As it turned out, I didn’t have to barge my way into the lawyer’s offices. I was invited. By Smruti Sharma.
Rajat Sinha’s lawyers had called all the family members for the hearing of Rajat’s will. Smruti, now petrified for her safety, wanted me to accompany her. I started to explain to her that she would be perfectly safe when I realized I would get no better way to judge the family’s reaction.
I was on my way to Rajat’s lawyer’s office. Smruti was already there. It was in upmarket area. Expected nothing else from Rajat Sinha. Nobody stopped me at the security. They all recognized me from the papers. They waved me in even before I could show them my identity card.
Smruti seemed relieved to see me. I looked around the room I saw Mrs. Sinha, Krupa Mitwe and their lawyers. Smruti had got only me.
I nodded at Mrs. Sinha who was conferring with her lawyer. Krupa Mitwe gave me a half smile and came towards me.
“Inspector, I did not expect you here.” She turned towards the girl behind her. I recognized her from the pictures, “Meet my daughter Aarti. Aarti, this is the Inspector who’s investigation your father’s death.” I started smiling at Aarti and then stopped. The girl was absolutely petrified of me.
“Aarti..” her mother admonished her. “Say something.”
Aarti mumbled a hello and ran towards a guy. If he was Dhruv, there was no family resemblance there.
“I’m sorry about her behavior Inspector. His death has been surprisingly disturbing to her.” Krupa apologized.
“Is that your son with her?” I kept my eye on both of them. Aarti was talking nervously to the boy. The boy glanced at me a couple of times. He too was nervous, I realized with a start.
“Good heavens no! that’s her boyfriend Shvetank. I don’t know why she has to get him everywhere. They have been inseparable past few weeks.” My ears pricked. I was surprised Krupa didn’t mind her young daughter hanging out with a guy who was clearly in college if not older. Long hair, piercing on his eyebrow, tall and lean. I could see why he was such a favorite with Aarti, he looked like a rock star.
“That’s my son..” Krupa interrupted my thoughts and pointed towards the door. I turned. A young man was standing there. Compared to Shvetank, Dhruv looked clean. He looked like the kind of son parents wish to have. He walked towards his mother and put a protective arm around her,
“Who is this?” He asked her, looking at me.
“Inspector Chetan.. He’s investigating your father’s murder.”
Chetan's Dhruv’s eyes shifted to his sister and then back to me.
“How do you do Inspector?” he asked coolly.
“Very well.” Some commotion at the door distracted us. The lawyers had come. Out of respect for the family, I walked out. Following me, Shvetank walked out. The doors closed behind us. I could do nothing but wait.
After a while of waiting around aimlessly, I turned my attention towards Shvetank who was nervously fiddling with a paper weight kept on the table.
“So what do you do?” I asked him casually.
“I uh..” he started nervously. “I’m a student. I’m studying for my bachelors degree..”
“Oh.. You and Dhruv are in the same college?” I wondered how long I would have to sit out here.
“Yep.” Shvetank started digging into his bag. Clearly he too was bored. “So..” he said suddenly, “Did you catch the murderer?”
“Not yet.. Did you know Rajat Sinha?”
“No, of course not. Never!” I was a little taken aback by the vehemence of his denial. I decided to check his background and then question him further. Shvetank pulled out an apple from his bag.
“Do you want some?” he offered.
Shvetank dug into his bag and pulled out a knife to cut the apple into two. I stared at him, mesmerized. The knife he was holding, was the exact same one that we had recovered near the body.