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Chapter 3 – The Attack

Samprit couldn’t sleep at night, thinking about how those 7 people will kill these 7 millionaires without even being present on the cruise.

Early the next morning, he asked Raj to find who all among the 12 millionaires were bisexual or gay. Only those millionaires would have bought a man from Musharraf. Raj and Rahim tried to find that out. He also contacts Radhika for the details, but she told him that for 2 days she can’t meet him. Musharraf has started to doubt her. He explained the situation and warned her that maybe Musharraf will die on the cruise if she didn’t provide him with the details. But she refused and told him that she don’t want to take chance and told him to meet her at the staff canteen on the 7th deck on August 4, 2021, at 3 am. He was very enraged by this but he didn’t have any option.

The next day, Raj and Rahim find out that 2 of the 12 millionaires were bisexual. He was sure that Musharraf has sold two of the trafficked men to those millionaires. It was time to interrogate Afridi. They planned to bring Afridi to their room at midnight.

After the interrogation, they found that Afridi has never contacted anyone in Australia, and he didn’t know anything about Rosary peas. They warned Afridi not to tell anything to anyone. They now know that Afridi is not part of the plan. It was the terrorists’ plan to divert them from the real suspect. Samprit was now very much sure that those 7 people bought by Musharraf would kill the 7 millionaires, and he only knows 3 of the 7 victims if Musharraf is one. Plus, they have no idea of the manner of killing.

******

August 4, 2021

Staff Canteen, 7th deck

Samprit said, “You are finally here. Give me those documents.”

Radhika replied, “You only care for those documents. You didn’t even ask me a single time how I am or What I am going through. Or anything else, for the matter. You just want to save those 7 millionaires. Those millionaires who are directly or indirectly related to criminal cases in India.”

“I thought about you many times. But you left me for your work. So why should I don’t focus on my work? Besides this is not just about saving them, it’s more about the reputation of our country and our job.”

“Samprit you know that I love you why are you doing this to me?”

“I don’t have any issues with you. I understood your circumstance and now try to understand my.”

“Ok… Here, take this. And now we will not meet before deboarding in India.”

“Yes, that would be best.”

Saying this, Samprit went to his room and opened the documents, only to find that the 7 people in the documents were the same who died in the Kashmir Valley blast. Flabbergasted, Samprit calls the rest of his team to his room and shows them the documents, but none of them can make sense of it. He also remembered that the girl he saw at Musharraf office was Yahim. Now he was sure that 7 millionaires on the list would be killed.

Raj said, “Damn it… Musharraf killed Yahim on the same day and hence we never saw her again. At least now we know the targets.”

Anand retorted, “We do, but what’s the point?”

Rahim added, “Raj has got a point. We know the targets, and at least for now, we can visit everyone and can discuss the issue with them.”

Anand said, “Yes…maybe.”

Rahim replied, “But what if this plan is also a decoy, like Afridi was?”

Samprit agreed with Rahim.

Anand said, “If so, we can’t interrogate them personally.”

Samprit replied, “We can, but it will disclose our real identity.”

Pawan adds, “So, what should we do next? Even after getting this close, we are not sure about the targets. How would we save them?”

Raj said, “Samprit, you should talk to Radhika once more. We need to interrogate Musharraf. He is the only one who can give us a lead.”

Anand added, “Yeah, Samprit, you should.”

Samprit countered, “Radhika is very possessive regarding the case. She wants to keep her identity secret until the cruise reaches the destination. She is afraid that if Musharraf gets to know the reality, he will escape.”

Anand said, “But we only have 2 days left. We don’t have any other option.”

Raj said, “Samprit, you need to ask her.”

Rahim suggested, “What if we kidnap Musharraf, hide him somewhere and interrogate him? We will let know Radhika so that she doesn’t have to worry about his escape.”

Samprit said, “Yes! this could work. But kidnaping him would be very difficult in this situation. And we also need to find a place where no one can think of visiting.”

Anand said, “Maybe this could work, today, there’s a party on deck 2, where almost everyone would be present. We need to anyhow contact Musharraf and bring him to deck 3. Later, we will make him unconscious and will take him to any one of our rooms to interrogate him.”

Samprit asked, “And where will we hide him?”

Anand suggested, “Afridi knows about us. We could hide him in his room. They will check everywhere else but Afridi’s room.”

Pawan nodded, saying, “Possibly, Anand’s idea could work.”

Samprit said, “I sure hope so.”

Rahim added, “But we need to tell everything to Afridi before we kidnap Musharraf.”

Anand agreed, saying, “We will, and if he doesn’t go with the plan, we will warn him that we can arrest him, as we have proof against him.”

Rahim observed, “Hmmm! We now need to think of something by which we can bring Musharraf outside.”

Anand said, “Samprit, you need to ask Radhika to help us with this. She can warn him that Indian agents are present on the cruise and want to talk with him related to Hardik. It will frighten him, and he will come outside.”

Samprit replied, “I will talk to her but I am not sure she will help, but there’s no harm in trying.”

Samprit messaged their plan to Radhika and asked for her help. Radhika refused at first, but later agreed after thinking for a while. She thought probably their idea could help both teams to get a favourable outcome. She then replied to him that she is ready to help him and his team. Samprit texted her the plan details and told the team that Radhika is ready to help. He asked Anand and Raj to tell Afridi about the plan and prepare his room. They need to make this plan work. The plan is the only hope for them now.

At around 8′o clock, the party began. As per the plan, Radhika will bring Musharraf outside at around 11′o clock, when most of the members would be drunk. She was successful in bringing him outside, but immediately after coming outside, Musharraf pointed a gun at her and told her that he knows everything about her and will kill her and later escape from the cruise. Before Musharraf could do anything else, Rahim knocked him unconscious by using the vascular neck restraint technique. They quickly moved him to Afridi’s room, and Radhika joined the party again before someone doubts her. Afterwards, they brought him to Afridi’s room and tied his legs, hands, and mouth and also blindfolded him. They left him there and then moved to their room. Afridi was very nervous. He tried to be normal, but it was very hard for him. At around 3′o clock, the party ended. When everyone started to get to their rooms, Musharraf’s security detail found out that he was not present there. They immediately start to look all over the cruise for him, even made an announcement on the speaker, but were unable to find him.

******

August 5, 2021

The cruise security came forward in the morning and started checking each room. As per the RAW team’s assumption, no one checked their own staff’s room. At this time, Samprit and his team should not go to Afridi’s room to interrogate Musharraf. But they don’t have much time. Therefore, Samprit and Rahim took a chance and sneak into his room. Afridi locked the room from outside and went to the kitchen area. Before Afridi moved out, Samprit again warned him. He saw the security check and got nervous; it was very hard for him to hide his emotions. He quickly moved to the kitchen and started his work, trying to avoid everything.

Samprit warned Musharraf that if he tries to create any scene, they would kill him on the spot. He opened the gag of his mouth, keeping his hand ready to cover it again if he tries to scream. Musharraf, terrified, promised to cooperate.

Samprit asked, “You bought 7 people from a trafficker in India. Who were they, and what did you do with them?”

“I don’t know who they were, I bought 5 women and 2 men from Milan. He told me that he will only send those 7 people if I keep one and sell the other 6 to the 6 millionaires mentioned by him. I agreed, because ultimately, this is what I do. I care for money, not for the buyer or the commodity. But I know all those 6 millionaires are present on the cruise.”

“Milan is the name of the trafficker, right?”

“Yes.”

“What did you do with the girl you kept, and what did the other 6 millionaires do with the remaining 6?”

“I buy girls for my pleasure, and after that I kill them. I did the same with her. I don’t know what others did with the remaining.”

“How many girls you have killed till now?”

“I don’t remember exactly, but around 30. Sir, please tell me who you are and why are you asking me all this.”

“I don’t think I need to answer your question. Now tell me, when did you kill that girl, and did she give you anything to eat?”

“On 30th July, 2 days before this trip. I don’t exactly remember if she gave me anything to eat, because I mostly met her at night, for only around 2 hours.”

“From how long have you been buying people from Milan?”

“From around 10 years. He has been in this business for the last 25 years. I met him in Bangalore in 2010, during a business trip; since then, he has been trafficking people to me.”

Rahim whispered, “Samprit, all this information is useless for us now. He doesn’t know anything about the attack. What can we do now?”

Samprit whispered back, “Should I ask him about the attack?”

“Maybe you should, because I don’t think we have any other option.”

Samprit asked Musharraf, “Do you know anything about an attack to kill 7 millionaires present on the cruise?”

“I don’t know much, but I have heard from one of my security guards that some millionaires present on the cruise got a mail that 7 millionaires will be killed once the cruise enters Indian waters.”

Rahim whispered, “But Samprit, we didn’t mention the point of Indian waters in the mail.”

Samprit said to Musharraf, “You are lying to us. You know something more about the plan, so tell us everything, and we will leave you.”

Musharraf replied, “Sir, I don’t know anything about this. One of my security guards told me this.”

“What is the name of that security guard?”

“I don’t know.”

Rahim asked, “You don’t know the name of your security guard?”

“They are working for me. I know how they look, so why would I care to remember their names? And I have around 200 security guards, I can’t remember everyone’s name.”

So you know the guard’s look. Describe that.”

“He is a dwarf, fair, and always wears a kurta pyjama.”

Samprit whispered to Rahim, “Do we need to kidnap him as well?”

Rahim replied, “Maybe. But for now, we should leave.”

Samprit and Rahim gaged Musharraf and then left for their room. They share everything with other members.

“The man has really created a chain, and we even don’t know at which point we are,” commented Raj, warily.

Anand asked, “But how will we kidnap that dwarf guard? The security is very tight. We can’t even share our original identity.”

Samprit added, “Along with the dwarf, we also need to kidnap the other 12 millionaires so that we can be sure they are safe.”

“But how will we do that?”

Rahim added, “Maybe it’s time to share our identity with the head of the cruise.”

Samprit countered, “But what if we fail to stop the killings? It will create an issue for us!”

Rahim replied, “But they will do so even if we don’t share our identity. Let’s say we kidnap the remaining 12 millionaires. But where we will keep them? Even if we arrange a place and the terrorists manage to kill them there, how will we explain that? We will be the first suspects, right?”

“That is correct.”

“As per me, we should tell them about the attack, but we will not share our original identity and will request them to listen to us. Let see what happens.”

“Hmmm. What if only 2 of us tell them this and the other 4 remain unknown?”

“But we need to think about the profession, as they will ask how we got this information and why they should believe us.”

Jatin spoke, “Sir, I have looked into the staff list, and the Deputy Security officer of the cruise is Indian. Maybe if we tell him the truth, he can help us.”

Rahim said, “Very good, Jatin. This will help us a lot. Samprit, Jatin has got a point. As an Indian, he would tend to help us.”

Samprit replied, “Maybe. So, you and I should ask him to help us.”

“Let’s move, then.”

Samprit and Rahim went to the office of the Deputy Security Officer. They don’t know how, but the Deputy Security Officer recognized Samprit. He welcomed him and asked him how he is and how the missions were going. Samprit was shocked, since he had never seen the man, but the man knows him, could he be one of the attackers.

The Deputy Security officer said, “Seriously, you don’t recognize me?”

“I don’t.”

“Ok… let me introduce myself. I am Sanjay, and you can see how dashing my personality is.”

“Hold on, are you Sanjay Shah?”

“Finally, you have recognized me.”

“But how do you know I work in RAW?”

Rahim asked, “Samprit, do you know him?”

Samprit replied, “Yes. We were batchmates in college.”

Sanjay said, “You never told us what your father did for a living, but when your father died in 2012, the news spread like a fire in the whole campus. No one knew the reason, and after graduation, you also vanished like a fart in the air. I was curious to know about you, so I hired a private investigator, and also used my source, and around 3 months later, I found out you worked for RAW. I was feeling shame for myself and proud of you. I wanted to say sorry, but I didn’t get a chance. Sorry, brother.”

Samprit replied, “It’s ok, but if you are embarrassed, you can help me to repent.”

“It would be an honour.”

“We were behind the kidnapping of Musharraf.”

“What? Why?”

“Let me finish. We got information that 7 millionaires present on the cruise will be killed. As per the information, we have shortlisted 13 millionaires, including Musharraf, and he was on the suspect list behind the attack. To interrogate him, we kidnapped him, and after interrogation, one of the security guards is on the suspect list. We need to shift those 12 millionaires to the safest place and interrogate the security guard. And the problem is that this all needs to be done secretly, without mentioning us.”

“Ok! I will provide you with 2 suites on the 1st deck. You can shift 12 millionaires there, 6 millionaires in each. But where is Musharraf?”

“He is in a safe place. We should focus on the other 12.”

“Ok! I will go and ask the other 12 to shift in the suites for security reasons. If you want, you can come along.”

“One of my men will come along with you, and he will tell you which 6 will stay together. And don’t stop searching for Musharraf until the cruise reaches India. No one should know that you know all this.”

“As you wish!”

Samprit and Rahim went back to their room. While they were going back, Samprit tells Rahim not to tell anyone that Sanjay was his batchmate.

“We will just tell them that he has agreed to help us,” said Samprit.

“As you wish,” Rahim replied. After reaching and sharing everything, Samprit told Raj to go with Sanjay and that 6 millionaires who were on the victim list should stay in one suite and the other 6 in another suite. Anand will also stay along with the 6 which were on the list, and they will try to monitor everything possible.

Samprit and Rahim took the security guard of Musharraf to Sanjay’s office to interrogate him. He accepted that he was included in the plan, but his task was just to tell Musharraf that 12 millionaires got a mail regarding the attack, and he knows nothing else. He also told them that the 7 millionaires will die instantly after entering Indian borders. After that, he was also shifted to Afridi’s room. It was clear to them that the man wanted them to know all these.

Later, Raj and Sanjay did what Samprit told them to. Musharraf and the security guard were in Afridi’s room. Sanjay advised these suites because each suite consisted of 6 rooms and a hall. Samprit and Anand were in the hall of suite 1, while Raj, Pawan, and Jatin were in the hall of suite 2. The day was about to end, and the cruise was about to enter the Indian waters. At around 5 am, the cruise would cross the Indian border. As per the warning, 7 millionaires will die at that time only.

They didn’t allow anyone to enter the suite. They also gave an antidote for rosary peas to everyone, just to be safe. Rahim was told to be in Afridi’s room to keep an eye on Musharraf and the security guard. Everyone was very tense, as anytime, the attack can take place. They were too close to catch the culprit, but still, they don’t know who the culprit was.

******

August 6, 5:00 am

The cruise was about to enter Indian water. Millionaires were in the room with the best facilities but were unable to sleep, and Samprit and his team were also unable to sleep, checking everything after every few minutes. Everyone was tense.

At around 5:30 am, Samprit finally tried to check the suite. He one by one checked the rooms of 6 millionaires on the victim list, and they were all safe. He was relieved that the mission was partially successful. He shared the information with everyone. He also mentioned them to still watch the targets until he gave this information to Rahim and checks what’s going on there.

As he entered Afridi’s room, he saw that everyone was unconscious. After verifying, he found that Rahim was only unconscious, but Musharraf and the security guard were dead. There was a note lying nearby Rahim’s unconscious form that said, ‘I told you I would not kill any other’. He rushed towards the suites; midway, he saw his team rushing towards him. Anand told him that the other 6 millionaires are dead. Shocked, Samprit told them that Musharraf and the security guard are also dead, and Rahim is lying unconscious there.

They called Sanjay and explain everything, telling him that at any cost, their name should not come out.

Anand took Samprit aside and asked him he should tell Radhika. Samprit shrugged, indicating his own cluelessness.

Sanjay said, “Samprit, the news has been leaked. I don’t know how, but every news channel is showing this news.”

Samprit replied, “But how did you contact anyone?”

Pawan said, “They have special numbers through which staff can contact.”

“Can we contact someone?”

Sanjay replied, “Yes, you can.”

“Arrange my call with Goyal sir immediately. Jatin go and help them if required,” ordered Samprit.

Sanjay asked his team to contact Goyal, and Jatin tried to help them; he didn’t have much knowledge about those gadgets but tried to figure them out.

******

August 6, 2021,

RAW Headquarters, Delhi

In the office of Y.S Goyal

The news reporter was speaking on TV, “As per the latest news from our sources, 7 millionaires have been killed in a cruise voyaging from Dubai to India early this morning. We also have information that RAW knew about this attack and that there were a few RAW agents on the cruise. We don’t know who they are, but they were unsuccessful in saving those 7 millionaires. Are our RAW agents incapable of saving a few lives even when they have the information before the attack? This is a question for the government. Someone needs to do something…”

Goyal murmurs, “How the hell did this information come out? I don’t believe this. I can’t even contact anyone. It will take a day for the cruise to reach India. Hold on…I can contact the cruise through their special assigned number.”

He rushed towards the cyber cell and asked Tarun (one of the analysts) to help him. Tarun tried to contact the RAW team and instantly got a response because they were also trying to contact them. At around 7:30 am, Samprit was able to reach Goyal.

Samprit asked, “Sir, what is the situation there?”

Goyal replied, “Samprit, what the heck is wrong with you all? I told you that the news should never come out.”

“Sir, we don’t know how this news came out. We got to know that attack was successful at around 5:30 am, and at around 6:00 am, we were informed that the news had been leaked. Sir, I am very much confused. I don’t know what should we do next.”

“How many casualties?”

“7 millionaires and 1 security guard.”

“Security guard?”

“Sir, you remember Musharraf, one millionaire on our suspect list?”

“Yes.”

“Sir, one of his security guards was part of this attack, and they killed him.”

Goyal asked Samprit to tell everything in detail. It took about half an hour for Samprit to tell him everything.

Goyal said, “Samprit, tomorrow morning, the cruise will land at the Mumbai port. After that, checking of the passengers will be done. Remember that your true identity should never come out. For now, your false identity is your real identity. And also tell Sanjay that everything that has happened there should never come out. He should tell everyone that due to security reasons they shifted all those millionaires, and I will try to finish all this thing as soon as possible.”

“Ok, sir, I will do the same.”

Later, at around 8:30 am, Radhika came to ask Samprit, how things went. Samprit told her everything. After knowing about the security guard, she said that he was her partner. He had been working for her since her brother started his investigation. Samprit and everyone else was shocked on hearing this. Samprit asked her to provide clarity.

She said that the guard was an immigrant from Bangladesh called Ahmad Sharif, caught in 2012 in Mumbai for spying for someone. He never told for whom he was working, as he was very honest to his master. Kashis sir wanted to send Hardik to Dubai for investigating Musharraf. Ahmad had many fake passports for Dubai. As a partner and guide, he was sent along with Hardik. After Hardik was killed, he informed that Musharraf saved the documents against him instead of destroying them. Hence, she was sent to Dubai to somehow get those documents and bring them to India.

Samprit told her that during interrogation he said that he was working for them. She replied that she doesn’t know anything about this, but it was her mission to take Musharraf safely to India, and due to him, she also failed in her mission.

Samprit tried to calm her down. He told everyone that their false identity is their true identity until all this is over. No one should ever come to know who was the in-charge officer for this case. He also told Sanjay to be very careful with all this.

Everyone on the cruise was frightened and wanted to reach home as soon as possible. But since the news had been leaked, the Indian Navy took over the cruise in the afternoon. Indian Navy officers started to investigate the attack. Since Musharraf and the security guard were in Afridi’s room, he got very nervous. He committed suicide before Navy officers can take him into custody.

When everyone was trying to hide the truth, Samprit was constantly trying to determine how those millionaires were killed. Musharraf and the security guard were shot, but how did the man and his team kill the other 6 millionaires? They were in the hall, and they didn’t take a nap. He wondered if, when he and Anand were in another hall, the others had taken a nap. He asked Raj about this, who replied that not one of them had slept a wink that night. He also told him that till about 3′o clock, every millionaire was tense, but later, one by one, all of them slept. He thought maybe all of them were tired. But they didn’t close their eyes for a second.

Samprit wanted to cross-check the rooms but was unable to. He was also not able to talk to Sanjay, because Navy officers were interrogating him. He then asked Rahim and Pawan to come with him to the bilge of the cruise. They tried their best to find a clue, but to no avail. They went back to their rooms as to not raise any suspicion.

The investigation took the whole day, but the navy found nothing except the gun in Afridi’s room—Afridi’s suicide made him the prime suspect. Everyone thought that most probably Afridi killed the victims, but even Navy officers are unable to find how the other 6 millionaires died. They collected the bodies and send them for postmortem through Navy boats. The Navy officers decided that after reaching Mumbai port, everyone will be cross verified, and if necessary, they will take them into custody.

Rahim was very worried, as Sanjay was under a lot of pressure, he may tell the truth to officers. Rahim asked Samprit to come with him to talk to Sanjay at around midnight. Sanjay told them that he has shared-nothing, but the officers are collecting fingerprints, and maybe they will verify them tomorrow at the port. Most probably, the fingerprint can be matched with them, as they both had been interrogating Musharraf and the security guard. He told them to escape from the cruise through a lifeboat before the officers catch them. Samprit told him that if they escape it will make them the culprit, to which Sanjay replied that it is their fake identity, and no one knows them. Their every detail is false, so what’s the harm in that. And he also told that he will mention that they both never got o the cruise, they missed the voyage. They both agreed.

Sanjay took them near the lifeboat section. Samprit and Rahim wrap the lifeboats in plastic so that it doesn’t open when they got in the water. Rahim also took an emergency bag along with him. They slowly got into the water so it doesn’t make noise. They swam some distance in the opposite direction, watched the cruise disappearing in the dark, and then opened the lifeboat.

******

August 7, 2021, Mumbai port

A lot of news reporters were present at the port. Everyone wanted to cover the news first. Navy officers blocked the reporters’ way so that they can check everyone. One by one, all passengers deboarded the ship, and the officers checked everyone. As expected, an officer asked Sanjay about Samprit and Rahim. As planned, he told them that he needs to check the register to confirm whether they both got on the cruise or not. He asked one of the employees to bring the register, went through the register, and told the officer that they both missed the cruise. He showed the entry list of the passenger to the officer—the list he had edited the previous night.

The officers called Anand and Raj, as they were their roommates. They corroborated Sanjay’s statement. The officers don’t have any choice other than to believe them, but they warned them and took their contact details, also warned them that they can be called for inquiry anytime, and they need to be present. They checked everyone’s fingerprints but got nothing. Finally, they concluded that probably Afridi was behind the attack, and they will try to find his handler. They seized Afridi’s belongings and took statements from many passengers.

******

August 11, 2021

Samprit’s House

Pradeep Batra and Samprit entered the house. The physical condition of Samprit was very bad, as he was injured, walking with a limp, limbs having scrapes and wounds. His mother rushed to him after seeing his condition, asking in a heavy voice, “What happened? Who did this to you?”

Pradeep told her that he will tell her everything, but first, she must let him get Samprit to his room and call a doctor. While the doctor was on his way, Pradeep helped him bathe. The doctor treated him, applying bandages, creams, and other things, and advised complete bed rest for at least 3 to 5 days.

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