Take 2 : The Murder
"Should we call the police?" asked the waiter.
"What about our reputation?" snapped the Receptionist.
"Look at him.... He is a BRAND. He'll earn us a lot of publicity....", explained the Manager standing in the staircase of one of Mumbai's top 7 stars, “This will become a high-profile case, the media are gonna report it on the front page and we, well our hotel's name is gonna come there! After all, we are a BRAND TOO....", with a smile, he continued, "DELHI BASED BUSINESS TYCOON MURDERED AT ' BLUE STAR HOTEL'.... this will be the morning headline", his smile widened, as he continued, "Its just that we all need to act sympathetic and innocent. Bingo! We'll get some free publicity, its that easy!"
"Damn, these high-profile people, they can even make a joke out of a dead for their publicity", whispered a waiter to another among the crowd of staff gathered at the staircase, just outside the soon to be scene of crime.
"A dead?.... They can even kill themselves for the sake of PUBLICITY...." quickly replied the other with a smile....
"Did I hear someone whisper something?" the Manager asked, suspiciously.
"No Sir ", replied both the servants in one voice, as if they were soldiers saluting their Commander.
"Call some media as well, this must become the talk of the town!" the Manager instructed and walked away lighting a cigarette. His eyes were shining as he walked through the staff towards the lift. Even in these critical circumstances, there was a sense of victory in his eyes, a victory of greed, a victory of fame.
In a few minutes, the media arrived in dozens at the entrance. The Receptionist was almost begging and crying, explaining the media, that the Hotel staff had no knowledge about what exactly transpired and, that he was extremely shocked to see an INNOCENT BUSINESSMAN murdered.
A waiter was seen shouting and yelling, that, he was the first one to spot the dead body, in order to attract some media attention. Even the media were giving him a lot of footage, as if he'd discovered some jewels. They were also seen adding a lot of salt and pepper to the case.
So, the murdered in question, was Aatish, a Delhi-based business tycoon. He owned three multi-national companies. He lived in Delhi along with his wife and children, and his younger brother's family.
He was a regular visitor of the Hotel, as a lot of his foreign-based clients would meet him only in Mumbai.
Keeping up to their reputation, the police arrived a little late. The Chief Investigating Officer Arjun, from the Special Investigation Cell of the Mumbai Crime Branch, was trusted with the case, keeping in mind with the high profile nature of it. The tall heighted, pepper haired officer in his 50s walked out of the official vehicle. Arjun was tough and fast. He was almost close to perfect at his job leaving no stone unturned while he was up with a case.
Beating the media surrounding the entrance of the humugous glass structure, Arjun approached the Receptionist, who was still busy with the media, and instructed him to take the team to the crime scene. The Receptionist was faking sympathy and bragging about the Hotel staff and their Innocence all the way to the crime scene. This was annoying some of the officers. Arjun was just trying to avoid him.
They were taken to the 17th floor of the Hotel. Walking through the blue carpeted floor of the passage, which was surrounded by walls painted in blue, they reached Room No. 1713, a room which was always reserved for Aatish. No other guests were allotted the room, when Aatish planned to visit Mumbai. The room was already open and there were two waiters standing outside the room, as per police instructions.
The whole room was a complete mess. In the center of the mess, was the body. It was dressed in a heavy gray suit and red tie and black formal trousers. Arjun instructed the officers to check the room thoroughly.
"Signs of struggle. Seems like he might have shouted for help as well, why didn't the people hear him?" inquired the officer.
"Sir, it's possible over here. One can't hear what's going on in a closed room from outside, or from a room next door.... Our staff is innocent Sir.", explained the Receptionist.
"You'll have worked with me in a handful of cases by now, please inform this man, I might seem old, but I am not suffering from amnesia", pointed out the Officer, sarcastically. The last statement by the Receptionist had annoyed him.
The team of forensic officers accompanying the police, inspected the site under the guidance of their leader. Aatish was choked to death by a strong grip of rope around his neck. The officials couldn't get much of an evidence of someone else being in the room except for a couple of beer glasses. They couldn't even find the rope, which was the murder weapon. They speculated that, it might have been destroyed or taken along by the murderer.
Arjun ordered the head of the forensic team to collect the two glasses and a couple of beer bottles, one half emptied and the other, not even opened.
The officers sealed the beer bottles. They found a briefcase having a pair of formals and a laptop. They were all sealed by them. According to the staff, a suitcase was missing.
"The media shouldn't get to take the pictures of the room, tell them to stay away from here!" ordered Arjun. He used to hate the interference of media in his cases. Years of experience had taught him that media around a crime scene was no less than a group of pests inflitrating a farm.
After some more investigation and questioning the Hotel staff, the team of cops returned to the police station. Arjun was wondering why hadn't any of Aatish's family members contacted the police yet. It had been close to three hours now.
"Sir, Aatish's family was holidaying abroad. Aatish had skipped the trip and been in New Delhi for the past one month. He was here in Mumbai for some business purpose. They'll be arriving here for the questioning by tomorrow evening", a Constable reported.
"Any family member worth suspicion?" asked the Officer.
"Sir, if media insiders are to be believed, his family was going through some problems, those regular joint family tiffs. So, anyone of the majors is suspectable", explained the Constable.
"Plus, his recent disputes with the Directors of his company, had another crop of people against him", he further explained.
Then, he placed some of the recent newspapers in front of his boss and explained him, some of the recent controversies surrounding Aatish.
Aatish used to visit Mumbai to secretly meet a lot of people, but for the rest of the world, it was his business deals, which brought him to the metropolitan city. Even his family was unaware of his secret visits.
Arjun had a task on him, as there were a lot of people to suspect for a murder, which was surrounded by a lot of camaraderie, which added some more pressure.
Arjun ordered a team to travel to New Delhi, late night and carry on their investigation. The rest of the team was allowed to get home, as it was already late. He also explained them the work to be done on the next day. The main part of the next day's investigation was to figure out the real reasons behind Aatish's frequent visits to Mumbai.
Arjun planned the rest of the day in his head while driving home.
He knew this case was not going to be as simple a murder case could be. There was more to this mystery than what it was actually looking like...