“Yes,” Smruti continued. “Rajat was going to change his will and leave most of his belongings to me. He wanted to keep a lot of money aside for his kids.. He didn’t want Tara getting anything.”
Kids??? I interrupted her,“We went to Rajat Sinha’s house Ms. Sharma, and we didn’t see any kids there.” It was true. We hadn’t seen anything that suggested that there were children in the house. No toys, no children’s books, no pictures.
Smruti laughed. “Well, they are not really kids. And they are not really Rajat’s kid’s. ”
I frowned. This case was getting more and more messed up.
“Ya.. They are Krupa Mitwe’s kid’s, from an earlier marriage. But Rajat adopted them and he loves..” She corrected herself, “Loved them. Legally, he was still their step-father. But they cut off all ties from him once he divorced Krupa.”
“How old are these kids?” Rajat Sinha had certainly led a very complicated life.
“The girl, Aarti is 17, just finishing school and the boy, Dhruv is 19, in college.”
“College in the city?” If he was studying in the city, there’s a chance he knew about the old church.
“Yes. Very smart boy. He got scholarships from universities abroad, but he wanted to stay with his mother. The girl, on the other hand, is completely out of control. Rajat was so proud of Dhruv..” She sighed. “Dhruv refused to touch even a penny of Rajat’s money. He worked after college to make up his tuition fee. The more Rajat tried to help, the more Dhruv would push him away. Dhruv always thought Rajat was trying to buy their love. Maybe it was partly true, but Rajat was desperate to get into their lives. He was incredibly possessive about them. He kept an eye on them at all times.”
“What about Aarti?” Prerna asked.
“Aarti just used Rajat. She contacted him whenever she needed money. She didn’t want anything to do with him otherwise.”
“Did they meet very often? Rajat and the kids?” I don’t know why Prerna was harping upon their relationship.
“Not if they could help it. In return for child support that Rajat was paying, Krupa let him meet the kids once a month. But once Dhruv became an adult, he refused to meet him.”
“Ms Sharma,” I decided to change the topic “When was the last time you saw Rajat Sinha?”
“About ten days ago.” She too looked glad to be off the topic of Dhruv and Aarti. “We went out for dinner.” After a pause, she continued, “But something strange happened there. Rajat got a call from someone, and he left. He said it was an emergency. He didn't call me after that.”
“And you didn’t get worried?” I found it strange that nobody had reported him missing.
“Well.. No. I thought it was a business emergency. I mean, i called him a couple of times but it went unanswered. It was normal for Rajat to be out of touch for ten fifteen days.”
Everybody we had spoken to so far had last seen Rajat Sinha ten days ago. A sudden thought occurred to me. “How did Mr. Sinha pay that night?”
“Ms. Sharma, when we found Mr. Sinha, we found nothing on him. No cell phone, no wallet, no cards. Is it possible, that he could have left it here?”
“No..” She was growing impatient with our questioning. “I told you, I haven’t seen him for ten days. He had his cell phone on him that night and he left after that.”
I nodded. “Can you give us his number? We’ll check with the service provider.”
I dialed the number Smruti was calling and pressed the call button to save the number. Before I could cancel the call, a phone started ringing inside the house.
Smruti looked stunned. "That's Rajat's ringtone!"
We followed the sound and found the phone in the store room. The phone was, covered in crusted blood.