Thursday 24 November 2022

Neeraj Bhople, Short Story 2022 Shortlist

Detective Karan – The First Case

Our bike stopped in front of Siddhi Society in Kothrud. There was a huge police presence there. Karan went and said something to the constable and we went inside. Inside the third-floor apartment, I saw a dead body of a girl in her twenties lying behind a sofa in a pool of blood. Her face was completely disfigured.

Suddenly everything went dark. And bam. I collapsed.

7 days ago -

Sunday. Maharashtra Express reached Pune Junction and I got off to catch a rickshaw. I went to Karan Bhople’s house – my temporary accommodation till I found my own place. My name is Samar Kulkarni. I was in Pune to start my job after finishing my engineering.

Karan welcomed me and got me set up in the apartment. My next week was spent settling in the new office and looking for flats on rent, but I didn't like an. Unfortunately, all that roaming around in the sun made me sick and I had a fever that night. I informed my office that I won’t be coming in on Monday.

I slept the whole day and was feeling much better by evening. Karan and I were having tea, when he got a call. He was very excited when he hung up the phone and said he had to go now. There's a cool case. On the way out, he stopped.

"You wanted to know what I do, right? If you're feeling well, come with me. I’ll show you."

And I sat with him on his bike and left for Siddhi Society in Kothrud.


When I opened my eyes, I couldn’t figure out where I was. Looking around, I started realising. I had become unconscious when I saw that dead body. The dead body had already been removed. The exact position of the body was drawn with chalk.

"How do you feel now? " Karan exclaimed.

"I'm ok." I was embarrassed.

"I'm sorry. You're not used to all this. I should have thought of that before I brought you here", Karan said, putting his hand on my shoulder. "This is sub-inspector Abhijeet Marathe," Karan said, pointing to a policeman. "And this is my roommate Samar. "

I shook hands with the sub-inspector.

Karan said, "I saw the body before it was sent for post-mortem. If you're done, should I do a little inspection of the rest of the place? "

"Go ahead," Marathe said and went outside.

It was a one-bedroom flat. A couple of sofas in the hall & a small tea-table in the middle. There was a cup of tea lying on it. Another cup, some biscuits and a plate were lying broken on the floor to the side. Things were scattered around. There was a metal statue a little further away from where the body had fallen. The floor was covered with blood. There was a lot of blood splattered on the right-side wall.

There were three doors to the right of the hall. The first was for the bedroom, the second for the kitchen, and the third for the balcony. At the other end of the hall was the showcase and there were some decorative items kept on it. One corner was empty. Perhaps that’s where the statue was originally kept.

Karan went into the bedroom after checking the hall for a while. Everything was scattered there too. The cupboard was open. We came out and went to the balcony. Karan leaned down and looked around the balcony. Behind the building was a large ground of Eklavya College. Karan sat on the floor and started checking the entire balcony. I don't know what he was looking for, but he found something small. He picked it up by hand and put it in a small plastic bag. (He was wearing gloves). Finally, he was done.

"Mr. Marathe. Who saw the body first?" He asked.

"Ashish Jagdale, i.e., the victim's husband. Victim’s name is Inayat. The husband is seated in the house next door. Let's meet him,” Marathe said.


Ashish Jagdale was about 28 years old. His eyes were red with tears. Joshi, who owned this house, was sitting next to him. Marathe began to talk. "Ashish, tell me everything from the beginning."

"As usual, I reached home around 5:30. But Inayat did not open the door despite me ringing the bell two or three times. So, I knocked on Joshi's door. We keep a set of keys with him. I opened the door and when I walked in…,” Ashish stopped. Tears began to slide down his cheeks. "...Inside, Inayat was lying in a pool of blood. At that time, Joshi came in and after seeing all this, he called 100. "

"Has anything been stolen?" Marathe asked.

"Yes. Some money is missing from the cupboard. Three or four thousand rupees."

"Joshi, how did you know something had happened? Did you hear Ashish shout? " As Karan asked.

"No. We were still talking when Ashish opened the door. When he went in, he suddenly stopped and his face was ashen. I felt something was wrong. I went inside and looked. And then I called the police," Joshi said.

"When did you get married?" Marathe asked Ashish.

"It's been a year. We got married and moved to Mumbai. A month ago, I got a transfer here and rented this house."

"Where do your parents and your in-laws stay?"

"My parents live here in Pune. Avinash Jagdale is my father. He’s a builder. Mother Aarti is a homemaker. I don't have any siblings. Inayat's parents, Abid Khan and Amina, live in Amravati, where they have a grocery store. She has a younger brother, Sajid, who is a year younger than her."

Karan pulled out a packet of cigarettes. It was empty. He looked around and then asked Ashish.

"Ashish, do you have any cigarettes?" Karan said.

"Sorry, cigarette smoke causes breathing problems for me," he said. In the meantime, Joshi offered his Wills Light to Karan. While taking it, Karan asked the next question,

"Do you suspect anyone?" Marathe said.

“No. Why would anyone kill her? I don't understand anything. Did she lose her life just for a few thousand rupees?" Ashish said angrily.

"Don't you worry, Mr. Jagdale. We will soon find him and put him in jail," Marathe said and we got up.

On the way out, Marathe said, "Ashish, we will call you if we need anything. Where's your office? "

"It’s nearby. Near Nal stop. It takes about twenty minutes to get there. "

We all came out. Karan asked Marathe, "Sir, have you found Inayat's mobile?"

"Yes. But Ashish doesn't know the password. That's why it's sent to the cyber team. Once unlocked, let's see if we find anything in it. "

Karan took out a plastic bag from his pocket and gave it to Marathe. There was a cigarette butt in it. "Sir, tell the forensics to investigate this too. "

Marathe took the bag and left. We still looked around and found that there was no security guard for the building nor CCTV.

As we approached our bike, I asked Karan, “Why are you still holding that cigarette in your hand?”

"I don't smoke," Karan said, and I looked at him in bewilderment.


When we reached home, I had a lot of questions in my mind.

"Can you tell me exactly what's going on? Who are you? What are you? And what exactly happened today?" I asked eagerly.

"Oh, my goodness! So many questions! Wait, I'll tell you everything. You know my name. I tried doing a job for a few months after graduation, but I knew right away that it's not my cup of tea. I was already very fond of the detective profession. Since I had some interest in writing, I started writing mystery stories in college magazines and other places. Friends started telling me some of their problems, which I solved for them. So, when I left my job, I started a detective agency that earns me some money. I earn a little bit of money through the share market and some writing that I do as well.

"In one of the cases, I was able to help Marathe and he became my friend & he calls me on some cases.”

"And what about today's case?" I was very curious.

"Can't say anything right now. Let’s see tomorrow.”


Next day I was assigned a project that needed me to work in the night shift, from the night after. I got home and started making tea. As I freshened up, Karan reached as well. As we sipped on our tea, Karan said,

"We need to go to Ashish's office. Get ready quickly," Karan said.

We drove to Nal stop & found a place in the parking lot of Ashish's office building. From there, we had to walk a lot to even get to the main entrance.

Ashish’s office was on the fifth floor. But first we had to get a 'visitor's card'. We had to use it a couple of times before reaching the fifth floor. My office also has the same system. Dunno why there’s so much security! We looked around, but couldn’t find Ashish’s cabin anywhere. Karan walked up to a beautiful looking girl. Her name was written on the wall of her cubicle.

Radha Chauhan.

"Ashish sir’s cabin is right next to the exit,” Radha said.

"Thank you. Do you know what happened to his wife?" Karan asked.

"Yes. I found out this morning," she replied.

"Did you know her?"

"I've met her a couple of times.”

"Good. Do you live nearby?"

"Yes. I mean, close to Ashish sir's house."

"Oh good. I hope you carpool?" Karan said.

"Um. Yes. Sir and I come together sometimes."

"Did you carpool yesterday?" Karan looked at her sharply.

"N... No. I mean, I came to the office a little late yesterday,” She looked very scared now.

"Well, thank you for telling us the way to the cabin," Karan said and we left.

We reached the cabin & could hear a phone call going on inside. As we knocked on the door, Ashish said "Come in". We went inside. "Yes Karan. What do you want to ask?"

"Oh, nothing much. Marathe’s phone was not getting connected. And I wanted your parents’ and in-laws’ address. We were passing by your office so thought of coming here and taking it from you," Karan said.

Ashish began to say, "Yes, write it down.”

Karan pulled out a pen and said, "Oh, my pen is not working. Would you mind writing it down?" Ashish gave the addresses and phone numbers on a piece of paper. Karan put it in his pocket and said,

"Why don't you stay with your parents for a few days? It will be better than staying alone I suppose?" Karan said sympathetically.

"We don't talk to each other. They didn't want me to get married to Inayat. But we didn't listen. That's why they stopped talking to us."

"Well, another small question. Where were you when the murder took place yesterday?" Karan asked.

"Yesterday, Marathe said that everything happened between one and two in the afternoon. I was in the office at that time. In my cabin. There was a call going on," he explained.

"How did you come to work yesterday?"

"I usually come to work with a colleague. In her car. Yesterday we were gonna come to the office in the afternoon. But a few meetings got fixed, so I came by rickshaw in the morning," Ashish muttered.

"Did you go anywhere during the day?"


"That's it. No more questions," Karan said and got up.

Just as we were leaving, Karan said, "Ashish, if we take the main exit, we will have to walk a lot to get to our bike. Would you mind giving our visitor cards to the security when you go? We will take the fire exit."

"No problem," he said and we gave him our cards.

We came out and pressed the button to open the fire exit and came into the stairwell. When we had walked down one flight of stairs, Karan suddenly exclaimed,

"Oh no. I forgot my pen there. Wait, I will be back in a minute. "

In two minutes, Karan came back down with a long face.

"What kind of security is this in all the offices? You can come to the stairs by pressing a button but to go back in you need an access card! What secret work do you do? Why do you need so much security? Forget about the pen, it wasn’t working anymore anyway!”

While having dinner at home, I asked him, "So what do you think?”

"I made enquiries at Ashish's office earlier today. That’s when I got to know about carpooling and that Radha was interested in Ashish. So, I wanted to meet her once. And secondly, I had to go there and see another thing. I saw and now we can say that Ashish is not the murderer. "

"What?!" I gasped.

"Did you see the drops of blood near the body? When we entered through the door, it was on the right wall, and the drops on the floor were from left to right. It means the blow was from left to right, and that the murderer was a left-handed person; Ashish wrote the addresses with his right hand" Karan said.

"So, what about Radha?" I asked.

"She's not left-handed either. The mouse of her desktop was on the right-hand side," Karan said.

We finished our dinner and I told him about my project. He was happy.

"Great! Now you can hang out with me all day long!" He spoke.

"Okay. Let's see tomorrow," I said and started preparing to go to bed.

I closed my eyes and asked Karan.

"So, to Jagdale Sr. tomorrow?"

He laughed, “No. Sajid."


We had already called Inayat's father, Abid Khan, to find the address of the hotel at Shivajinagar where they had put up. Marathe had told them about Inayat’s death so they had reached here in the morning. It was half past ten when we arrived there. It was Abid Khan who opened the door. His wife Amina and son Sajid were also inside.

"How was the relationship between you and Inayat?" Karan asked.

"She tarnished our honour. We didn't like her getting married to Ashish. We didn't want a guy from a different religion. We haven't spoken even once since she got married. But now that this has happened, I have come to at least bury her properly," Abid said.

"Okay. The day before yesterday, were you all in Amravati? "

"Two of us were. Sajid was here in Pune for some work.”

"All right. I don't want to ask anything else. Um, Sajid, can you come down for a bit with us? I want some more details from you. The police need it," Karan said, and the three of us came downstairs. Karan took out a packet of cigarettes.

"Oh no. My pack is empty. Sajid, do you have a cigarette? " Karan used his usual trick.

Sajid pulled out his packet and gave him a cigarette. Marlboro Ice burst menthol cigarette. Karan took it and I saw a faint smile on his face.

"Sajid, didn't you go to see Inayat on Monday morning?" Karan posed a straight question.

The cigarette packet fell from Sajid's hand. He kept looking at Karan. After a moment, he started talking.

"Yes. My family had broken up with her. But I couldn't do that. We used to talk to each other but we hid it from everyone. The day before yesterday I had come to Pune for work, in the morning. I went to meet her. But I didn't kill her. I swear on Inayat," Sajid started crying.

"Tell me everything that happened there," Karan said, putting his hand on Sajid's shoulder. Sajid calmed down a bit.

"I didn't tell her I had come to Pune. I wanted to surprise her. She had once told me that Ashish usually leaves the house by 9.30 every morning, so I went at 10. She opened the door with a smile but was shocked to see me. And a little scared. We chatted for a while. But she seemed in a hurry. She was constantly doing something on the phone. Just then, I got a call so I went to the balcony to talk. The merchant, who I had come to meet, had called. So, I left her house around 10.30 and went to the market yard."

"She didn't ask you for tea? "


"Why did you go to the balcony to smoke? Why did you not smoke inside?"

Surprised, he kept looking at Karan, then came to his senses and said,

"Ashish has asthma. I thought if I smoked a cigarette inside, the smell would bother him later."

Karan seemed to be satisfied.

"All right, Sajid. Give me the merchant’s number."

Sajid wrote down the number on a piece of paper we left. After approaching the bike, Karan called the merchant and made sure that Sajid’s statement was correct.

As we started driving, I asked him, "You knew from the brand that it was the same as that cigarette butt you found. But this brand must be getting smoked by a lot of people, right? "

"No. This brand is not used by many people. This is a little expensive cigarette. But it was exactly the same cigarette that Sajid had. It can’t be a coincidence. "

"But that cigarette butt could have been lying there for a long time, right? Why do you think it was from the same morning? "

"There's a big college ground behind that balcony. A lot of dust must have come from there. But there was very little dust on that cigarette butt. So, it couldn’t have been lying there for long. Also, if it had fallen there before that day, it would have gone out into the trash. Of course, there was a possibility that Inayat didn’t clean the balcony that morning. So, I took a chance and asked Sajid a question about going there. And I was right. But Sajid wrote with his right hand and Marathe’s team will verify the merchant’s story anyway. So, we can remove him from the list of suspects. "

Our bike came to a halt near a huge building named - Jagdale Builders.


"We have come to inquire about Inayat’s murder," Karan said to Avinash Jagdale who was sitting in a plush cabin.

"She has nothing to do with us. We didn’t want them to get married. Ashish didn’t think about the family. He wanted to marry that girl from a different religion. We tried to persuade him. But he wasn't ready to listen. Eventually, we let it go. We decided that he didn’t exist for us anymore. Even his mother has given up on him,” Jagdale said angrily.

"When did you find out that Inayat was murdered?"

"The next morning. Read it in the papers. "

"Didn't Ashish tell you?"

"Told you, didn't I? He is dead for us. Now we have nothing to do with him!" Jagdale shouted.

"Well. I don't want to ask anything else," Karan said and got up.

We quietly came down and headed for the bike.

"And Ashish's mother?" Don't you want to talk to her?" I asked.

"Looking at Avinash Jagdale's overall personality, I don't feel the need for it. He’s like a dictator, used to getting his own way. His wife must be completely under his control."

We came home and I asked him about the case while eating. He said,

"Avinash Jagdale is a big businessman. He won't kill anybody himself. He may get someone else to kill for him. But after talking to him, in fact, I don't think he did. He wouldn’t want to jeopardise his business, and it also looks like he’s given up on his son. Yet, I have told Marathe to get Jagdale’s call records."

His phone rang. He went out and talked for a while. When he came in, he had a slightly confused expression on his face.

"That was Marathe. There’s nothing new in the post-mortem report, except that fingerprints were found on the cups. Inayat’s prints on one cup. Inayat’s and another person’s on the second cup. We don’t know who the second person is. He will send me the report over an email. "

"Karan. what next? We have questioned everyone."

"No, we haven’t. There’s one left."


"Rahul Chandavarkar.”


Karan made tea and woke me up. It was four o'clock then, and I had taken a nap after lunch.

"Who's this new guy?"

"That day when I inquired at Inayat’s office, I came to know that this Rahul also works at Inayat’s old office. In their Bangalore office. But he often comes here for work. He liked Inayat. I don't know exactly what their relationship was, but people think that something must be going on. From the time Inayat got married, he stopped coming to Pune. He's here. Since Sunday," Karan said.

We were at Rahul’s office after an hour, "Hello Karan. And Samar "

"You knew Inayat. How well did you know each other?"

"Before she met Ashish, we used to spend a lot of time together whenever I visited Pune. I liked her. I even told her that many times. But she said her parents would never agree. Then she met Ashish. I never liked him. He’s from a rich family & there was always some girl trying to woo him. Inayat herself had told me. I asked her how her parents would accept him when they wouldn’t accept me?” I thought there was jealousy and anger in Rahul's eyes when he said this. He continued.

"He didn't like the two of us talking. Slowly, we started drifting apart. She went against the wishes of her family and got married to him and left for Mumbai. She used to talk to her brother from time to time. But she couldn’t discuss everything with him.

"Then one day she messaged me. And we started talking again. Ashish knew nothing about it. When she came to Pune, I wanted to meet her. So, I came to Pune. I messaged her on Sunday that we should meet. But she didn't reply. And then on Tuesday, I found out that... " Rahul quivered as tears started rolling down his cheeks.

"What time did you come to the office?"

"I came in the afternoon. Around 3."

Karan took out his wallet gave a shiny white visiting card to Rahul,

"Here's my card. Call me if needed."

Rahul took the card and exclaimed, "Oh, this is blank!"

Karan took it back, "Oh I am so sorry. I gave you the wrong card. Looks like I finished all my visiting cards.”

"No problem," said Rahul, "I have your number anyway. "

"Do you mind writing down your Bangalore home address on a piece of paper? We need it for the records, " Karan used his trick & Rahul wrote down the address.

With his left hand.


"Rahul is left-handed!” I shouted as soon as we got to our bike.

"Yes!” Karan smiled.

Just then, Marathe called. He spoke for a while, and immediately the smile on his face grew bigger.

"I think we've got our killer. Inayat's phone was unlocked by the cyber team. There isn’t anything suspicious except two messages that were sent to one number. First message was sent the night before the murder, she had written her address and '10', and the second message was sent at 10 in the morning - she had written '11', and both the messages were sent to Rahul.”

"Then let's go and confront him."

"No. He can very well say she sent a message but he didn't go. We have to prove that he went and met Inayat."


I came back after an uneventful night at work. Karan was making tea. I didn't see much excitement on his face. Karan's phone beeped. He probably received an email. As he read it, he said,

"Marathe has sent Avinash Jagdale's phone records. Nothing suspicious there. And he has finally sent the post-mortem report that he forgot to send the other day. In this too... Nothing...” He paused as he spoke. He started reading the report again. Then he laid down looking at the ceiling. I tried to say a couple of words but he was not listening. I finished my tea and went to sleep. The night shift had taken its toll on me.

It was twelve o'clock in the afternoon when I woke up. Karan wasn't home, he must have gone out to investigate something. I ate and slept again. I woke up when Karan came in at around 4.

"So how are you going to prove it?" I asked him as both of us sipped tea.

"That’s what I was busy with all day. I have planned everything with Marathe. We have to be at Ashish’s house at 6 pm.”

At exactly six o'clock we were there. Marathe and Karan talked for a while and Karan started smiling as we went into the apartment. Everyone we had talked to earlier were already sitting. They all had the same question - ‘What's going on? And why were our unlocked cell phones taken away by the police?’

Karan started talking, “Marathe and I have called you here, so that everyone knows who killed Inayat, why and how. I will start from the very beginning.

“When I came here soon after the murder, I noticed a few things. Inayat was lying with her feet towards the main door and her head towards the showcase. And there was a lot of blood splashed on the right wall. This meant that the murderer must have used the statue to hit her from left to right, so the killer must be left-handed.

"There were cups of tea lying there and a cigarette butt on the balcony. Ashish had told me that he had problems with cigarette smoke. So, who was this person who smoked the cigarette and had tea in the house?

"Ashish had come to the office in the morning and was on a call at the time of the murder. The rest of the people in the call confirmed that he was online throughout the call. And even in CCTV, Ashish was not seen leaving the floor. He's not left-handed either so Ashish was dropped from our list of suspects.

"Though Inayat’s parents did not approve of the marriage, we confirmed that they were in Amravati when the murder took place. But Sajid was in Pune, and he smokes the same brand of cigarettes as that of the cigarette butt that we found. So, we took him into confidence and got to know the truth from him.

"He was here that morning. At 10 o'clock. Inayat didn't know he was coming. That's why she was surprised and scared. Sajid realised that she didn't want him here. So, he left around ten thirty to meet the merchant he had come to meet.

"Jagdale family was also against the relationship. But on checking their call records and other things, we found that they had nothing to do with it.

"Then we got some new information. People in her old office told us that Rahul was interested in Inayat. But Ashish did not like Inayat talking to Rahul so they got separated from each other. Inayat didn't want to end the friendship, so they started talking to each other again. And Rahul came to Pune to meet her," Karan stopped.

"Yes. But I didn't meet her. She didn't even reply to the message I sent her!” Rahul screamed.

"She sent you a reply. We found two messages sent to you on her phone. In the first message, she sent you the address and asked you to come at 10 o'clock. But then Sajid came to meet her. Inayat was scared. She didn’t want Rahul to come in at the same time. So, she hurriedly sent another message to Rahul saying '11' so that he would come at eleven o'clock. When I heard about the messages, my suspicion on you got stronger. And I was convinced when I realised that you are left-handed."

"No! She messaged, but we didn't meet!"

"I showed your photo at all the rickshaw stands nearby. They had not seen you taking a rickshaw, but the security guard of the next building had seen you loitering around near the building for almost 45 minutes, since ten o'clock that morning.”

"No. It wasn’t me. You said that at the rickshaw stand no one saw me. You’re trying to frame me!”

"Rahul, you were not seen at the rickshaw stand because you came by uber taxi. Your phone has the details of your trip. You got Inayat’s second message so, you just loitered around for a while, and went up after Sajid left. You left at one o'clock. The fingerprints on the tea cup match your fingerprints. The empty card I gave you in your office was to take your fingerprints," Karan said calmly.

Rahul started crying. "Yes. I met her. Everything happened exactly like you said. We talked for a while. She made tea. And then I told her about my love again. I told her that she should divorce Ashish and that we should get married. She got very upset at this suggestion. She said she never thought of me as a lover. I tried hard to convince her, but she was firm. Finally, I got angry and left the house, spent some time near my office to calm down before getting inside. I didn't think you’d find any evidence that I was here. Inayat always used to delete the messages sent to me from her phone. So, I thought she must have deleted these messages too."

Everyone was quiet for a while. Then Karan said,

"I thought of this case as a simple one. All the evidence was against Rahul. But yesterday, when I read the post mortem report carefully, I noticed that the first hit, with the metal statue, was on Inayat's left cheek. How was this possible?

“After much thought, I remembered that the original place of the statue was in the corner of showcase which is on the other side of the room - the murderer must have picked it up from there. Once the statue was picked up, the murderer must have attacked immediately. Inayat had to be standing with her face towards the showcase and back towards the main door, to be hit first on the left cheek. That meant, the person who killed her was not left-handed! As she was hit by a right-handed person from the other side of the room, a splash of blood flew against the right wall if we looked from the main door. The blow was so strong that Inayat turned around and hit the table and fell back again, with her head towards the showcase and her feet towards the door, and then the murderer hit her several times on the face, very inhumanly. Even after she died.

"That means someone came here after Rahul left. To kill her" Everyone was listening intently.

"Radha, didn’t you come here that afternoon?" Radha gave a start when Karan asked the question. "We looked at Google Location History on your phone. It clearly shows that you were here," Karan asked.

"Yes. Ashish and I had decided the day before that we would go to the office in the afternoon. I came to pick him up. I called his cell but it didn't connect. So, I went up and rang the bell. When no one opened the door, I called his desk number in the office, but he didn't pick it up either. So, I went to work. I'm telling the truth. I didn't kill her," Radha cried.

"Ashish did not pick up the phone in his cabin because he was not in the office then. Isn't that right Ashish?' Karan asked.

"Me? I was in the office. My call was on. The rest of the people told you too,” Ashish said.

"You took the call from the office, on your laptop and switched on the speaker. That's why you appeared online. But you weren't there. When I showed Rahul's photo at the rickshaw stand, I showed yours too. They recognized you. In a hurry, you stopped a rickshaw that was passing on the road, instead of taking one from the rickshaw stand. So, the rickshaw drivers at the stand stopped your rickshaw and forced you to take the rickshaw from the stand. That's why they remembered you.

"You left the office using the fire exit. There is no camera there. You turned off your phone so that the location could not be tracked down. You came home when Rahul had already left. Inayat must have been a little shocked to see you. You went to the showcase while talking, picked up the statue and hit her. When Inayat fell down, you hit her again and again. Then you ransacked the place and took the money out of the cupboard so we would think that the murder was a result of a burglary.

“You forgot to tell Radha that you were going to the office in the morning. So, she reached your house to pick you up. But then, no one opened the door because you had left after killing Inayat. She called your cell, but you had switched it off. And you weren't in the office cabin. No one usually comes near your cabin because it is a little out of the way. And even if someone had gone there, they would have heard the sound from your laptop speaker where the call was going on.

"When you came home in the evening, you went straight to Joshi to get the keys because you knew she was already dead. Then you cleverly engaged Joshi in talking and opened the door in front of him. You got yourself a witness.

"But when you went back to the office after committing the murder, you came up the stairs of the fire exit again so that you wouldn’t be visible to the CCTV. But you had to use your office card to get into your floor. Whenever you use a card in the office, the details get recorded on a computer. I came to your office today and got all the details from your security team. There’s a record on the system that you came in through the door of the fire exit at 1.55 in the afternoon. Am I missing something?" Karan stopped.

"No. Everything's right. I told her many times not to talk to Rahul. We started fighting because of that. She said she doesn't talk to him. But I knew she was hiding it. I began to get angrier with time.

"On Sunday night, when she sent Rahul our address, I lost it completely and decided to finish her off. I had not said anything to Inayat about leaving late the next day, so she had called Rahul at ten o'clock. I left home as usual. After that everything happened as you said. I killed her." Ashish stopped.

Marathe took Ashish into custody and started the police formalities. We came home and I went to work. On my way to the office that night, I was thinking - Ashish and Inayat were in love with each other. Why was there no trust? How can love exist without trust? Even if she had been in love with Rahul, why should she be punished for it? And who gave Ashish the right to do it?

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