the meeting in Mumbai…

Chapter 13

Anshuman went through the daily news updates… which was just to while away his time and drive away from the accompanying restlessness. He was seated in the meeting room of Vedshastra, and he waited for the others to arrive. Something constantly pricked at his conscience… what was it about Simrat that disturbed him…last night…? He wasn’t even curious about what she was doing in that women’s home… that was her life, maybe a part of her job at the hotel… but then something was not right. As he pondered over a cup of fresh coffee there was a commotion outside and Keshav entered the meeting room followed by the burly Amandeep and Nirvika. He couldn’t miss the beautiful couple in love holding hands and communicating with each other through their eyes. It was only when they saw him that they separated and smiled greeting him. He couldn’t help but chuckle… would he ever have that with any woman…? He didn’t believe in love at all but as the thought passed his mind there was only one image that came up before him… his mysterious doe-eyed beauty who had taken his breath away every time she had encountered him.

He stirred out of his thoughts as Keshav and Amandeep enquired about his stay and life in Goa. As they spoke there was a knock and the door opened. Anshuman was amazed to see the tall beautiful woman in a Navy blue suit jacket and trousers looking every bit professional, walk inside. She carried an air of supremacy and attitude which charged up the atmosphere in the meeting room. Anshuman didn’t need to be told She was Rewa Nagarajan. He had heard about her a little from NIrvika… she was the one who had found out about his late sister and he was grateful to her for that.

Rewa placed her laptop on the table and Amandeep quickly made the brief introductions for Anshuman’s benefit. Without wasting any more time Rewa opened her laptop and projected her presentation on the flex board behind her. “…Well as you all know this is classified information and nothing that we speak here goes out of this room… the only reason I am here is that the recent intel we have gathered is linked with Amandeep and Anshuman to some extent and we would like your inputs in the time to come… am I clear on this…?”

Anshuman looked at a grim Amandeep who had interlocked his fingers with Nirvika. Anshuman had known traces of their story… Amandeep was an army major who had been badly injured in a sabotage attack on his battalion a decade ago… almost the same time his sister had met with her watery grave. Amandeep was an amputee who had faced all odds and battled his demons. Nirvika had stood by him as he had cruised through the plot laid by the enemy and had emerged victorious. Amandeep and he shared the same nemesis named Haider-ul-Rehman Alais… Rehmat, a wanted terrorist. The bastard was married to his sister only to kill her… Anshuman’s blood boiled at even the thought of what had happened to Meera…

Rewa flipped the slides and the projector threw up a grainy image. “…this… is Wajid-ul-Rehman, the founder of Al-Harb-Alfaith…the criminal syndicate from across the border. The guy never dirtied his hands but hired and brainwashed young men from the bordering villages of Baluchistan to carry out the mission across the world… mainly in our country. Since the last decade, he has been inactive because of his health which is failing him, and the funds running dry, thanks to our government and the ever-vigilant army. As you already know, he had two sons… one his biological son Kasim known to be his commander in charge in India whose whereabouts now aren’t known, nor do we have any picture of his. It’s like he disappeared a decade ago. The other is his adoptive son Haider alais Rehmat. Rehmat was killed in the encounter with the army last month. And before that, we got to know of his deceitful rendezvous with Army a decade ago… We also know that he had married Meera and impregnated her before doing away with her because she was privy to their secrets….” Anshuman cringed as he heard the words which were not unknown but still… they hurt. He sighed as he looked at Rewa. Rewa stared at him and continued. “…the SOP had been requested by the GOI to track and weed out any sleeper cells belonging to Al-Harb-Alfaith existing from that time before they get woken up and launch an attack on us… So we first checked out all their active members. All are dead and accounted for but for Kasim. There is news that he went abroad and is settled in the UK though the news is yet to be confirmed…”

Rewa took a sip of water and changed the slide. “…Anshuman, the reason I requested for you to be here is we now have intel about a sleeper cell being active in Goa. They have been there for the last decade or so and are now gearing up to cause trouble. We don’t know the details but there have been talks about the perps taking advantage of the pandemic and infusing life into their members financially to activate them. They are also recruiting local guys… in their late teens or early 20s to tackle the backlog and to leave them high and dry if things go south…having locals also makes tracking for us difficult…” Rewa looked at Anshuman.

“…I get it till here Rewa… but what does that have to do with me…?” Anshuman asked

“…the SOP had been active all over the country for years tracking down any kind of untoward activity to nip it in the bud. We have our undercover operatives spread across the country. The SOP channelized a special division with our special operatives and they are active in Goa as we talk. They are gathering information by blending with the locals. And Anshuman we have just discovered that the new sleeper cell is being activated to complete a mission left undone because of your sister’s interference a decade ago… though we aren’t sure as yet as to what the mission was and how it was linked with the sabotage on Amandeep’s battalion…”

Anshuman began to breathe hard. What was this leading to…? What had his innocent Meera done those years ago? Rewa continued. “…Anshuman we are keeping a discreet watch on you just in case… you are our bait for those perps now… because you have been asking around and ruffled feathers… So you have two choices. Either you leave Goa till we are done or stay and help us… we cant take away the vigilance… because you are in danger as well…”

“…but…I have no clue about anything…”

“…We know that Anshuman… but those perps don’t… they believe you may have the information they need and may go to any extent to cover up… so you have to be alert… and don’t worry you won’t even know you are being watched…besides our special agent has been doing active work there for years now…”

Anshuman’s head reeled with the information overload. There was no second thought on what he wanted. He agreed to help the SOP. That was the only way he could get his closure as well.

Rewa wound up the meet and just before she left she walked up to Anshuman. “…One more thing Anshuman… our guys will contact you if needed and there is a code for each of our operatives. The one in charge of ur protection… who has been doing a good job so far goes by the name… Angie…”

©priyagole. No part of the story can be copied or shared anywhere without the consent of the writer.

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