Rita had started crying. But Radha reassured her that she would only call her brother, Sr. Inspector Kartik Srinivasan.
Kartik came with his forensic team and took over the place. Forensic experts were combing the room with a fine tooth comb.
Kartik asked his sister, what happened. Radha told him in detail about the blackmail by Rakesh and how the girls had tackled the man.
“You should have informed me about it before coming here,” Kartik said. “See, now you have got yourself in trouble.”
Radha explained, “The man had threatened Rita not to go to the police. That is why we did not contact you. We did not know even in our dreams that this would happen.”
“Kartik,” one of the forensic experts approached him. “He has been poisoned. Preliminary investigations show that it was not the beating that killed him. We also found a couple of glasses half filled with juice. We will analyze them in the laboratory and then send the reports to you.”
“Thank God!” Radha and Asha sighed with relief.
Another forensic expert called Kartik from near the dead man’s laptop. Radha and the other 2 girls followed him. The forensic expert had hacked the computer and the screen was now showing several photographs of girls in the nude. There were many videos as well. One of them was Rita’s.
Kartik commented, “Rakesh was planning more torment for you, Rita. You should be grateful to my sister that she heard the word ‘blackmail’, while you were speaking to him. Thankfully, he couldn’t have his way.”
“Anna (elder brother), I just remembered something. A man was coming out of this room and bumped into Rita, when she reached here. Could he be the culprit?” Radha asked.
“Could be,” Kartik said thoughtfully. He went out and started looking all over the ceiling in the lobby. Then he told the hotel manager to take him to the security room to check out the CC TV footage of that floor.
Unfortunately, the footage showing the man entering Rakesh’s room did not show his face clearly. Thus, Kartik decided that the girls should sit with the police artist to make a sketch of the man from what they remembered about him. And then Kartik issued a red alert for the man.
Kartik found out that the dead student was living in the men’s hostel connected to Rita’s college. Rakesh’s Delhi-based parents were asked to come over to Mumbai for more investigation.
By then Kartik got the primary forensic reports. From that he could understand that the man was killed by acute arsenic poisoning and the dose was repeated almost every day over a 10 days’ time. One of the glasses the forensic team had confiscated at the scene of the crime also contained high amount of arsenic. There were no fingerprints on the other glass.
Kartik told his sister, when they met that day, “The specialty of arsenic is that it is a slow poison and works over time. The person will become ill but will not know that they had been poisoned. Life will continue until the poison takes over and death occurs. Thus the main suspect was the man who bumped into Rita on the fateful day. But no one knew who he was.”
Kartik also tried to find out the dead man’s routine for the last few days. It was difficult since there was no CC TV camera inside the men’s hostel. All the information he got was in bits and pieces. There were a lot of gaps in between the information he got. But his friends agreed to one fact. Rakesh had placed a bet with them that he would bed at least 50 girls in that academic year.
One more thing was evident. He had become friends with another man, who was not from their college and probably older than Rakesh. Some of his friends had often seen him with this man talking to each other just outside the college campus. When these students were shown the sketch of the man, who bumped against Rita on the day Rakesh died, they found the sketch quite similar to the man they had seen.
A couple of days later Rita came to Radha’s room when the other 2 girls were about to go to bed. Rita said, “I suddenly remembered that man I bumped into. I have also seen him outside the college campus with Rakesh. On that day they were having a heated argument. Then the other man calmed down and started pleading with Rakesh for something. He almost fell at his feet.”
To be continued…