When Vikram Desai picked up jockey Mickey Edwards on several taxi runs in September 2002 and was given several racing tips, it began a descent into a gambling addiction. By November 2002, he had run up debts of several thousand pounds and Peter Barlow, for one, banned him from his bookies (partially due to Vik attempting to blackmail Peter over his affair with Lucy Richards) and sold off the debt owing to him to a collection company who, as Peter gloated to Vik, would not be quite so patient in waiting for their money to be paid back to them.
Within a day or so, Vik received the first visit from his new creditors when Damian Rodd called into the Street Cars office. In truth, a gangster, Damian presented Vik with a bill for eight thousand pounds (the sum of all his debts to bookmakers in the area plus “interest”) and, grabbing him by the throat, demanded three hundred pounds a week…or else.
Vik’s response was to steal two thousand pounds from the Street Cars account and skip on a supposed holiday to the Caribbean with girlfriend Maria Sutherland but this was a cover to return with a drugs haul to pay off his debts. He handed over the package to Damian, expecting the slate to be clean, but was told that it only account for half and he had arranged for Vik to collect another haul from Tenerife. Vik borrowed money from cousin Dev Alahan to pay Steve McDonald back the money he stole from the taxi firm and persuaded him and Karen to join him on a “holiday” in Tenerife to make up for his transgressions, but in reality this was a cover for the run with Damian arranging the flight tickets.
This time the run did not go to plan. Karen’s luggage was damaged on the return journey and Vik had to stop her complaining at the airport, confessing that he’d secreted ten thousand pounds worth of drugs in the case. A livid Steve drove to the canal and threw the package of drugs in the water.
Vik told Dev that he needed to get out of the country fast and he was convinced of the story when he saw Damian and another thug outside the Street Cars office, waiting to collect. Steve told Dev of the drugs haul and a furious Dev bought Vik a one-way ticket to Mumbai to go and live with his father. Vik left Weatherfield for good. Damian didn’t consider his debt written off and threatened Steve into giving him Vik’s BMW to settle the score once and for all.
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