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23rd October 3:00 PM
Mayur poured a glass of water and sipped. "What do you think about Nayan?" He placed the glass back on the table. "I don't think he is innocent?"
"He is a left-hander and it's likely that he is involved. Also, his footwear size matches with the one at the crime scene. But I don't understand why he would go to Hyderabad and kill Priya, disguising himself as a Pizza Hut delivery boy?"
"The same logic applies here which we thought earlier that he needed to get into the apartment building without being questioned."
"Oh, I see," said Aisha. "Should we verify his alibi in that case?"
"Yes, we should," said Mayur. "But it will be difficult to get his correct alibi as Nayan is a businessman."
"We can visit his place of business and talk with the workers," Aisha said.
"His workers might lie to us to protect their boss." Mayur paused and then said, "Do you remember what Nayan said when I asked if he loved someone else?"
"Yes, I do," Aisha said. "He lied to us."
"That's correct. We must tell Prakash to employ his men to trail Nayan and find out if he meets his girlfriend. If he is seeing her, we should question him further until he confesses."
Aisha nodded. "What's your gut feeling? Do you think it's him?"
"Well, I can't rule out his involvement, but I can't be convinced until we further probe the matter."
"My head is spinning," Aisha said. "The murder took place in Hyderabad, but the suspects live in Bangalore. The possibility that any one of these suspects went to Hyderabad and killed Priya is, I think, very unlikely."
"I don't think so," said Mayur, smiling.
Aisha looked at him, seemingly puzzled. "You asked Nayan if he has any relatives and friends at Hyderabad. Is there any significance associated with that?"
"Yes," said Mayur. "I can talk about it more after we interview the remaining suspects." He didn't like to reveal all the details until he further probed the matter. He grabbed the phone from the table. "Let's call Prakash."
He swiped on the screen and called.
"Hello, Mayur," said Prakash.
"Prakash, I hope I didn't disturb you."
"It's all right. We can talk for a few moments."
"We interviewed Nayan a while ago. We found that he is a left-hander and he wears size nine shoes which makes him more suspicious. He also lied when he said he didn't have a girlfriend."
"Oh, that's good progress you've made." Prakash sounded elated. "Now, tell me how can I help you? Do you need any assistance?"
"Yes. I want someone from the Bangalore police to trail Nayan and find out if he meets his girlfriend. Also, I want his call records so that we can know more about him."
"Sure," said Prakash. "I'll arrange for someone to shadow him."
Mayur exchanged a few more words before he ended the call.
23rd October 5:00 PM
Mayur spent time romancing Aisha and took a catnap until the evening. After having coffee with her, he liked to spend some time outside. He told her he would return soon and walked to the reception.
He sat on a couch in the lobby, picked up India Today magazine from the table and flipped over the pages. An auction of cricket players for the upcoming Indian Premiere League cricket tournament caught his attention. While he was reading, his cell phone rang. The screen was lit with an unknown number. Who might it be? Mayur always answered anonymous calls thinking the caller might be known to him.
"Hello, Mayur speaking."
"Hello, Mr. Varma," said a male voice. "You had fun with your secretary?"
Goosebumps popped up on Mayur's skin. The caller indeed touched Mayur's raw nerves. Is he the same person who threatened me a few days ago?
"Hey, who you are? It's none of your business to poke into my private life. If you really have guts, tell me who you are?"
"I hate seeing your face, Mr. Mayur. All I ask you is that you stop investigating Priya's murder, all right? This is your second warning. Heed my words or there will be consequences."
"Do you think you can scare me? I've seen-" before Mayur completed his sentence, the line went dead.
Mayur shrugged. Though nervousness overwhelmed his thoughts, he composed himself. I don't want to give into all these threats. No doubt it's the perpetrator and he is afraid of being caught and convicted.
He rose. A few minutes of walking should rejuvenate him. He placed his phone in his shirt pocket and walked out of the hotel.
The evening traffic was heavy. The street was crowded with all types of vehicles - cars, motorbikes, city buses, and rickshaws - and the exhaust smoke filled the surroundings.
Mayur tasted fumes and craved fresh air. He ought to enter into the residential area to breathe fresh, clean air. But he needed to cross the road. He looked towards the right, standing beside the road and waited for the traffic to lessen. While he waited, a heavily built dark-complexioned man caught his attention. This person wore soiled white pajamas and a black banyan. A thick silver chain was hung around his neck.
Mayur sprinted across the road when the traffic lessened and walked towards a path that led to the colony of houses. Large peepal and neem trees were growing alongside the pathway. A fresh breeze that swept down the area comforted Mayur. Cars were lined up in front of houses and beside the street. An occasional sound of a dog barking and a whistle of tropical birds disturbed the otherwise calm atmosphere.