There was nothing left for us to do at the Sinha residence. We made our way to Prerna’s office to drop off the new samples. We found her in the lab, pouring over a bunch of test tubes and chemicals. I knocked on the glass door that separated us.
Prerna looked up, annoyed that someone had disturbed her. Her face relaxed into a smile when she saw us, or maybe when she saw Shammi.
“I told you I’ll call you. I don’t have results for you guys yet. ” She said while taking off her labcoat.
“We’ve got something for you.” Shammi picked up the evidence bag and placed it on the table.
Prerna looked at it questioningly, “What is this? I have enough soil samples now.”
“We identified our victim. Does Rajat Sinha ring a bell?” I asked her. She was from this area, maybe she had heard of him.
“Not really, who is he?” Prerna said peering at the mud sample through her glasses.
“An industrialist. His family struck oil in the car ball bearing business. We just met his wife and came.”
Prerna cringed her nose, “How did she take it?”
“Don’t think she cared too much. She might have a hand in it. The sample you are holding is from her car tyres. I want to know whether this is similar to the mountain area where we found the body.”
Prerna nodded, “I will have the results for you by tomorrow.”
I suddenly realized that Shammi was standing awkwardly at the door, not contributing to the conversation.
“Hey Shammi, I left the reports in the jeep. Track down the detective and see if he can tell us anything apart from the report.” I sensed that he didn’t want to be around Prerna.
Shammi nodded gratefully and started walking out of the room.
I looked at Prerna.
“So, how did you manage to misplace the first samples Prerna?” I asked softly. I knew the answer already, but I wanted her to accept it.
“I didn’t.” She answered simply, her eyes following Shammi’s retreating footsteps.
The door closed, the moment passed and Prerna recovered her composure, “You might want to see the other results.”
“Sure.” I had nothing better to do.
She led me to her office and handed me a report.
“Its big.” I commented. I was hoping she was going to give me a verbal summary of it.
“What’d you expect?” Prerna smiled.
I flipped through the report half heartedly. I stopped at a page, and re read the word that had caught my attention. I quickly scanned through the page.
“Chloroform!” I exclaimed.
“Yep, some traces of it. Mind you, the traces were very minute. But, there is a high chance that he was rendered unconscious using Chloroform. Ideally,” Prerna dived into a chemistry lesson “Chloroform settles to the ground before it disperses, the traces that I detected were from the soil samples we picked up near the body. Although, you should be aware that it was used as a drug to get high some time back. I don’t think anyone uses it anymore for that purpose though.” I guess the old abandoned church was well known for its activities.
“Hmmm..” I was thinking how one could get hold of chloroform. If it was a difficult to obtain chemical, we could have traced our killer using that. I asked Prerna about it.
“Well, schools have chloroform available in their labs. So I don’t think it’s that difficult to obtain.” She had a good point.
“Anything else?” I found it hard to believe that the huge report had only one point of importance.
“The knife you found, it’s an ordinary kitchen knife. Used for cutting vegetables and stuff. If someone had planned to kill someone using that, he was either stupid or confident that his victim would not retaliate. The blood stains are the victim’s though. That’s your murder weapon. No prints.” She raised her hands helplessly. Prints were rare to come by nowadays.
“The bottles and other things that we picked up?” I asked her.
“We studied some of them, it’s all there in the report. Nothing stood out. Unless you give me something to match the sample with, I can’t help you.”
Prerna glanced at her cell phone and excused herself. Within a few minutes, she was back.
“We have to go.” She said, picking up her jacket.
“To the morgue. Supriya called, there are two women there, fighting over Rajat Sinha’s body!”