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Chapter 1

‘Many happy returns of your birthday, Lavanya’, said Gayathri.

‘Thank you so much, every one of you, my dear friends, for your warm wishes.’

Anita asked, ‘You are turning 23, isn’t it? You have good necklace by the way.’

Yes, I am 23, now, on 26 Jan, 2004’

This place is with lawn. It looks good to dine and celebrate. You are lucky that you have a place like this beside your house’, said Varsha.

‘Lavanya dear come over here for cutting the cake.’

‘I am coming in a minute mom.’

‘Hey let us go. Many people are waiting for us.’

Lavanya came to the table where the cake was kept. As she cut the cake, people began singing the Happy Birthday song in chorus. After the cake cutting was over people had dinner for about two hours. By 10pm there wasn’t anyone except Lavanya and her parents. All the three of them sat on the chairs arranged in a circle. All of a sudden, Lavanya’s mother said frantically, ‘Honey, where is your necklace?’

Lavanya touched in the middle of the chest to check for her necklace but could not feel it. ‘I don’t know mom.’

Her dad asked, ‘Did you take it out?’

‘No dad, I didn’t even touch it. I have no idea how it is gone.’

‘I will take care of it. I am going to talk about this to the commissioner.’

‘That is okay, dad.’

The next morning, Lavanya’s dad dialled a number on his Motorola RAZR V3 mobile and asked, ‘Can I have a word with the commissioner of police, Visakhapatnam?’

The voice on the phone said, ‘Please be on line while we connect you to him.’

‘Yeah, sure I will wait.’

After a while, the commissioner spoke, ‘Hello, Arun how are you?’

I am fine, commissioner, Sir. I need to speak to you regarding the necklace of my daughter which is currently missing. She wore it to the party in yesterday night. We discovered that it was missing after the party was over. My daughter didn’t realise until she was asked by my wife.’

‘I will be sending you a guy. He is an expert in catching criminals. His name is Vikram Paritla. He will come to your home by today afternoon. Show him your house and around.

In the afternoon, Vikram came to the house and was received by Arun. Vikram said, ‘Please let me check your house and its surroundings. I will try and recreate the time and scene of robbery. Can I have a word with your daughter?’

‘Lavanya come over here.’

After Lavanya came to the living room, Vikram asked, ‘Yes Miss Lavanya, When did you notice that your necklace was missing?’

‘Around 10pm, in yesterday’s night.’

‘Did you notice anyone who wasn’t familiar? Did anything strange happen yesterday? Take your own time and try to remember.’

Lavanya closed her eyes and her eyeballs started moving under her eyelids. After a while, she said, ‘I didn’t notice anything unfamiliar yesterday.’

‘I will carry out my search around your house, Mr. Arun. Let me see if I find something.’

Vikram searched in the lawn thoroughly. He went outside and went around the perimeter wall of the house. He didn’t find almost anything until he reached close to the starting point where he noticed a steel drum and a shoe print on the top lid. He thought, ‘This guy climbed over this to get over the wall.’

He then went to the gatekeeper and asked, ‘Could I see the exit security footage?’

The gatekeeper loaded the footage and played it. After an hour and a half of footage’s length, Vikram said, ‘Please stop it over here.’

Vikram dialled to Arun and asked, ‘Can you come over here, Sir?’

After Arun came to the gatekeeper’s room, he asked, ‘Did you find a clue?’

He pointed the finger to the computer screen and asked, ‘Do you know this guy?’

Arun looked at the screen and said, ‘I don’t know this guy. I have never seen him until now.’

‘Are you sure that you didn’t notice him yesterday?’

‘I am sure about it.’

‘Give me a printout of this guy and copy of this footage.’

After half an hour, Vikram got the printout and footage copy. He then dialled in his mobile and said, ‘Sir, we found him by the footage. I have the printout for the wanted posters. I am coming to meet you in an hour.’

That is good enough. Can I have a word with Arun?’

The commissioner wants to have a word with you, Sir.

‘The footage made it possible to get the evidence. If we get him, we get the necklace.’

Vikram left the house and went to the commissioner. He got the wanted posters prepared and sent it to every police station in Vizag.

Chapter 2

‘Sir, it has been six months and we haven’t seen the culprit. My guess is he is not in the city. The other three robberies of a diamond ring, platinum chain and emerald necklace are also supposedly stolen by him since we don’t have footage evidence.’

We are thinking of closing the case, Vikram. I do agree with you, but do you have a better idea?’

We should search outside this city. The possible places are Vijayawada, Hyderabad, Chennai, Khammam, Kolkata, and Bhubaneshwar in the top priority. Shall I go, Sir?’

‘Okay, go and search, but you should be back in a month. We already have a complaint from the Apple and other Companies about the smuggling of laptops and computer accessories. Twenty to Twenty five laptops are being smuggled every month out of hundred. They are worried and are willing to withdraw the company’s branches from our country if need be. We need to stop the smuggling before it is too late. Gear up for the case in a month.’

‘I will gear up for the case, Sir. I am leaving tomorrow.’

Vikram searched in Vijayawada, Chennai, Khammam, Kolkata and Bhubaneshwar but to no avail. He then went to Hyderabad and searched there. He lost hope about finding the culprit. One day, he was talking a walk along the main road when he all of a sudden saw the culprit. He took a sprint near to the culprit, who saw him and started running. The chase gradually went away from the main road and the noise became lesser and lesser. They both got tired but were away by 3 yards. The culprit, panting, said, ‘Hey catch me if you can before I cross the railway crossing. If not, you will have to leave me.’

The culprit raced towards the crossing and crossed the closed first gate. He ran ahead and crossed the second gate which was also closed. While Vikram was thinking of crossing the gate, the train came on the track with full speed. He was now convinced that the culprit would never be found. After the train left, he saw the culprit standing across the gate. They then met each other.

Vikram asked, ‘Why did you steal? You could have done something better than that.’

What I can do? I failed in entrance tests miserably. My dad wasn’t willing to let me study because he got vexed. My mother is not alive to stop my dad. I learnt to make drones with the money my dad gave to me, but I couldn’t sell them. Ten months ago my dad left this world and I became homeless after a month from then. I tried a lot to convince people to buy, but they wouldn’t listen. It is then that I planned all of these to get food to eat. I use the drones to have an aerial view of the house. The first one made me very nervous but now I am cool. Do you want the things that I have robbed? I have three of them with me except one. I sold the diamond for fifty lakhs. Here are the diamond ring, platinum chain and emerald necklace. My name is Krishna, by the way.’

Vikram got surprised upon hearing all of this.

Vikram and Krishna left for Vizag in a bus. After reaching Vizag, Vikram took Krishna along with him to Commissioner Office.

‘Who is this guy?’

Sir, this guy is Krishna. He is an expert in software. He made miniature drones and operated them successfully. Unfortunately he is the one behind those four thefts. He has given me the diamond ring, platinum chain and emerald necklace and we can return them to their respective owners.’

‘I can’t believe what you just said. How can you say this to me with such a cool expression?’

I understand, Sir. No pain, no gain. Is there a way we can help him?’

All right, fine. Explain him everything. I will see what I can do. His posters are being removed by tomorrow anyways. He should give an undertaking that he will never return to his former activities, ever again.’

‘Thank you Sir. We will take leave.’

Vikram and Krishna reached to the former’s house. Vikram said, ‘you wait here while I give the ornaments to the respective owners.’

Krishna freshened up and sat on a chair. After an hour, Vikram returned. He then started explaining to Krishna, ‘Look there are things which come from abroad to our country. A few of them are computer parts, hard disks, rams, CDs, DVDs and of course laptops by ship, airways or land. They are stolen by people called smugglers before they reach the port. We tried locating them but in vain. The products come from different companies like Apple, Dell, IBM, HCL, HP, etc. Apple is the company which is losing out a lot. Then send about 300 laptops of 20000 INR each and 50 laptops of 70000 INR each. About twenty five to fifty laptops are stolen. Apple is thinking of withdrawing its branches in India. We need to stop them now. What do you think?’

‘Give me a day’s time.’

‘All right, think about it and let me know when you are ready.’

The next morning, Krishna was waiting for Vikram to wake up as he got up early. After the duo freshened up, they sat for discussion.

Krishna started to say, ‘The Apple has a factory in Prague Czech Republic, beside Vltava river, which is the closest to India. Get me SIM cards, in fact plenty of them. I am going there. You can come along, if you wish.’

Vikram said, ‘You wait here while I get the passports and Visa.’

Vikram went from the house and came in the evening and said, ‘We are leaving in ten days.’

Ten days later, the duo left by flight to Prague and after reaching there, Krishna said, ‘We need to take a hotel which is near to the factory.’

They then took a room in a hotel. After a while, they left for the factory. The guard was there walking around with a stick in his hand.

Vikram went to the guard and asked, ‘Can I take a look at the new laptops in here? I am thinking of buying them.’

The guard asked, ‘Can I see your ID?’

After checking the IDs, the guard let them go. They were assisted by a worker, who asked, ‘Where are you from?’

We are from Mumbai.’

We are going to Box number 52. The laptops boxes are not yet sealed. You have an hour at maximum left to check the laptops. Please come fast and don’t put my job at stake.’

The worker locked the door from the outside. Vikram opened the batteries up while Krishna stuck the implant to the battery. Within forty five minutes all the fifty implants were stuck. They heard the door knock as they are setting everything in its place. As the door opened, the guard rushed in to find everything in its place. He angrily said, ‘Hey I need to check you people.’

After checking them the guard was satisfied that they didn’t steal anything and let them go.

After getting back in the room, Vikram asked Krishna, ‘I didn’t really understand how this is going to work.’

Each implant has a SIM card in it. It works by drawing current from the battery of the laptop. You have the numbers of them. You don’t need anything more I guess. Let us go back now. The laptops are going to come in fifteen days.’

The duo returned to India. On the thirteenth day, they hired a man who tracks cell phone signals, to the Commissioner office. The DGP of AP was waiting there along with the commissioner.

DGP asked, ‘Now that you have stuck them, what is the plan?’

Sir, we would know in a short span of time where the laptops are going. We need to get ready. All the units need to be assembled in Mumbai, where the laptops are going to be received at the port. We would proceed further as and when required. We need to leave, now.’

Vikram and his team along with Krishna left for Mumbai.

On the fifteenth day, the receiver attached to the tracking computer beeped. They are onto the land with the laptops’, said the tracking specialist, Sanjay.

‘Keep tracking them’, said Vikram.

After an hour, Sanjay said, ‘They have split into three groups. Group A is proceeding towards north, Group B towards East and Group C towards South of Mumbai.

After twelve hours, Vikram assembled his teams and gave directions, ‘Team A is to proceed 638 kilometres north of Mumbai. Team B is to proceed 701 kilometres east of Mumbai. Team C is to proceed 574 kilometres south of Mumbai. I and Krishna are going along with team B. You are to wait until you get a nod from me. Does anybody have doubts?’

The teams stood in silence. Vikram looking confidently at the teams said, ‘Please disperse now.’

Twelve hours later Vikram, the head of team A and head of team C got into a conference call on their respective mobiles. Vikram said, ‘All the teams should be at a distance of 1 kilometre from the target. No siren should be on. You have half an hour to be at a distance of 1 kilometre.’

After half an hour, Vikram said, ‘Team A and Team C, please specify your distances from the target.’

‘Team A is at 1 kilometre from the target.’ ‘Team C is at 1 kilometre from the target.’

Vikram in an authoritative tone says, ‘All the teams proceed towards the target now!’

The teams proceed towards their respective targets and seize the smuggled goods and arrest the smugglers. The next day, a news reporter on a television reads, ‘All the smugglers in Hyderabad, Ujjain and Panaji got arrested yesterday by the police, leaded by Vikram.’

Two days later, Vikram and Krishna reach to Vizag. In the afternoon, Vikram, while speaking to Krishna, says, ‘You have been given immunity from Indian Police. Please collect the papers from Kancherapalem police station. I am giving you this cheque, in case you need money. Please leave your habit of stealing.’

The next day, Krishna goes to the police station. He walks to the sub-inspector of the station and asks, ‘Sir, I am Krishna. I have been sent by Mr. Vikram to receive my immunity papers. Can I get them?’

The sub-inspector angrily shouts at one of his constables, ‘Hey lock him up.’

Krishna gets locked in the cell and is tortured by the sub-inspector and the constables. Vikram, realising that Krishna has taken a long time, comes to the station and sees Krishna badly beaten up.

Angered, Vikram shouts at the sub-inspector, ‘Release him, now! Or you are going to pay for this.’

I am not going to release him. He is a thief who is freed by the idiotic police department. I am not an idiot to release him. Do whatever you want.’

Vexed Vikram says in a firm tone, ‘I dare you to maintain the same expression for five minutes. Let us see who is going to win.’

After five minutes, the sub-inspector gets a call which changes his expression. He opens the gate angrily and kicks Krishna out of the cell and says, ‘Lord! It is a miracle. The thieves are getting freed nowadays. Honest people like me are always pushed down.’

After getting out of the station, Vikram explains, ‘His name is Vishan. He is the most corrupt officer in Andhra Pradesh but there is no evidence to prove it.’

They reached Vikram’s home by the evening. The next morning Vikram wakes up to find Krishna missing.

Three days later, the news reporter of a news channel reads, ‘The most corrupt cop of Andhra Pradesh, Vishan, is arrested and evidence was found in Karimnagar. He is being interrogated and is in sub-jail currently.’

The next day after Vishan’s arrest, ‘Vikram gets a letter from an address in Mumbai which reads, ‘My dear friend, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the immunity and money and especially for the care you and your department have taken for me. When I met you, I thought that I would be in jail, that’s the reason I ran away. It still gives me laughs when I ponder over it. I am thinking of starting a private detective agency. Please don’t worry about Vishan as I did it in a fit of rage. If you are in need of my help, don’t ever hesitate to ask.

Yours Truly

Krishna.’

Vikram chuckled after reading the letter.

PRE-DESTINY ERA 1


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