I tried to comprehend what Shammi was telling me. He was suggesting that Rajat Sinha had driven to the church himself. Which implied that he was meeting someone there. Someone he probably knew..
I decided to pay Smruti Sharma a visit. It seemed to me that the only person Rajat Sinha would want to meet in an isolated place would be his mistress.
Prerna offered to drop me to her place.
“Why don’t you come with me?” I wasn’t too good at handling women who were emotionally upset and I had seen Prerna control the agitated woman earlier on.
“I can’t,” She said apologetically. “Have a lot of work to do.”
I nodded and stared out of the window when Prerna spoke again.
“Is Shammi going to join you?” She tried to ask casually. I looked away, suppressing a smile.
“Yes, he is.” I pulled out my cell phone and sent a text message to Shammi, asking him to meet me near Smruti Sharma’s residence.
“I can spare an hour.” Prerna smiled to herself.
I nodded. I felt great, like cupid..
Shammi was already waiting for us when we got there. I stepped out of the car and approached him.
“Great work with the witness.” I said warmly. I knew this was Shammi’s first murder case. I wanted to be supportive.
Shammi beamed at me, “I know you told me to meet the detective, but I thought this was more important… The detective ..” His voice trailed off. He was staring right past me. I turned around.
Prerna saw me smile and looked at me nervously. I shook my head slightly. She relaxed. She understood that even though I knew what was going on, I was not going to comment on it.
Prerna and Shammi faced each other and smiled shyly. I rolled my eyes, exasperated.
“Let’s go you two!” I had no problems helping out with their blossoming romance, but I wasn’t going to wait around when there was work to be done.
Smruti Sharma lived in luxury apartments in a very posh area of the city. I had checked up on her on our way here. Smruti Sharma was a school teacher. She made a decent enough living but not the kind which would allow her to afford that flat.
If Rajat Sinha had bought a flat for this girl in this locality, she was not some passing fancy. Their affair was serious.
Prerna rang the bell.
Smruti answered after a while. She saw me and her face creased into a smile.
“You came after all.. Come in.”
The apartment was decorated tastefully. The walls were adorned with pictures of Smruti Sharma’s past. You can tell a lot from someone’s photographs. Like looking at the pictures I could tell Smruti had a comfortable childhood. Her clothes seemed clean and ironed, her hair always brushed. I could also tell she was particularly close to her sister, more than half of the pictures had her in it.
“So who told you about Mr. Sinha’s murder?” I asked scanning through the pictures.
“It’s her Tara, his wife.” She replied simply.
“Didn’t look like that.. She didn’t seem too happy to see you there.” I struggled to understand why Mrs. Sinha would want to inform Rajat’s mistress.
Smruti smiled, “How little you know about her. She told her maid servant. I used to pay her maid servant to give me news about her. You know, things like when she goes out, when she comes back. So that Rajat knows when it’s safe for him to go back. So she fed her servant with some information.”
“But why tell you about his murder?”
“Inspector! Who do you think called the press?? In tomorrow’s paper’s you will have a weeping widow and an angry mistress. Who would you root for?”
“So she called you and the press to create a scene?” I said incredulously.
“She hates me. She hates me even more now that she knew Rajat was going to change his will!”
My ears pricked.. Did she say Rajat Sinha was planning to change his will?? The word motive flashed in front of my eyes.