Aarti was sitting nervously, holding her mother’s hand. Dhruv stood outside the interrogation room, glaring at us.
“Inspector, you have the murderer. Why put my sister through this?” He said to me.
“I’m sorry Dhruv, but if your sister was with Shvetank when your father was murdered, she’s likely to be slapped with some charges too. It’s a crime to keep information hidden from the police.” I told him gravely.
“Serious charges?” Dhruv asked, concerned.
I smiled. “That depends on how good your lawyer is. Hey..” A thought occurred to me, “Do you mind sticking around? I would like to ask you some questions.”
Dhruv nodded, “Sure, anything I can do to help.”
I started walking inside the room when Shammi pulled me aside, “I’m going back to the college. I feel like something’s missing.”
I nodded. “While you are at it, check him out too.” I indicated towards Dhruv.
Aarti stiffened as I walked inside the room.
Aarti looked at her mum, who nodded encouragingly, “Tell him the truth honey.”
Aarti took a deep breath, “I called him, Rajat. The day he died.”
“What for?” I already knew, but it was always better to cross verify.
“I needed money. Shvetank forced me to ask him for money.” Aarti dabbed her eyes.
“He followed me.. To the church..” Aarti was trembling now.
“Go on..” I said encouragingly.
“And then Shvetank.. he..” She clutched her mother’s hand a little tighter. “He put some chloroform on something and put it around my father’s mouth. I remember telling him that my father will press charges of assault against him. He had just laughed and said ‘I’ll take care of it’ And then he dropped me back home. I didn’t know what he was planning to do...”
I stayed silent, absorbing all that Aarti had told me.
“And then he asked me for Smruti’s and Tara’s address.”
I pulled out the pictures of the knife we had recovered from the crime site.
“Recognize this?” I asked her.
“Yes, it’s Shvetank’s. He always carries it around in his bag pack.”
“I think that’s all for now..” I showed her the way out and beckoned Dhruv in.
“Anything you can tell me?” I didn’t really have any questions for him.
“Not really, I hardly met the man.” Dhruv said coolly.
“But he was very fond of you?”
“I was the only one in the family who was capable enough to take over his precious factory. Aarti, she.. Well, she isn’t the types who would want to run a factory.”
“So you don’t know anything?”
“Well. Aarti wanted me to talk to my dad the day he died. She thought he would give me money if I asked him. But of course I didn’t. I told her I would give her the money, if she only told me what it was for.”
“So now that Rajat’s dead, are you going to accept what his will states? Or is it against your principles to accept his money?”
“That’s a lot of money we are talking about, I’d be a fool to walk away from it.” Dhruv smiled coolly. “Now that he’s dead, I have no qualms taking it.”
Dhruv brushed his hand over his shoulder as he spoke. Animal hair.
“Any pets?” I asked him.
“No.. But I work at a animal shelter.” He smiled. “Dogs! They shed so much hair..”
“Dhruv, where were you ten days ago?” I asked suddenly.
“Why? Am I suspect now?” he laughed.
I was not amused. “Do you know what we found on your father’s belongings apart from blood?” I asked him.
He shook his head, surprised at the sudden change in my tone.