Krishna Mohan Dhavala was sitting in his luxuriously appointed office staring at the monitor of his laptop. It was only six in the evening, but he was already half-drunk. A glass of whiskey was sitting nearby. He took his whiskey neat: no water, no ice, but tended to shake the glass as if he were sloshing the liquid over the ice-cubes.
He typed into the Facebook Messenger opened on his screen.
‘Hello Sonia. How are you, darling? I hope you will be near the Necklace Road MMTS Station tomorrow at 8 pm as planned.’
Immediately there was a response from Sonia.
‘Yes Krishna, I will be there in a burqa. But please do not mention to anyone that I am going to meet you. I am from a respectable family and nobody should know about this.’
‘Are you crazy, Sonia? Of course I am not going to tell anyone. Just dying to meet you, baby. Don’t be late. I will be driving a black BMW.’
The next evening he dressed with care. Krishna was a tall, heavily built, dark-complexioned man with a receding hairline. He put on a flowery shirt and a pair of jeans. But his big stomach jutted out. Years of drinking had taken a toll on his physique. The bags under his eyes made him look older that his actual age of 45 years.
After shaving carefully, he applied a strong aftershave on his smooth cheeks. He put on his gold bracelet and a solid gold chain adorned his neck. He rang the bell. Bilas, his trusted bodyguard cum driver, came in. ‘You know what needs to be done?’ Krishna asked curtly.
Bilas nodded his head. He knew the routine. He brought out Krishna’s black BMW SUV. Krishna got in and started towards the Necklace Road MMTS.
He reached the meeting place at 8 pm sharp. The headlights of his car revealed a woman in a burqa waiting by the roadside. She waved her hand. Krishna stopped the car and she got in. As she removed her veil, Krishna started in surprise. At the same time another man got into the back of his car. Confused, Krishna looked at the man. Then his eyes widened in fear.
‘Please don’t harm me…’ Krishna begged as sweat ran down his face. That was the last conversation Krishna had with anyone. The man ignored his pleading and stabbed him brutally and repeatedly without any compassion while the woman looked on in horrified silence, unable to utter a word.
The next day, Krishna’s body was found inside his car around a kilometre from Necklace Road MMTS station.
- 1 -
Krishna Mohan Dhavala
Krishna Mohan Dhavala was a land developer and successful businessman who had become rich by land grabbing and then developing apartment complexes, multiplexes, etc. on the property he commandeered. He and the corrupt politician, Vamsi Rao, had been childhood acquaintances. Krishna knew something incriminating about Rao, and as a result, even though he was occasionally arrested by the police for his illegal activities, he was always released and had avoided jail thus far. He had been attacked by people whose land he grabbed, but his faithful driver and bodyguard Bilas always managed to save him.
Mr Dhavala had a business partner, Mr Karuna Raju. Karuna, an architect by profession, was in charge of the development of apartments for the partnership. He provided his vision and beautiful buildings while Krishna was the brains and the cunning behind the ongoing success of the business.
Karuna was found shot dead one day. It was widely suspected that Krishna killed him, but there was no evidence, and the murder investigation was proceeding at a snail’s pace. Then Krishna himself was murdered within six months of Karuna’s death.
With the death of both business partners, work on the various apartment projects came to a standstill. Several rich and famous people had invested a lot of money in the projects, including some film producers and other influential people, and they wanted their money back. As a result, the police were under a lot of pressure to solve the two murders. A special investigative team had been created and Inspector Gopi Reddy was in put charge but they had not really made any headway on the cases. Reddy suspected there were invisible forces at work, deliberately impeding the investigation from the outside. He felt a bit helpless. Three weeks had already passed since Krishna’s death and police were no closer to solve the case than they had been at the beginning.
In the meantime, in a Somajigudda business complex, ex-cop Detective Vikram Rana was sitting in his private office drinking a cup of coffee. Vikram was in his late thirties and had been born and brought up in Hyderabad. He was over six feet tall and had a strong, handsome face. His thick black hair was fashionably cut and held only a few traces of grey. Vikram had been well-respected in the police force and was known for his sharp intellect and good investigative skills. He also had a dry sense of humour which had made him extremely popular with his colleagues in the police force.
It was 10 o’clock in the morning. Vikram had scattered a few letters on the flattop desk behind which he was sitting in an effort to convince his underlings that he was working hard should they suddenly walk in. A hidden air-conditioner coped efficiently with the rising temperature. Hot and golden sunshine made patterns on the office carpet that his wife Veena had bought to impress Vikram’s clients, but to him, it seemed too expensive to walk on.It had been just over a year since Vikram started his private detective agency. Within eight months he gained fame by solving the murder of Mrs Richa Lohia, the wife of a rich industrialist. It had been a difficult, high-profile case, made all the more nerve-wracking by the fact that it was his first case as a private investigator.