Inspector Saxena from the homicide department, a hardened and gutsy man, was himself shaken at the brutality he saw at the scene of crime. Two men lay murdered amidst pool of blood still dripping from their heads smashed repeatedly with what appeared to be a blunt instrument. The victims have been hit mercilessly all over the body from the way the limbs lay limp and askew. The jaws seem to have been broken. A search led to the discovery of a wooden log full of blood marks that had been used for the assault hidden behind shelves.
The assault seemed to have taken place in the morning around 8 am. It was a warehouse in the basement of a large building that had many offices and shops that generally opened at 10 am. The warehouse belonged to a big company dealing with branded leather goods like foot wear, boxes, gloves, apparel etc. The security at the building gate could not say who all came there being no check with many walking in and out at will. It transpired that the two were office staff from the identity card in their pockets. There were actually six staff members for the ware house. The motive for the ghastly murders was not clear. Finger and foot prints were taken and minute examination of the entire warehouse was done. The wooden log used was wiped clean. But the dusty floor in the room where the men were assaulted yielded a rich harvest for foot prints.
The post mortem medical reports clearly indicated that the blows were so heavy that only a strong well built man could have inflicted with such intensity.
Saxena had the calls from the mobile phones that were left carelessly in the victims’ pockets by the assailant were gone through. There were two calls from a public booth asking the victims to reach the warehouse by 730 am for an expose. The victims were from Head Office who were taking inventory of the stock for the last one week.The records of the check belonging to the victims were obviously missing taken away by the murderer(s).The natural surmise was that the inspection team should have landed on some serious wrong doing or falsification of records to hide thefts. The needle of suspicion rightly fell on the staff in the ware house.
The six were duly rounded up and brought to the police head quarters for interrogation. All of them to the disappointment of Saxena were puny or medium structured men in their fifties. Their records were clean and were found working for many years. All of them denied coming early that day or contacting the victims on phone. They were also not aware of any thefts or shortages in that big warehouse that contained innumerable boxes of varied items. They were not shifty eyed, looked straight at the inspector and there was only look of bewilderment but no fear. From his long experience, Saxena knew these were no criminals. Yet he had the prints of all the six with their shoes on taken and none of them matched with those found unless they had changed their shoes. Apart from the shoe prints of the two victims, there were prints of one extra person. If only Saxena could lay his hands on that guy, he could conclusively prove in the court that he was the murderer.
Someone who had access to the warehouse alone had called the two unsuspecting inspecting assistants and taken them inside. There were two sets of keys with one at the head office. The warehouse clerks had their set with them and had opened the warehouse that fateful morning only to find that murders had taken place. They had promptly informed the police. They had no clue how the two victims had entered the warehouse and who opened it for them and who killed them eventually. Satisfied that there was nothing prima facie to connect them with murder, he asked them to wait outside. After sometime, he called them one by one and asked them a single question. He noted down their answers in a note book and sent them away. He smiled with satisfaction that he was near the end of resolution of the puzzle.
He called the Sub Inspector and gave him some instructions. After an hour the SI came to his room and said the heavily built man was in the interrogation room and his shoe prints matched with the third print. The finger expert confirmed it saying it was made easy as he had spread some dust in the room before the man walked in as advised by Inspector.
Saxena along with SI and finger print expert entered the interrogation room. The muscular man with a long and bushy mustache sitting there had a frightened look and was pale in fear. He stood up with folded hands.
“How did you get the keys to the ware house? Why did you kill them? I want no beating about the bush. I have an iron clad case. If you tell me the truth, I can examine whether you could be helped a bit”
“Sir, I don’t know what you are talking about” A hard slap fell on his face. The man was stunned by the ferocity of the slap.
Saxena directed the SI “He won’t tell the truth. Take him to the room and give him treatment till he sings. Hang him down and beat him blue as he did to those innocent men. I want the truth out in 30 minutes. Break his legs if need be.”
“Sir, don’t beat me. I will tell the truth. I had the imprint of the keys made on soap long back when one of them who came earlier than others gave them to me and went to rest room. I had got the keys made and used to steal small quantities in the night without giving room for suspicion .Over a period the quantity stolen was huge. I heard the two stock verifiers had found out the discrepancy. I lured them to come early promising to reveal more. When they refused to take money and end the scrutiny, I killed them in anger when they threatened to expose me. I thought police will suspect the staff for no one knew I had spare keys”
“True, police would have been misled but for your left leg being slightly shorter than the right and that showed in the impression of the foot prints. The staff said you walk with a very mild slant” said Saxena as the policemen hand cuffed him and led him away.