“What’s going on here?” I stepped between Shammi and Shvetank.
“We need to take him in for further questioning.” Shammi nodded towards Shvetank.
“No.. you can’t..” A distraught Aarti was holding on to Shvetank’s arm. “I’ll tell you everything!!” She pleaded.
“Aarti, what are you saying?!” Krupa tried to dislodge Aarti from Shvetank’s arm.
“No.. mum, I know what I’m doing.” She shrugged off Krupa’s hand.
“Everybody calm down!” I ordered.. “Shvetank, you are coming with us. Mrs. Krupa, you have to drive your daughter to the station.”
“She hasn’t done anything! She’s just saying some things to protect him.” She glared at Shvetank.
“Regardless, Aarti wants to say something, and I need a parent’s approval for that.” Krupa Mitwe turned towards Dhruv with a pleading look on her face. Dhruv shook his head. Krupa sighed, “Fine, I’ll get her.”
We left Shvetank in a holding cell while Shammi filled me in.
“So, I went to the college like you said. And I checked up on Shvetank. Guess what his primary subject is?” He asked.
“I give up, what?”
“Biology. So not only does our boy have access to the labs and Chloroform, I made the lab assistant check, there is some concentrated chloroform missing from the storage area.” I whistled.
“Wait.. That’s not it. The rumor around college is that he was known to experiment with different kinds of substance abuse.”
“And he had the knife.” I said.
“What knife?” I quickly filled in Shammi about the knife. Forensics was going through the contents of Shvetank’s bag but I had already given then a head’s up on the knife.
“But why did he do it?” Shammi and I were brainstorming now. Before we interrogated the suspect, we needed to have as much information out as possible.
“Didn’t you say he was seeing Aarti?” Shammi asked me.
“Yeah. You don’t think that’s why he killed Rajat right? I mean it’s a little far fetched.”
“Hear me out.” Shammi put up a hand to silence me.
“The last call Rajat received was from Krupa’s house. What if it was Aarti?” I opened my mouth to protest but then stopped. Maybe he was right.
“Lets ask him some questions before Aarti gets here.” I suggested. Shammi nodded. We walked into the holding cell, where Shvetank was looking increasingly nervous.
“What’s going on! Why am I here? I didn’t do anything!” He exclaimed.
“We know about the chloroform.” I said quietly.
All wind zapped out of Shvetank. His shoulders slumped.
“It was an accident. I didn’t mean to..” he put his head in his hands and began to cry. I had to remind myself, that even though he was legally an adult, he was just 19.
“Shvetank.. why did you do it?” I still couldn’t guess a motive.
“He caught me..” He paused. “Doing weed. And he asked me where Aarti was.”
“Where was she?”
“Hiding. She didn’t want her father to find her. She had taken the money from him.” He was sobbing now.
“Money for what?”
“To buy the weed. And when he turned around, I just dabbed a little chloroform on my handkerchief, and put it around his mouth. I never meant to kill him.”
“You’re lying.” Shammi said roughly.
“No.. no.. you have to believe me. Please! I just wanted to make him unconscious, so that Aarti and I could escape.” He was pleading with us.
“So that’s why you went back to stab him?”
“But I didn’t! He got stabbed?” Shvetank looked perplexed.
“Shvetank. We found a knife, identical to the one you have on the crime scene.” Shammi explained patiently.
“But I lost my old one. I don’t know where. That’s why I bought a replacement.”
We spent an hour with Shvetank, but he did not budge from his statement , that he didn’t stab Rajat Sinha. We were still charging him with murder. He was the murderer, I could feel it.
And Aarti’s testimony, would only confirm it. I was waiting eagerly to interrogate Aarti and be done with this case.