gave an involuntary shudder and his entire body shook like a jelly. A look of fear passed through Nitin’s face making him look suddenly old and ugly. Kiran’s face also stiffened in fear. Vikram looked at the various display of emotions with interest.
‘Anyway never mind that now. Where are the glasses from which you were drinking?’
Kiran looked confused. He said, ‘I do not know what happened to the glasses. They must have been cleared away by the catering folks.’
Amit’s cell phone was also found to be missing. Reddy immediately called the catering manager and enquired about the glasses. The manager confirmed that the glasses had been taken away and washed. When asked about the waiter who served the drinks, he seemed to have vanished in thin air. He had been a temporary help that the caterer had taken. The man had come to his office looking for a job and he had given him this work. After dispensing with the caterer, Reddy turned back to Kiran, ‘Did you notice the waiter? Maybe he is the serial killer.’
Rajagopal spoke up, ‘I did notice the waiter. This person was an addict.’
Kiran said, ‘Yes Raja would notice. He is a most observant guy. Even in the rehab center, very little escapes him.’
Reddy looked extremely happy. Finally some lead about the serial killer, he thought to himself.
‘Can you describe the person?’ he asked eagerly.
‘He was tall, fair and good looking. Must have been in his thirties.’
‘If our artists sit with you, can you describe him well so that we can do a sketch of him and circulate?’
‘Sure –I’ll do anything that will help you to catch Amit’s killer….’ Raja said eagerly.
‘I am a good observer and am sure that I can help you to get a very good sketch,’ he added confidently.
‘But how do you know that the waiter was a drug addict?’
Raja laughed and his whole body shook like a jelly. He had obviously got over the shock of Amit’s death. Then he said in an amused voice, ‘Sir I am in constant touch with addicts as a part of my profession. I can smell an addict a mile off.’
Reddy raised his brows at Vikram to check if he had anymore questions. Vikram shook his head.
‘Well the thanks for answering our question. We will get in touch with you soon. You can all leave now and we will get in touch with you if we need further information. So do not leave the city or the country without informing us.’ Reddy commanded.
Once the three men had trooped out of the room, Vikram started to laugh. Reddy gave him a half amused half irritated look. ‘What is so amusing?’
‘You noticed the look on their faces when they realised that they themselves could have been the victim.’
‘Yes.’ Reddy said in an amused voice. ‘But you would have been scared too, if you had realised that you could have been the potential victim of a serial killer.’
‘True. But the rehabilitation centres are not effective and filled with quacks. These kind of doctors are of the worst kind. And because the patients want anonymity, there is no statistics on how many people really get cured. I was reading an article in The Washington Post. They say that the Americans are “Addicted to rehab. It doesn't even work.” The Indian rehabilitation centres are based on similar principles. And they charge indecent amounts of money from the desperate relatives.’
Reddy looked at Vikram, ‘You know that this is kaliyug. We are all trying to make money anyway we can. We can be a rat in rat race and make a lot of money. We can make enough money to be called a winner by society. But you will still be a rat - a winning rat. As Einstein once said, “Try to be a man of value”. And I think that you need to be successful in your own way to add value to society.’
Vikram, who remembered his last few cases which he had taken up purely for the money. He had the grace to look ashamed. Then he said, ‘But I had warned the industrialist that catching the dealer would not cure his daughter’s addiction problem!’
‘Well I am sure these people would also put in such terms and conditions that would keep them legally safe if the patient is not cured.’
‘Let us not discuss this anymore – by the way there is a Dadu’s here which is famous for chats. Why don’t we go there and have a snack?’
‘Sure why not. And changing the topic will not make you feel better about yourself. But I must remember to get hold of the artist tomorrow and get a sketch done of the waiter and circulate the same. Particularly in Begumpet and Charminar area. What do you think?’
‘Absolutely! I think the case will break soon. The serial killer is running out of luck. After our snack, let us go over to Amit’s apartment. Maybe we can get some more clues about the man and his link to the serial killer. Your colleagues must have already sealed his apartment right?’
‘Yes – after his death I remember we had confiscated the keys of his house which was found in his pocket. Let me call up my colleagues to find out about the key,’ Reddy said.
After making a few calls, Reddy found out that the key was with the police. He instructed his colleague to come over to Amit’s apartment with his keys.