Avinash was sitting on the couch in the balcony of his flat on the top floor, located in Andheri. Holding his glass of Jack, he kept smoking his cigarette. Everything around was dead silent. It was the darkest hour before the dawn.
What happened today was all floating in front of Avinash’s eyes. It still kept goosebumps fresh and never-ending rush of adrenaline. A bullet just missed him, an inch away from his temple. For a second he felt he was shot. Avinash gulped down the peg in just one go. Jack passed through his throat smoothly but gave a terrific burning sensation in his gut. Two terrorists were shot down today without any casualties. Lucky enough that media was kept out of reach so it didn’t sound panic in the city.
Why those terrorists were in the city and what was their target was yet not known but it was something nasty they had planned, way beyond the city could have comprehended. A load of ammunition and RDX recovered from their belongings was more than enough to blow off the high-rise buildings. But what was their plan? Which place can it be? Questions kept tormenting Avinash’s mind.
It was a lucky day for Mumbai police that an informer tipped off about two suspicious people in the Chembur. An immediate follow up of the tip by Chembur police with Inspector Avinash Avasti, as the leading cop, did save something worse, that city would have faced. By the time police cornered the terrorist they had already unlocked their weapons and started firing. Quick in action, Avinash shot down both the terrorist but a bullet passed close to Avinash’s temple.
A thorough search of their luggage stunned the Avinash. He quickly informed his senior, Mr. Neeraj Gajjar, A.C.P of crime branch and Mr. Govind Patil, the head of ATS, about the incident. A team of ATS detained the material and kept the media tightly shut as it was a matter of national security. Any leak in information could bring the potential breach in the security of the country.
The case was now handled by ATS but Avinash could not resist himself for digging more about these two terrorists. Avinash was B.Tech in computers. His interest was always in cyber intelligence of the defense sector but could not make it and finally ended up as being Inspector in Mumbai police, crime branch.
Avinash managed to get the encrypted data copied from the laptop that was recovered from terrorist luggage in his hard disk before it has been taken by ATS. He was trying to decrypt it to figure it out what these terrorists were up to in Mumbai.
For the whole evening, Avinash stayed in his office and worked on the data but couldn’t figure out much. From whatever he found, it was for sure that something really nasty and big was planned by these terrorists and they were not alone. Two more were there.
“Who else could be with them.” Avinash frowned at the screen and asked himself.
It was clear for sure that two other terrorists are also present in Mumbai. Preferably the masterminds of the plot or the handlers.
“Is everything ok dear?” Avni asked as Avinash was lost in his thoughts.
Avni and Avinash were married happily 3 years back with no kids. Avni was working as Assistant Manager in a private bank.
“Ya, all good hon. Was just preoccupied with work so kind of bit tired.” Avinash replied stabbing his half-done cigarette. As a nature of Avinash, he never discussed his work with Avni. Avni never asked and never minded it.
Avni poured Jack for herself and for Avinash and sat next to him. She didn’t bother Avinash by asking anything more. She knew that he is going through some mental turmoil.
“Avi, tomorrow my brother is coming to Mumbai. I will go directly from the bank to receive him.” Avni said sipping her drink. Avni had a younger brother, Sumit. Sumit was dealing in import-export business and often use to travel to nearby regions of India. Dubai was though, the main hub for him.
“Ya fine and tell him to stay for a few days with us. It’s been long I have met him. He hardly met me twice and that too for a couple of hours only. This time we will spend some quality time together.” Avinash said sipping his Jack.
“Ya, that will be fun. At least you both will come to know each other, in the more better way.” Avni said delightedly.
Finally, Avinash was drifted from his thoughts. Avni kissed her good morning and went back to sleep. Avinash finished his Jack and checked time. It was almost 5 a.m.
Avinash skipped the sleep and went for his morning routine, to the tennis court. Though he was sleep deprived his mind was fresh enough. He just practiced his game and kept thinking about yesterday’s event. He went to his police station quite early and stayed in his office that day, digging more from the data on the hard disk.
With his computer skills, he decrypted the data more and found out that, the plot of terrorists was to attack Mumbai University in Santa Cruz East. Avinash found the blueprints of the University and various other details about the location. What he couldn’t still figure out was the date. He contacted the Cyber department of ATS. A sub-inspector, Ranjit Nagre, in this department was a very close friend and batch mate of the Avinash back in college.
Avinash immediately dialled Ranjit’s cell and shared the details. Ranjit too was shocked on hearing what Avinash just said.
“Are you sure?” Ranjit asked.
“Yup. I am pretty sure. I have actually taken back up of the laptop recovered from terrorist yesterday and was trying to decrypt the data. I figure out a few things which reveal these details.” Avinash replied lighting his cigarette.
“Then let’s keep it between us. Send me a copy of the data. I too will try to get into it. And will keep you informed about any development that occurs here.” Ranjit said in a very low tone as he walked out of the department.
Avinash ended the call and called up his most trustworthy informer to the nearby tea shop.
“I want every detail of these two bastards and who else is there with them.”Avinash saying so whats app the pics of two killed terrorists to his informer.
“Ho Saheeb, Kaam ho jayega. Teen din me inki kundali me nikaal ke deta aapko.” The informer said, watching the pic of terrorists in his cell phone. Avinash gave two thousand rupees note to the informer and drove back to his police station.
Avinash asked Bhosle, sub-inspectors of his police station, to handle the rest of the cases for a time being. Avinash kept working on the data for the whole day. By the evening he could not believe what he had found.
Terrorists have planned the serial blast. The target locations were Mumbai University, CST, Bandra Kurla complex and Leopold cafe. Whatever that was needed for making the bomb was supposed to be provided to them by their contact in Mumbai. The terrorist had to bring only the RDX and ammunition for their weapons with them and then they will be guided here to make the bomb by their source in Mumbai.
“Avni’s bank is in Bandra Kurla Complex. FUCK.” Avinash face turned pale white with terror.
“But when you fuckers have planned to do it?” Avinash murmured to himself with a clenched fist.
It was late evening when he took the break from his work. He checked his cell phone which had many miss calls. He ignored rest and dialled Avni who tried to reach him more than a couple of times.
“Hey! I am sorry darling, was busy in a meeting, so couldn’t answer your calls.” Avinash lighting his cigarette said to Avni.
“I thought so and that’s why didn’t bug you again. I called to inform you that Sumit and I are at home and waiting for you.” Avni said.
“Ah! I am so dumb. It completely went out of my mind that Sumit is here. Let’s do one thing, we will go out for dinner. You and Sumit decide the Venue and message me. I will join you guys there.” Avinash said clenching his forehead.
“Ya fine. But don’t keep us waiting for long dear.” Avni ended the call.
“You still have an hour to finish your work.” She turned to look at Sumit and spoke. Sumit smiled and walked back to the room closing the door behind it. Avni logged in to her laptop and got busy with her own work.
After an hour later, Avni and Sumit left for one of the best restaurants in the city. On the way, Avni sent the location of venue to Avinash.
Ranjit called Avinash and asked him to meet. They meet when Avinash was on his way to the hotel, where Avni and Sumit were waiting for him over dinner.
“Your suspicions were confirmed today by vigilance department. Terrorists have planned not only the serial blast but it’s more of a FIDAYEEN attack.” Ranjit paused to catch his breath and added.
“A report from the IB just came half an hour back.”
“WHAT THE FUCK…” Avinash could not believe what Ranjit just said. Chills ran down his spine.
“What else you found out?” Avinash asked cracking his knuckles.
“They have their mastermind in Mumbai and that person will assist them. How the assistance will be provided is yet not known, but vigilance people are expecting it through the internet. No idea of if they gonna have meeting face to face or not.” Ranjit poured more details in.
“I have asked my most trustworthy informer to dig in more about the two terrorists that were shot dead. Let’s see what pops out from his information.” Avinash said lighting his smoke.
“Keep digging Ranjit. Avni’s bank is also in Bandra Kurla Complex.” Avinash stepped into his car and took another long drag before tossing away his half-done smoke. Avinash disappeared in a cloud of dust as he was already late for the dinner. Not a good sign to keep the wife’s brother waiting long for dinner.
“Hey guys, sorry, traffic sometimes get on my nerves.” Avinash made an excuse.
“That’s fine darling. I and Sumit had old family time together.” Avni winked at Sumit.
“So Sumit how’s your business going on?” Avinash asked as he ordered his Jack.
“Ah! It’s going well. Had lots of new clients in Dubai and South Africa, it’s kind of keeping me busy day and night.” Sumit sipped his drink and replied.
“And what about getting married and settling down?” Avinash asked.
“That’s what I was asking too.” Avni to get in line with Avinash.
“I am still busy in establishing the business. Not in hurry to get married.” Sumit gulped down his drink in one go and replied. They ordered their dinner and got busy with family and social talks. Sumit’s cell buzzed and he excused himself to take the call.
“You fine honey?” Avni asked sensing Avinash was struggling hard to act cool.
“Ya, I’m fine dear. Just working on the case, so kind of bit occupied.” Avinash gave a lopsided smile and gulped some more Jack. Sumit returned back after few mins.
“All good?” Avni asked.
“Yup just got a meeting after dinner.” Sumit kept it short. They finished the dinner and Sumit left for the meeting.
“I might be late at night.” Sumit replied as he took the cab.
“No worries, I will probably be awake. Need to make a presentation for tomorrow’s meeting.” Avni replied.
Avinash went for a shower to freshen up while Avni got busy with her laptop. Avinash changed into his night suit and lighting his smoke, sat in the balcony. He checked his cell for any new updates from anywhere. He kept thinking of the help the terrorist were gonna get in Mumbai.
“Who is this mastermind? And how capable is he?” Avinash kept thinking about it. His cell phone screen flashed. He immediately checked it. It was text from the informer.
“Sirji call me. It’s urgent.”
“Bol, kuch mila?” Avinash immediately called him and asked.
“Sirji, phone pe nai bata sakta, milna padega abhi, adhe ghante me.” Informer replied and ended the call. The other text popped up and it was about the secluded place where the informer asked to meet Avinash.
Avinash changed into his denim and rushed out. Avni didn’t ask him where he was going. After all, he is a cop and he is on duty 24 by 7. Avinash reached the spot before time. Avinash kept waiting for long but his informer didn’t turn up. Avinash tried to call him many times but the informer’s cell was switched off.
Frustrated Avinash kicked the wheel of the car and was about to get in his car when he heard someone calling
“Sirji……….” Avinash turned to see who was it. He spotted his informer struggling to reach him with an injured leg and bleeding head.
Avinash rushed to him and before he could get a hold on his informer a shot was fired which pierce the back of informer and he fell on the ground. Avinash tried to locate the source and ran in the dark behind the car which was following informer but in vain.
“Kon the woh log?” He hurriedly ran back to dying informer and asked.
“Parso…” The informer was hardly able to speak. He could barely say a word and went unconscious.
Avinash rushed him to the hospital immediately. He then immediately dialed Bhosle and asked him to set up tight security around the hospital. Doctors rushed informer to OT and were trying their best to save him. The bullets were pulled out but the condition of the informer was very critical. Doctors informed Avinash that it will take 24hr for him to get conscious.
Avinash called Ranjit but the call went unanswered. Avinash then went to his police station and kept digging more from the data. Ranjit called back Avinash and informed that two main staff members working on the laptop and other gadgets of the terrorist went missing late in the evening.
“Where are you Ranjit?” Asked Avinash.
“I was in the department and left for home a few mins back and I have a tail on me too.” Ranjit replied watching in his rare mirror of a car to check if the tail is still there.
“Don’t go home Ranjit. Come to my police station right now. It will be safer for you.” Avinash walked out to the parking lot and advised Ranjit.
“I am here only. Let those mother fuckers follow you till here and then they will see whom they are dealing with. Drive as fast as you can.” Avinash saying so ended the call and ordered his staff to set up the perimeter around so that they can catch those people who were following Ranjit.
After ten minutes Ranjit called again and said that he is about to reach but the tail is dropped, the moment he took the direction to Chembur police station. Avinash asked him to reach as soon as he can.
Once Ranjit reached the police station, Avinash asked the staff to fall back but to stay alert and check thoroughly for any suspicious vehicle or person passing by the police station.
Ranjit was visibly terrified. With trembling fingers, he gulped down the water and breathed the sigh of relief. Avinash informed Ranjit about his informer.
“These bastards are knowing who all are working on this case and who can be the potential threat to their plan.” Ranjit said as he banged the glass of water.
“Yup and they are frustrated also as their two, main people who were supposed to execute out the attack are dead now.” Avinash replied lighting another cigarette.
“What now Avinash?” Ranjit asked lighting his bidi.
“I am waiting for my informer to get well soon so that I can talk to him. At least, he can help us in getting sketches of those who attacked him.” Avinash replied taking a long drag of his cigarette.
Ranjit and Avinash stayed in Avinash office and kept digging more information from the data. Both of them lost the count of hours they had been working.
Meanwhile, Avinash got the call from the hospital. Something was not good, he rushed with Ranjit to the hospital. Doctors informed that someone breached the security and came dressed in hospital staff and tried to kill the informer. His condition is no good and not much of the time is left with the informer. But somehow he was out of the coma.
Avinash rushed to him and tried to talk to him, but all in vain. Assassin tried to kill him by chocking his windpipe. Avinash couldn’t let his anger stay within the bounds. He walked out with Ranjit, once outside the building they lit their smokes and took a long drag, much-needed shot of nicotine for their brains.
Something struck Avinash’s mind as he released the cloud of smoke. He immediately called up A.C.P Neeraj Jadvani and shared the whole scenario.
“It seems these people still have their backup plan and they are now desperate to execute their plan anyhow.” Neeraj said twitching his lips and stared the ceiling in disgust
“Yes sir, and that’s why I request you to set up plain-clothes police officers near my and Ranjit’s home.” Avinash said stabbing his half-done cigarette.
“As you say Avinash. And take all precautions you can. Keep me in the loop, in case an emergency pops up.” Neeraj ended the call. He immediately arranged the plain cloth officers with strict instruction for guarding Avinash and Ranjit’s home.
Avinash still wanted to carry on with the work but his body was drained. He dropped Ranjit back to his home drove back to his flat. Avni was sitting and talking with her brother who had come some time back.
“There you are.” Avni spoke as Avinash opened the door with his keys.
“You cops are working day and night.” Sumit said leaning back in the sofa.
“City sometimes behave like nerds.” Avinash sighed and slumped on the couch.
Ranjit at his place kept himself busy in digging more from the data that Avinash had given him. It was clear from whatever they could decrypt is that terrorist has planned the fedayeen attack and not just serial blast. It’s gonna be fucking hard to stop if they won’t uncover who those bastards are.
It was 4 a.m. when Avinash cell buzzed, not a good news to have a call at such unearthly hours.
“Avinash, reach the ATS in half an hour.” Neeraj spoke in a stern voice. Ranjit reported the discovery to Mr. Patil and sequence of calls started ringing in the homes of Mumbai police.
A brief meeting about whatever was discovered was discussed by Patil and he asked Avinash and Ranjit to be the part of the team. Avinash shared the information regarding the case. A squad of ATS undercover was dispatched to keep the eye on those locations after two hours.
Avinash returned back home in the early morning to have a shower and to go to the hospital. His informer still has something important information to share. Doctors were trying hard to keep him conscious till the Avinash arrived. The injury on his windpipes rendered his speech. He saw Avinash with half-opened eyes and gestured for the paper and pen.
“Shezaan is the name of the handler and he is in Mumbai.” He then tried to draw the sketch but nothing could be predicted from it.
Brief information of how he looks was jolted down by the informer before losing the battle against the death. Avinash clenched his fist in anger as he lost one of his best informers. He arranged for the cremation and called Ranjit to dig about any person named Shezaan
“He is the mother fucker who is the handler of this operation. I am on my way to ATS to brief up our seniors, meanwhile, try to dig as much as you can.” Avinash gave the details of the appearance of Shezaan to Ranjit and drove straight to the ATS.
After spending half of the day in the meeting, something struck to the Avinash. Something that his informer told went completely out of his mind.
“Sir, they are planning it tomorrow.” Avinash recalled the word PARSO… And one day has already passed.
“That means we are left with half a day to crack these bastards out of their rat holes.” Mr. Patil frowned looking at that sketch which was worked upon by the sketch artist. He tried to make the best possible sketches from the available description. He immediately printed them, four of best possible.
“Who are you Shezaan…” Neeraj frowned at one of the sketches as he took in his hand. Avinash too picked another, he was trying to correlate it with something on his mind.
Avinash tightly closed his eyes to get the resemblance of the sketch. He has seen this person somewhere, for sure he has. As the sketch overlapped the images that played on his mind, his eyes wide open with terror.
“I know who is this Shezaan…” He still could not believe it. He immediately pulled out his cell and dialed Avni. Avni received just at the moment when the call was about to get over.
“Avni, where is Sumit?” Avni was leaving from the office early today as she answered the call.
“He said he had some important clients meeting him today. He left early after you left in the morning.” Avni replied and then asked.
“What happened? You sounding very tensed.” Avni sensed it from Avinash’s voice.
“Nothing, where are you?” Avinash was trying to calm his nerves.
“I’m leaving for home, was not feeling good so thought to take the day off and rest at home.” Avni replied as she walked out of the building.
“If Sumit comes home, just give me a call and don’t tell him anything.” Avinash instructed. An unknown fear has started sending chills down his spines.
“But what happened? And why are you asking about Sumit?” Avni was perplexed.
“Just do as I say.” Avinash ended the call and lit a smoke for him. He took a long drag and blew the streak of smoke when Neeraj kept a hand on his shoulder.
“Are you sure this is him?” Neeraj asked softly.
“Only God knows, how desperately I don’t want it to be him.” Avinash sighed. He had never thought in his wildest nightmare that his brother in law would be a terrorist.
Avinash stabbed his half-done smoke and asked Ranjit to get the last location of the Sumit’s cell number. In no time, Cyber department along with Ranjit triangulated the location of Sumit, he was near the Avinash flat. Beads of sweat started lining up the forehead of the Avinash. Patil immediately got on the hotline and informed the ground squad to set the perimeter around the Avinash house and they rushed to the location.
All the while, Avinash mind kept racing with the thoughts about Sumit and Avni. He could not imagine what Avni will feel when she’ll come to know about her brother.
By the time they reach, Avinash dialed Sumit’s number but his cell was switched off now. Fucking luck was not on Avinash’s side today. The area was cordoned by the ATS squad. Avinash didn’t wait for the instructions and rushed with his GLOCK. He even didn’t wait for the lift and took the stairs. By the time he reached his flat, the door was open and Avni was standing in front of him with tears in his eyes. She was wearing the bomb and her wrists were tightly held back by Sumit.
“Stand freeze where you are, Avinash. I won’t mind shooting her.” Sumit had taken cover behind Avni with his BERETTA. Avinash froze on seeing Avni wearing the jacket with 4 blocks of C4 explosive loaded on it.
“Now slowly keep your gun down and kick it towards me.” Avinash slowly bent down and kept his gun on the ground and slowly kicked it to reach the feet of Avni. Sumit in quick swap kicked the gun which went under the sofa. Avinash could not stop cursing himself as he could not see his gun.
“Now slowly lift your hands up and keep it behind your head and turned around.” Sumit instructed and pushed Avni a bit ahead. Avinash saw that ATS has covered the corridor, he breathed a sigh of relief but not for a long.
Before he could say anything to Sumit, a shot was fired that echoed in the house. Avinash eyes stayed wide open, he couldn’t dare to turn around to see the lifeless corpse of Avni. Tears started rolling down his eyes as ATS people stepped inside from the balcony in the hall.
“Are you ok Ma’am?” Neeraj rushed inside supporting Avni who was still wearing the C4 on her body. Avinash could not believe what he just heard. He turned around to see Sumit lying in the pool of blood, he was shot right in his temple from the balcony.
All of sudden Avinash started feeling hard to stand the ground. He could not believe that Avni was alive. He wiped his tears and was about to walk to the Avni when…
Avni snatched the gun from the hands of Neeraj and took him as a hostage. Everyone was aghast on looking at Avni who was holding Neeraj at the gunpoint.
“You were looking for Shezaan, it’s not Shezaan it’s Shehnaaz and that’s me.” Avinash could not take the shock. He walked to Avni when she fired a shot. Avinash fell on the ground, the bullet grazed through his collarbone.
“Don’t make any silly move Avi. I won’t hesitate in shooting you right between your eyebrows.” The rage of hatred in Avni’s eyes was more than enough to tell everyone that she won’t really hesitate.
“Everyone, back off.” Avni ordered to the ATS.
Everyone was outside the house now, with Avinash still lying on the floor at the doorstep. His eyes had tears cause the person he loved the most in life is the one he hated most.
“You killed my men, you ruined my plan but that will not stop us from doing what we have planned to. I will succeed at any cost.” Avni reached near the Avinash and spoke.
As Avni took her eyes off the Avinash and looked at the cops in the corridor and gestured them to gather in one corner, another shot was fired. The smoke was arising from the Smith and Wesson in the hand of Avinash. He always kept his personal revolver strapped at his ankle.
Avni fell on the ground and Avinash rushed to her to see if she was still alive. The shot has blown out goo from her head…
An ambulance arrived and the bodies were taken to the hospital along with Avinash. He was still in the shock lying on the bed of the hospital. Patil and Neeraj followed by Ranjit visited him.
“She was the member of one of the leading terrorist organization. We discovered everything after searching your flat and her office and her personal laptop too.” Neeraj sighed revealing the shocking news to Avinash who was already numb now.
“You did a great job.” Patil sympathized Avinash and they left him alone…