Who Killed the Minister's Wife?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
A powerful politician has been accused of murdering his wife. He says he's innocent, but his step-son claims that he saw him leave the crime scene minutes before she was found dead. Who is lying and who is telling the truth, its up to the relentless Inspector Rathore to find out.

Submitted: August 12, 2016

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Submitted: August 12, 2016



The minister sat with his face buried in his hands, his elbows resting on an old wooden table, which was in an urgent need of a replacement. The room was small and its walls were slightly damp after three days of much needed continuous rain. There was a lamp hanging from the ceiling which barely lit the room. Inspector Rathore was outside the room, looking at a forlorn minister through the glass window and preparing himself for the interrogation.
 No one else had had the slightest courage to do what he was doing- investigating a union minister for murder.  “Even if he did kill his wife,” his colleague had said, “he will get away. He is a union minister, he has connections. Once this whole thing blows over, he’s going to come after you.” That is why Rathore hated politicians so much. The minister was going to jail, and he would be the one to handcuff him.  

After few minutes Rathore went in. He slammed the door shut and pulled a chair and sat opposite to the minister. “Look inspector,” the minister began, “I have been here long enough. I have…”
“With all due respect minister,” interjected Rathore, “I will be asking the questions.”
There was a brief pause. The minister did not seem pleased with his tone, but he couldn’t care less.
“Mr. Kataria, you are wasting precious time. Just confess. You murdered your wife. We have a witness who can testify.”
The minister chuckled, looked Rathore in the eye and said “You mean Nikhil?”
“Yes, I mean your stepson, Nikhil. He heard you leave your room and then the house around 5:30 pm. Fifteen minutes later, he found your wife, dead in the same room.”
“That proves nothing. Besides, it is not even the truth. The boy is lying. He wants me to go to jail for a crime I did not commit?”
“Where were you when the boy found her?”
“I was driving, I think, around the Bari area.”
“That’s outside the city.”
“I know what you’re implying.”
“We can’t prove that because that’s outside the city limits and there are not traffic cameras.”

The minister was silent. He knew the facts made him look guilty. Nikhil’s statement made it worse. How could he have seen the minister leaving the house? That was impossible. Why was he lying?
“Look Inspector Rathore, I swear I did not kill my wife. I loved her deeply. You cannot imagine how heartbroken and hurt I feel right now. I want to find the man who did this more than you do. I need to grieve and mourn, but here I am, being ruthlessly interrogated by you.”
Rathore said nothing. For a moment he even considered the possibility that the minister was innocent.But the moment passed. He was heartbroken and hurt? That statement seemed like an egregious lie. The minister was bailed out by the end of the day, Rathore vowed to prove the minister’s guilt.

Rathore sat in his office, going over all the evidence he could find on the murder. The minister was lying, obviously. He did kill his wife. Motive? He did not know yet. Was it marital trouble? The minister had profusely denied it. Or was the minister telling the truth? Was Rathore’s hatred for the man clouding his professional judgment?  Suddenly, the phone rang and startled him. It was the medical examiner, calling to inform him that he had the autopsy results and that he would come deliver the report.

As Rathore waited for the autopsy report, he couldn’t help but think what he might discover in it. Surely, there was something of consequence in that report; otherwise the medical examiner wouldn’t have taken the trouble of delivering it himself. At that very moment Rathore heard a hasty knock on the door. “Come in.” he said, listlessly. The door opened to reveal a small and frail bald man with a pallid face. He greeted the inspector with a lopsided grin.
“Ah, so you have the autopsy report.” said Rathore.
“I do, sir. You will find the results extremely interesting. I don’t know if they make your case stronger, but they most certainly are interesting.” said the man, handing over the reports to the inspector.
Rathore flipped through the pages and then found something that made him gasp in shock.

The medical examiner was now sitting in a chair opposite Rathore, sipping on a cup of tea that had just been brought in. Rathore thoroughly read through all the pages of the report. It confirmed death by asphyxiation. No trace of poison or anything of such kind was found. There was a minor head injury. And she was pregnant. On a separate loose page, there were results confirming that the minister wasn’t the father.
“Has anyone else seen this report?” Rathore asked anxiously.
“No sir, no one but me.”
Rathore contemplated in silence a minute. Maybe this was the motive? The minister had found about his wife’s affair. Then, perhaps in a fit of anger, the cuckold had killed her? Maybe the next step should be finding the father?

“Sir,” spoke the medical examiner, interrupting Rathore’s train of thought, “I hope you realize that I did not obtain some of these results the right way and…”
“Of course I realize that,” said Rathore holding up the loose sheet of paper from the report, “but I must ask how exactly did you perform the paternity test? Are the results reliable?”
“Just two days ago, the minister was at the inauguration of this blood donation drive, where he too donated blood. I pulled some strings, and was able to get just enough blood to perform the test.”
“Good call. We couldn’t have risked asking the minister for blood only to establish that he wasn’t the father. He can’t know we have this information.”
“I hope my efforts will bear some sort of a reward, sir?”
“Yes, definitely. I will look into transferring you to the new branch.”
“Thank you, sir. I must take your leave now.”
Both men got up, shook hands and the medical examiner left the office, content that his visit was not futile. Rathore folded the loose sheet and put it in his pocket.

Rathore drove to the other part of the city to meet a Mrs. Grover. The woman was best friend and confidant to the minister’s wife, at least this is what the tabloids claimed. She greeted him at the door. She was dressed in a plain pink sari with her tied up in a neat bun and had almost no makeup on.
“Please have a seat inspector.” she said as she gestured her maid to bring some water for the inspector.
“Thank you Mrs. Grover, thank you for agreeing to see me.” said the inspector
“Of course, inspector. I had a feeling you would come sooner or later”
“Ah, which means you have some information to share.”
“Nothing that you don’t already know. I knew she shouldn’t have married that wretched man. She was so unhappy.”
“Why was she unhappy?”
“She had told me so many times how he was always working, never paid attention to her. He only married her to better his public image. He didn’t get along with her son. He is a bad husband and an even worse human being.”
“Is that why she was having an affair?” he asked casually and saw the woman’s jaw drop.
“How…I mean…you know?”
“Yes and she was pregnant with his child, wasn’t she?”
“What? She was? She…she never told me that! Oh! That is why he killed her didn’t he? He found out about them and the child?”
“So you know who the father is.”
“I…well…yes…yes I know. I guess it’s no use hiding. It wasn’t my secret to share but you must know. It was Suraj Garg. They dated back in college and rekindled their romance after they met at a party few months ago. She was so unhappy before but I saw that change once she met Suraj.”
“Can you describe what the man looks like?”
“Why inspector? Have you not heard of Suraj Garg? He is only one the most critically acclaimed actors in Bollywood? He is even starring in a Hollywood film this year.”
“That Suraj Garg?”
“Yes inspector, but please keep this information to yourself for now, or at least don’t say you heard it from me. It could be a big blow to his promising career. I hope you understand”
“Yes, yes. But you do realize sooner or later, everyone will know.”
“Better if it is later.”

As Rathore drove back to the police station, there was only one thought in his mind. Maybe it wasn’t the minister who killed his wife? What if it was the actor? He too had a motive. News like this would ruin his career. An affair and an illegitimate child? A devastating blow to man’s career, his public image ruined forever. No, but the boy, Nikhil had seen the minister leaving the crime scene about the time of her death. What if the boy was lying? He had to sort things out. He had to question the boy again, even more thoroughly this time.

The inspector sensed the listlessness with which the boy, Nikhil sat, waiting for him outside his office. He was staring at the ceiling whilst chewing gum when Rathore approached him.
“I have a couple of questions for you young man.” said Rathore, holding open the door to his office.
“I have told you all that I know.” he boy replied sternly as he walked in.
“Tell me again, in detail, the events that occurred at the time of your mother’s death.”
“I came out of my room, to get something from the kitchen. Yes it was around 5:30, I had just come home after a tennis match. I saw him rushing out of the house.” said Nikhil, to the inspector. He wondered how many more times he would have to repeat this.
“Did he see you? Did you talk to him?” asked the inspector
“No he didn’t see me. I saw him through the kitchen window, he didn’t even turn around, I heard him close the bedroom door and then saw him rush out of the house.”
“So you just saw his back? Are you sure it was him? Did you see what he was wearing?”
“Yeah just his back but I’m sure it was him. He was wearing a blue polo shirt and jeans, which honestly, I found a little odd. He never dresses that casually, except on vacation. I didn’t think much of it then”
“Do you know who Suraj Garg is?”
“The actor? Yeah he was Ma’s college friend, I think. Why?”
“Oh, never mind”

The next day, Rathore found himself on the set of a film. He did not know and did not care what it was called; he was only there to interrogate the actor. He ditched his uniform that day because he was in no mood to deal with the paparazzi who would obviously wonder why the famous actor was being questioned by the police. He knew he would not be welcomed there, so he made sure that he had a warrant. After an hour of waiting, he finally got to talk to the actor.

As the inspector questioned the actor, with each passing minute he became more and more convinced that the man was lying. Even though he was a brilliant actor, he could not conceal his obvious apprehension of being caught for the crime he had committed. It doesn’t matter how good you are at bluffing, you cannot fool your conscious when you are guilty.

The actor had lost all sense and rationality when she had told him about the child. She wanted to make their relationship public. He tried to dissuade her, but she was adamant. This would ruin his promising career. In a fit of rage he had killed her, by holding a pillow over her face and choking her. As soon as he heard the boy come in, he knew he had to flee. He came out of the room, looked around to see if he had been seen and left as soon as he could but failed to see the boy and thought he was safe. Only the boy had seen him and mistaken him for his step father.

When actor was thrown in jail for the murder of Mrs. Rekha Kataria, there wasn’t a newspaper in the country which did not cover this shocking story. No one had known of the affair before and it was now all the tabloids talked about. Rathore also gained some popularity as the man who uncovered and truth and brought justice to the minister’s family. Even the minister issued public statement that the inspector had done a fine job and that he was extremely grateful to him.

As the minister sat in his study, drinking the finest scotch he had, he couldn’t help but smile. He had gotten away. Gotten away with murder. He had known for a while that his wife had been cheating on him, but he was waiting for the right moment to confront her. He thought he had the chance when he one day while driving past his house, he saw a stranger entering it, through the front door. It had to be the man who was having an affair with his wife. So he parked a few meters away and made his way to the house. He watched the actor commit the crime through the window. As soon as he thought he had finished the job and left, the minister climbed in through the window. He ran to his wife’s side and realized she was still breathing. The actor had tried to choke her to death with a pillow and during the struggle she and fallen, hit her head and had been knocked out. The actor, having thought she was dead, left in a hurry. The minister then picked up the pillow and finished the job and climbed out the window and left. He had resented her so much. He had given everything to her and yet she was so ungrateful. She was better off dead, he thought.

The actor was now in jail for a murder he did not actually commit. The minister was the one who killed his wife, but no one would ever know. As far as everyone was concerned, he was the victim, a man who had suffered tragedy and loss. His life destroyed by a cheating wife and her lover. 

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