Off The Field

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Take 18 : The Beamer

"What was so urgent that you called me here, Mr. Atul? Couldn't we discuss it on the phone?" Arjun asked. They were both seated in Atul's cabin. The cabin was full of books and files. Something Arjun had seen at many officers' cabins. On the flip side, he preferred a rather cleaner place. No files, whatsoever, just a couple of current case files, a newspaper and a glass of tea.

"It is something I thought would be better discussed in person. I don't really know if it holds any relevance to your case or not. But, I thought, I must inform you", Atul explained. "Anyway, would you like something to eat or maybe some tea, coffee?"

"No. Thanks. I drink a lot of tea at the station actually. Anyway, tell me why did you call me here"

"I just caught a man with the help of one of my close sources. Mind you, he was tough to crack at first, but at last he spoke, and spoke enough to file a case and raid a few places", Atul explained with a lot of enthusiasm.

"Go on"

"He told me that he assisted Aatish on some 'betting' business run by him. He was Aatish's right hand man in his illegal business. He said, that's the illegal income which was being settled by buying those illegal properties. Buddy, I am very close to cracking the entire Group 25. This guy even agreed upon giving me the other names in this property buying racket. In fact, he worked with Aatish very closely on Group 25 and the betting business. According to him, it was a very prosperous business, in fact, Aatish was pretty well known in the Indian betting circles, until a year ago, when his business started making losses, hit by constant interference by different investigation agencies including me. Their men were turned around and all this took a wild toll on him and his boss' life. In fact, they were working on something around the World ODI Championship Trophy, in order to do good, their losses"

"World ODI Championship Trophy?" The one that got over just a day after Aatish got murdered?" Interesting. I just checked a CCTV footage of the day of Aatish's murder, and there was some guy who met him once at around 4:00pm that day and then later at 6:30pm , which is just a little over an hour before we got the call from the hotel. My officer suggested he may be Rehaan, they have some silly jacket theory. Anyway, did this man spill any beans over what they were up to?"

"I was going to throw him up with some questions about it, but he went unconscious, and had to rushed to the hospital. I called you straight from the hospital, because he had mentioned Aatish"

"Hospital?" Arjun asked, puzzled. "Were you people too hostile or something?"

"No Arjun. I don't use violence to make my suspects talk. I have my own psychological ways to deal with it. He was a drug addict and doctors informed us, maybe he hadn't taken his ‘stuff' since the last few days. They're trying their best. He's pretty vital to my case, you know", Atul explained in a worried tone.

Arjun stood up from his chair, placed both his arms on the table and looked downward in a thoughtful manner, "So, Aatish was running a betting racket, they were going through some losses before the World ODI Championship Trophy, Aatish came to Mumbai just before the final of the tournament... Something has to be connecting both, his murder, and his betting racket. We can't take in Rehaan just on the basis of a silly jacket. We need something concrete. I'll have to find some other way to go deep down this line"

Atul stood up from his chair as well, and started rubbing his chin, "But, why'd you want Rehaan?"

"Rehaan possibly was Aatish's last visitor, I have a gut there was something cooking up between them. But, we don't really know what..."

"If you want may I help you with my contacts in the ACC. You might want something solid against Rehaan"

What's this ACC?"

Okay, so there's this agency set up by the ICB or the International Cricket Board, called the ACC or the Anti Corruption Council, they basically are a body of surveillance. They investigate, stop and detect if any corruption is taking place during an ICB or any other bilateral or domestic cricket match. They even educate players on corruption practices like, doping, match fixing, spot fixing, etc, and various norms that regulate cricket throughout the world. They must be looking after this tournament as well, and if they were, they must have definitely seen something untoward happening", Atul explained.

"How do you know about them?" Arjun asked. "And, how do you happen to have contacts in the ACC, I am sorry, this one's too personal"

"Ohh. Not really. I have just worked with them in the past on some cases. Joint investigation, you know"

"Wait Arjun. Aatish was planning something around the World ODI Championship Trophy... So, Aatish wanted to make profits. That would have happen if the odds are in favour of the calls he makes. What if he knew what would happen, and at what juncture in the match?" Atul, pointed out.

"Then he would make the right calls", Arjun replied.

"This is a wild guess Arjun, I think Aatish was fixing spots in the World ODI Championship"

"Maybe, and maybe, that's what brings him to Mumbai just before the finals. Now, if that is so, it is more certain the that guy I saw in the CCTV footage, may have been Rehaan?"

"Arjun, I have an idea", Atul offered.

"Go on"

"Look, you mentioned you cannot interrogate Rehaan, but I can do that"

"You? How?"

"You cannot take in Rehaan on the jacket thing. But, I can. I mean, I told you this guy told me that Aatish was working around the World ODI Championship Trophy. Since he's still in hospital, we can leverage on that. I mean, I'll tweak his statement and get the paperwork done to interrogate Rehaan saying that Aatish's assistant named him before getting admitted to the hospital"

"That's too risky Atul", Arjun replied nodding his head.

"See, I know it's pretty risky, I mean it's Rehaan, he's powerful, so we'll have to get the paperwork tight in order to interrogate him, but then we have a pretty good reason to interrogate him, at least on my side"

"What about your team?"

"There's only us 5 people in my team and you. In fact, only us would know we are tweaking the suspect's confession"

"Look, this is going to be risky. What if anything goes wrong? Rehaan and the media will destroy you and your agency, I hope you are well aware of that Atul"

"Are you kidding me, Arjun? I mean, you're saying this? You got the ruling party's chief for questioning in the Atish murder case, come on", Atul joked, reminding Arjun of how risky he's been so far in the Aatish murder case.

"How'd you know that?" Arjun asking astonishingly.

"Come on, it was all over the news, don't act as if you don't know", Atul replied. "Anyway, if Rehaan's questioning works out, it would be gold for us both. You make a list of questions and WhatsApp them to me, as early as possible. I'll get Rehaan on board and will let you know"

Shaking hands with Atul, Arjun said,"This is great help Mr. Atul, see you then"

He walked out of Atul's cabin and closed the door on his back.

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