What happens when you have to choose between faith and logic? Temples are places of worship, oceans of tranquility, or so everyone thinks, till a series of murders threatens to destroy the carefully cultivated reputation of the royal family of Thiruvanathapuram.
In Ravi Subramanian’s latest novel, we follow Kabir Khan, Additional Director, CBI, as he breezes through a complex maze of fact and fiction, faith and deceit, religion and commerce to unravel the mystery and unmask the killers with only minutes left at his disposal. Slick, riveting and fast paced, In the Name of God is a truly gripping novel.
Here’s an exclusive excerpt from the book.
It was a deafening sound. The kind that is heard when metal crashes into glass, bringing the whole thing down. The ground shook. It almost felt like an earthquake.
Visitors at Wafi Mall, the largest and possibly most exquisitely designed luxury mall in the area, stood astounded. No one could fathom what was going on.
Gate 1 of the mall was to the right of the central courtyard and a few minutes away from the main parking lot. The ground floor, accessible from Gate 1, was home to a variety of luxury gold and jewellery and accessory brands—Chopard, Cartier, Damas, Rolex, Omega, Breitling and a few local biggies were within shouting distance from the gate.
Moments later another piece of glass came crashing down amid the perceptible sound of cars rumbling close by.
At precisely forty-eight minutes past noon—no one knew the significance of the time, if there was one—two Audi A6s, one black and one white, had driven up to Gate 1. It was not uncommon for cars to drive up to the mall entrance. It was some distance from the main parking and the mall clientele, the rich and famous of Dubai, were not used to walking with their shopping bags. Ordinarily, the cars stopped on the carriageway built for them, waited for a couple of minutes, picked up their masters and drove out. But at 12.48 that day, the two Audis did not stop at the main gate. However, that was only half as strange as the manner in which they drove up to the gate: The black Audi was furiously approaching in reverse, followed closely by the white one, their bonnets almost kissing each other.
By the time the lone security guard at the gate could react, the black Audi had already crashed through the glass-and-metal door with a deafening noise. It drove further into the mall, right up to the main lobby on the ground floor, and screeched to a halt, the white car following suit. It almost seemed as if the black Audi was the pilot car, clearing the way for the second car. But why was it being driven in reverse? No one knew. No one cared. All that anyone in the mall was worried about was saving his or her own life. What ensued was mass panic as scared shoppers started running helter-skelter.
Amidst the confusion, four masked men, all dressed in black, got out of the cars, while the drivers stayed back, keeping the engines running. Armed with Kalashnikovs, they fired indiscriminately in the air, sending the already panic-stricken crowd into a state of hysteria. Everyone assumed it was a terrorist attack. At the time, that’s what it seemed like. Nervously vigilant, the four men strode towards the aisle to the right of the entrance. It was narrow, short and housed only three shops: Cartier, D’Damas and Ajmal Jewellers. At any given point in time, the cumulative stock in all the three stores put together was worth over a hundred million dollars.
The leader of the group stopped in front of Ajmal Jewellers and gestured to the other three to take up their positions. It took just one bullet to neutralize the shop attendant who was furiously rolling down the safety grille. The men entered the store. Once they were in, they were cut off from the rest of the mall.
All anyone could hear was the sound of shattering glass and indiscriminate gunfire. In three minutes the men came out of the store and ran back to the two Audis. Each of them had a bag in one hand— clearly booty from Ajmal Jewellers. But as they were rushing, the last of the four tripped and fell. The bag slipped out of his hands and rolled ahead. The contents of the bag—jewellery and gemstones—spilled out on to the marble floor. ‘Damn!’ the leader swore. ‘Quick! Three more minutes and the cops will be here. We need to go!’ The fall had delayed them by forty-five seconds. They had to leave, else they would be sitting ducks for the Dubai Police. He continued towards the Audi even as his fallen team member recovered, and tried to gather the loot on the floor and put it back into the bag. He quickly got into the second Audi though he had not managed to collect everything that had fallen out of the bag.
Immediately the engines roared to life. The cars vroomed and this time, the white Audi reversed out of the shattered mall entrance followed closely by the black one. In no time, they had disappeared from sight.
The moment the cars left the mall, people rushed towards the jewellery showroom, a few stopping on the way to pick up the pieces of jewellery and curios that had fallen out of the robber’s bag.
Ajmal Jewellers was in shambles. Glass from broken windows and display units was strewn all over. There was blood everywhere. Seven people had been shot—six store staff and a sole shopper.
All of them were dead.
This is an excerpt from Ravi Subramanian’s ‘In the Name of God’.