Midnight fireworks had been planned at the home of Nationalist Party president Bianca Dalal. The NP had done remarkably well in elections in four states. It was the party’s heroic return. It was an even larger triumph for the Dalal family, who had survived several calls for their ouster from party leadership. The fireworks started at 11:59 and four bottles of champagne were uncorked, as the ‘Nationalists’ and few staff members watched the night sky from the garden below.
BOOM. Huge explosions razed most of 10, Lokpath, the entire Dalal lineage reduced to body parts and blood splatter on the grass. Though the explosion was restricted to the property, the tremors would soon be felt throughout the country.
Naresh Mistri was woken up at 1:08 a.m. His national security team had reached his residence. The PM saw the news on TV. Even BP’s staunchest supporters would suspect the party. First the dreadful electoral performance and now this! It could be the biggest threat to his political career. As the world’s gaze would firmly be on Mistri, would he lose his greatest asset of all, public opinion?
The IB and the RAW had more often than not failed to provide intelligence on such attacks. And there was no ‘national’ police force that could investigate and solve this crime and bring the culprits to justice quickly. No, the PM had to turn to someone else. He said, “I want ISSCO to investigate this.”
Realising that India needed an agency like the USA’s FBI, Russia’s FSB, and the UK’s MI5, which could work with surprise, speed, and intensity, Mistri had three months ago approved ISSCO, a covert, privately run but government-funded intelligence and security organisation. He had told ISSCO they were to do everything that IB, RAW, DIA, NIA, and NSG said couldn’t be done, and do it better, faster, and quieter.