Arijit leafed carefully leafed through a mental checklist; one more time. It was his only chance. He couldn’t afford to blow it.
A Maruti Alto (ridiculously fancy cars like those shown in the movies are seldom ever actually used by those whose chief sources of income lie beyond taxability), stood waiting outside the Ahmedabad airport, with another Arijit accomplice at the wheel. It was the car Krishnan expected to be waiting for him. That morning, the real driver (a silly character of 40 something – of little consequence to Arijit and lesser consequence to Krishnan) had been coerced to surrender his cell phone and other instruments that aided establishment of personal contact & identity, paid off handsomely and allowed to walk away. Later in the day, he had been unfortunately run over by a speeding truck.
The second automobile, a Scorpio, stood right next to it. It is human instinct to watch out for safe distances; the utterly proximal is the best concealed. The Scorpio was unoccupied. It did, however, contain two perfectly silent specimens of 9MMs.
Two more men waited at the Exit – armed and holding placards with arbitrary names on them.
Arijit, himself, was stationed twelve miles away, on a hastily constructed and rarely used brick road just off a lonely stretch of the highway connecting Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. He had walked some three miles to the spot from where the state transport bus had dropped him off. A car would have been too conspicuous.
‘My God! Thirty billion dollars! He must have swindled half the world’s population to bankruptcy!’
‘Poor fellow, all this effort to get blackmailed out of the money anyway!’
The data took forty five seconds to copy onto the CD.
In the meanwhile, the other two (the ones on the flight) would make a detour of the area and lookout for signs of unexpected aid for Krishan. That established, they would follow the Alto in the Scorpio, again, keeping a lookout for unwarranted encounters.
Arijit had long looked forward to this encounter with Krishnan. A few pleasantries – a few more questions – the CD – and then a few shots from the 9MM.
‘We are rich, Krishnan! Filthy rich!’
He never saw the steel rod which thudded into the back of his skull.
‘No, I am.’
The stewardess handed him a lozenge which he promptly popped into his mouth. Presently, the seatbelt sign turned off and he got up to, presumably, take a leak. He spotted the two men, trying their best to not throw sidelong glances at him, seated three rows behind and across him. Having spent a couple of minutes inside the loo, he returned to his seat and did not budge for the remainder of the flight time.
At the end of three years, Krishnan was richer by nine billion dollars and counting.
Krishnan had received his first tip-off three days earlier. An anonymous caller, who wished to remain that way, had informed him of the impending danger, promising further details on payment of a certain sum. The payment had been made and further details duly received.
The anonymous caller had been identified without any significant effort. It was found that the man could be put to further use; after much threatening and negotiating, he found himself on the Mumbai – Ahmedabad flight, three rows back and across Krishnan, sitting next to a man who thought him to be an accomplice and whom he would have to kill soon after they’d landed.
Five of Krishnan’s men lay in wait outside the Ahmedabad airport.
Krishnan had debated whether he should carry the CD on him; never yet had he let the thing out of sight. He knew the perils of carrying it on this occasion, but had eventually decided to carry it anyway. He was confident of his arrangements and mistrustful of any form of safekeeping other than his own person.