Off The Field

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Take 4 : Group 25

"Sir, may we enter?" knocked a Constable, standing​ at the entrance of Arjun's cabin, with a middle-aged man dressed in white formal wear. He was tall and had a proud mustache on his little face. He was carrying a couple of case files with himself.

Arjun had been busy looking at some details over the Aatish murder case kept on his desk, all morning while sipping his tea.

4 days had passed and his team had found out nothing substantial as yet, except the fact that, Aatish was murdered at roughly around 6 in the evening, and that, he was visited by two people in his stay. But, the media had already made a mess of the case. They made it a point to blame the system for being too slow.

"Come in", Arjun said recognizing the man with the mustache, "Welcome Mr. Atul, I am really thankful for your valuable time"

"Hello, Officer Arjun, this is ITA (Income Tax Authorities) Officer Atul. It's pretty grateful to meet you. I would be pleased to work with you and your team", greeted Atul, shaking hands with him. Arjuna offered him to have a seat across his table and asked the Constable to leave them alone and shut the door on his way. He reduced the temperature of the Air Conditioner and within a few seconds cold air wafted through the small cabin.

While going through the news reports about Aatish, Arjun had read this name, Atul, more than a number of times. He contacted Atul and insisted him to visit him.

“Please help me out in whatever you have about the Aatish Murder Case", requested Arjun in a formal tone.

Atul placed a couple of files in front of Arjun and started explaining:

"I was given the charge of a case regarding Aatish by the ministry last year. They had suspected something​ fishy about his land dealings. He was constantly buying lands in areas where a sane investor won't want to and that too in rates which are equivalent to what the land rates are, in a matropolis like Mumbai. Being a good businessman, as good as him, I won't waste even a single rupee over a land in such a place, where there is no scope for development. At the same time, there was a media operation which exposed Europe-based business tycoon Herdson, if you have heard about him?"

“He was labeled in some kind of a forgery?" But, I don't exactly remember him, if you could help me?"

“Sure. He used to buy lands in the name of an associate company and then sell it to his own company and then, the associate company used to transfer those funds in different accounts, which existed only for a transfer and a withdrawal transaction. All this was done in hard cash and black income was converted into white with least taxation"

"Taking inspiration from this, I, along with my team, started investigating in the same direction. What we discovered was something similar but, larger than this. Aatish and 24 other businessmen from different parts of the country had come together and formed a secret group, we have named this group as Group 25. Under this, these businessmen used to meet on a regular basis. They had their sources, who used to find them lands, which were extremely infertile and found in areas which were almost out of government​'s eye. They had their sources in the lower sections of the government as well. These sources created fake papers and inspection reports about these lands. The businessmen used to buy these lands from a fake owner, and then, this fake owner used to place donations in the NGO's created by the companies of these businessmen. Aatish was the mastermind behind this idea, which first started off 7 years from now"

"All this in just one year? Man! You are faster than a classic detective film!" joked Arjun."I am impressed!" he exclaimed.

"Actually, initially, it was tough, but when I came to know through locals, that the lands which were bought by Aatish, were actually dormant before the purchase, I wanted to know how were they given an overnight ownership and then how would the overnight deal take place? Then, I got to meet a couple of Aatish's sources in the lower section of the government, who helped him in the documentation of the lands. I made them my informers and they started giving me information regularly and that's how I got to know about Group 25. But, unfortunately, since a few months I haven't heard from a few of them", Atul explained.

"You know so much about them, why haven't you arrested them? What about the other 24 businessmen and how have the media guys not got to this? This will be a blockbuster for them", Arjun was curious to know more about this case, for he knew, it could work as a solid lead for his case.

"This is a very secret mission. It hasn't been officially announced yet that the ITA is working on something like this, and I want to be 100% sure in this case and so, we are still working on finding out some more solid evidence. You can't simply arrest so many powerful people. About the 24 other businessmen, this red file has all the information about it. Some of the names are not precise as yet, as my team is working on the information about them being a part of all this. The other file contains detailed information about what I just explained", Atul explained. "And, another thing, I have no idea, how did the media guys associated my name with Aatish", said Atul.

The ITA Officer received a call. Getting up, he said, “Nice meeting you officer. It's time. I am sorry, I need to leave. But please, keep all this up to you and your team, I don't want the media to know this. I just told you, it's a secret mission."

"You were here to have the famous morning tea served by the Arun Tea Stall, next street. We discussed the latest plot twist of a detective series and then you left", concluded Arjun, smiling mysteriously...

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