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Bus#126W       My Family and I       Games we play       All Roads Lead Home       As Good As It Gets       Whodunit?      

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Whodunit - Chapter 26 - The End

I hung up and walked to the holding cell. I saw Aarti and Krupa sitting in the waiting room. I let them be. I would need Aarti later, but for now, I wanted to focus on Shvetank and Dhruv. Could they be in it together? I asked myself. I pushed the thought out of my head almost immediately. That didn’t make any sense.

Dhruv was pacing impatiently.
“You can go now.” I held the door open for him.
“My alibi checked out, didn’t it? I told you, I was at the club.” He picked up his jacket and started walking out.
“How’d you come?”
“My bike. Why?”
“Do your friends borrow your bike sometimes?”
“No.. Why?” His wariness was back.
“Would you be able to explain why your bike was seen speeding up the mountains, the day your father died?” He looked stumped.
“My bike? Surely, there must be some mistake. I didn’t even take my bike that day. I knew I was going to drink. I left it at home.”
“Anybody else in your family knows how to ride your bike?”
“Inspector, if you are suggesting that my mom or my sister had anything to with Rajat’s murder you are crazy!!”
“You haven’t answered my question.” I said calmly.
“Yes! But the bike was there at home when I got up the next morning!” I smiled. Things were beginning to make sense. I just needed to ask a couple of questions to Shvetank.
I walked out with Dhruv. Krupa and Aarti were gone.

What I had to ask Shvetank didn’t take much time. What he said froze my blood. I sprinted out of the room as fast as I could.
I called Shammi and told him to meet me as soon as possible in Smruti’s place.
I called Prerna and prayed that she was safe. I called a million times but she didn’t answer. I could only hope that I wasn’t too late.

I reached Smruti’s apartment. I could see Prerna’s car parked outside and saw Shammi race up the stairs. I followed suite.
We opened the door, careful not to make a sound. We both pulled out our revolvers and started to move around the house silently when we heard a loud crash and then Prerna’s voice.
“You!!! What are you….. No!!!”
Shammi ran like a possessed man. He saw a hooded figure looming over Prerna’s petite frame with one hand clutching a heavy metal rod raised. The floor was littered with clothes.

A shot was fired and the hooded figure collapsed to the floor.

Shammi rushed towards Prerna and I ran towards the fallen figure. I didn’t need to remove the hood. I put her hands behind her back and handcuffed her.
“Aarti Mitwe.” I said “You’re under arrest for the murder of Rajat Sinha and for the attempted assault on Prerna Batra.”

I put her in the back seat. Shammi and Prerna would follow in her car.
“How’d you know it was me?” She had finished crying.
“You were very smart Aarti. Very smart. Almost had me fooled. And that blaming Shvetank act. Brilliant.” I said scornfully.
She didn’t say anything. Just looked out of the window.
“How did he know, that you were at the church?” I asked. Some pieces of the puzzle still did not fit.
“He followed me, obviously. He always liked to keep an eye on where I was, what I was doing.”
“You were trying to hide?”
“Obviously. I had already smoked a joint. And he just made me so angry. So much money! And he always made me beg.”
“So you killed him.” It wasn’t a question.
“It wasn’t like that.” Her sobbing started again, “ I wasn’t in control. I wasn’t thinking straight. Shvetank didn’t even use enough chloroform to make Rajat unconscious. He grabbed my foot while I was going. I got so freaked, I just dabbed a lot of chloroform on my handkerchief and held it against his mouth while Shvetank went to see if my father had got anyone else.”
“But why did you go back?”
“By the time I was normal, I got worried. I thought, what if he gets hurt or something, so I went back. I took Dhruv’s bike and went. I put on his jacket so that anyone who saw me would think I’m a guy. ”
That would explain the animal hair on the wallet.
“But when I got there, his body..” She gulped. “His body was already cold. And then to make it look like a random attack, I picked up the knife which Shvetank had dropped while packing his stuff and stabbed him.” Tears were flowing down her cheeks. She wiped it against her shoulder, her hands firmly clasped in the handcuffs behind her back.
“Then when I came to the church, I saw his car. I left the bike there and drove back to Tara’s house, parked the car. I saw a bag lying in it. I opened it, and I found Smruti’s things in it. He was cheating on Tara too. First he cheated on my mum, now Tara. I picked up a t-shirt. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it then. ”
“I came back home, slept for a couple of hours when I remembered the bike. I had to get it back before Dhruv got up. I took the first bus which went up the mountain. I couldn’t resist taking a peek at him. I realized that he could be traced because of his cell phone. To avoid getting the blood on me, I covered him with the t-shirt before I started patting his pockets. I turned him over, to pull out the cell phone but I decided to take everything. His cash would come in handy. And then I left. I was going to dump all his stuff but then the investigation started and I panicked. I decided to dump everything at Smruti’s place while she was at the morgue. But she returned very quickly. I had a narrow escape.”

We had reached the station. I opened the door for her.
“But of course,” she said, “you have to prove all of that. Everything I said, will be counted as hearsay. You have no proof.” She smiled confidently.
I held out my cell phone. “Cell phones can record too. At least mine can.” I replayed her voice to her. She stared unbelievably. I wasn’t done yet.
“And I have this..” I held out a crumpled handkerchief which I had picked up from the floor in Smruti’s house. The thing for which Aarti had kept the house key, the thing for which Aarti had gone back to Smruti's house today, the thing for which Aarti was going to attack Prerna.
 “Yours isn’t it?” I smiled. “I’m sure when we run some tests on it, we’ll find Rajat’s saliva on it. That should be enough.”

 I saw the constables rushing towards my car.
“Take her inside. She’s going to be here for a long time.” 

I watched her leave with the head bowed down.
“How’d you know it was her?” Shammi and Prerna had reached minutes after we had.
“Got obvious after a while. Of course, if she’d had a little more time to plan it, she might have gotten away with it.” I turned as Aarti went out of sight.
“You okay Prerna?” I asked.
She smiled, “Yes, I’m okay.” I noticed she held on to Shammi’s arm.
“So let’s head back buddy, lots of paper work to be done.” I punched Shammi jokingly and nodded towards our trusty jeep.
Shammi cleared his throat. “You see.. Chetan.. We, I mean.. Prerna and I.. We..”
“We thought we’ll catch up over dinner..” Prerna finished the sentence for Shammi.
I smiled, “Great. Have fun you two.” I turned around and got into the jeep to start the long journey back to my sleepy little town.


  1. Great plot line, no one would even take a guess that “Aarti Mitwe” was the killer. You have given the ending in a great way... Like it. :-)

  2. Excellent Aditi - great story :) So now you know that whodunnits are your forte.. :)

  3. Ohhhh very clever my girl!! :)

  4. Hey, loved the writing. First Indian author I've read ;). But one small qualm. Don't rush it so much in the final episode.
    On the whole, a fun read! Cheers!
    - Vidya

  5. Good climax.... :)

    So whats next? when is the next Story release? :)