21st October 2:30 PM
Mayur stood beside the Jeep along with Prakash, Hemanth, and a constable. He was eager to go to the forensic lab for DNA tests. Both Hemanth and Praful had volunteered to give their DNA samples. This made him feel contented.
Aisha approached Mayur. "I have an important function to attend. Is it okay if I go home?"
"Oh, it's all right." Mayur smiled. "I can manage with Prakash. By the way whose function is it?"
"One of my close friends is getting married."
"Oh, I see." Though Mayur also needed to go to his office to prepare the next plan of action, he was curious to meet Dr. Sunil.
Aisha bade everyone goodbye and walked out of the premises.
Mayur sat in the vehicle along with others.
Prakash started the engine and eased the Jeep out of the parking place.
A cuckoo sounded, perched on a branch of a neem tree. Out in the street, a motorcycle roared by. An ice-cream seller called out to grab the attention of a boisterous crowd of hot and sweaty children.
"We're going to Hi-Tech City first to get Praful," Mayur said. He called Praful and told him to join them at the forensics lab.
Prakash arrived at the Hi-Tech City software development center and parked his Jeep. He sent his constable to escort Praful from his office by giving him Praful's location.
Mayur stepped out of the vehicle, went towards the shade of a banyan tree, and lit a cigarette. Prakash joined him and he lit a Marlboro. They took a couple of drags in silence.
An ATM located beside the main gate reminded Mayur of a robbery case that had happened five years ago. He was working as a police officer and had accompanied two constables in a van. They carried fifty thousand rupees in cash to load an ATM in Secunderabad. The constables were inside the van and Mayur drove his Bullet motorcycle behind it.
Near an intersection, a couple of masked robbers attacked the van driver. They rendered him unconscious and opened the van doors. They shot the constables in their knees and took control of the vehicle. When Mayur took out his revolver, another masked robber hit Mayur's hand hard using a cane stick. The pistol slipped from Mayur's hand. But Mayur continued to chase the van for a couple of kilometers. He held the collar of the man behind the wheel through the window. The driver lost the control of the van and it rammed into a compound wall, injuring an elderly woman.
Mayur fought and knocked the robbers down. A crowd of people helped Mayur and his colleagues recover from the incident. He called the medical emergency team and moved the constables to a hospital. He underwent treatment for his minor injuries. He had to lie to his mother at home when she asked the reason for his bandaged forehand.
"Mayur," said Prakash, alerting him. "What are you thinking?"
"Don't worry," said Prakash. "You won't need to investigate at Bangalore once the DNA test results arrive. I'm sure it's either Praful or Hemanth who did it."
"Oh," said Mayur. "Let's hope so."
Praful arrived along with the constable. He wore a white-blue checkered shirt and navy blue pants. His square and fair face, applied with a cream, glistened in the daylight. He went and sat in the rear seat of the Jeep.
Mayur and Prakash threw the butts on the pavement and pressed them under their shoes. They all sat back in their seats. Prakash drove the Jeep ahead.
Traffic was heavy. A couple of cows and buffaloes tread on the road, disrupting the traffic flow. A red city bus honked to clear the path ahead. A few motorbikes eased through the passage and moved along. Impatient Prakash honked the horn until the animals cleared out of the way.
He entered the parking lot of the Forensics Department and parked the Jeep.
"Dr. Sunil is available," Mayur said, looking at the doctor's car. "We can discuss the case with him while we wait for Praful and Hemanth to give their DNA samples."
"How long does it take for the results of the test to arrive?" Praful asked, his voice wavering.
"It takes twenty-four hours," said Mayur. "We'll know the results by tomorrow." He waited for Hemanth to add his comments, but his silence intrigued him. Why did Hemanth behave so erratically? At times, he spoke with confidence but appeared suspicious most of the time.
Prakash led everyone inside the main hall of the laboratory. The room was spacious with a reception desk positioned in the center, facing the main door. A medium-sized Ganesha idol sat at the back of the counter. A pale-brown sandalwood garland hung around its neck and was lit with a diya at its base. The hall was well lit with a set of LED bulbs embedded within the ceiling. Two leather couches sat on the right side of the help desk.
The receptionist wore a green polka-dotted silk sari. Her lips were smeared with red lipgloss. Prakash told her the purpose of their visit and the case they have been investigating. She smiled and spoke over the intercom. After exchanging a few words, she turned to Prakash.
"I'll take them inside to collect the samples." She looked at Mayur. "You remain seated." She escorted Hemanth and Praful towards a lift.
When they went out of earshot, Mayur said, "I would like to meet Dr. Sunil."
They walked towards a passage to the right side of the lift where the doctor's room was located.
The door was ajar. Mayur knocked before peeping inside. Dr. Sunil, in his white apron and a stethoscope, hung around his neck, was busy reading a pathology book.
Mayur entered. "Hello, Doctor."
Dr. Sunil looked at Mayur. "Oh, Mr. Varma. Welcome." He rose and smiled at Prakash who followed Mayur. He waved them to seats opposite his. "How is the case progressing?" He sat back.
Mayur straightened in his seat. "It's progressing well, Doctor. We have interviewed two important suspects and have brought them here for DNA tests."