Police suspect arsenic and thallium procured in the first instance were used to kill victim Kamalkant Shah’s mother Sarla Devi
Victim Kamalkant Shah with his sisters
Santacruz resident Kajal Shah, who is accused of killing her husband, took the help of her paramour Hitesh Jain to procure arsenic and thallium from two suppliers and used the heavy metals to first murder her mother-in-law Sarla Devi in August, suspect the Crime Branch. She then used the same chemicals to poison her husband Kamalkant Shah, who died on September 19 due to multiple organ failure. Jain is in the business of stationery and gift items and knows a few pharmacists. He got the chemicals, saying they were needed for medicine, said a source.
Officers from Crime Branch’s Unit 9 said Shah’s post-mortem report from JJ hospital pointed to foul play. The report, which came on September 20, read, “Opinion reserved pending an accessory examination report in a clinically diagnosed case of poisoning.” Officials wanted to register a murder case the same day as Shah’s family members had raised suspicion over Kajal’s involvement, but could not move in that direction as they had no evidence.
“We searched the house with the help of forensic experts, who thoroughly examined every utensil and glass to check for the presence of thallium and arsenic, but they found nothing,” a Crime Branch officer said. The police also searched Kajal’s bedroom to check if any stock of arsenic and thallium was present, but they found nothing.
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The officer said the chemicals were kept in bottles and were mixed with ukala, a herbal drink. Since the glass that was used to serve the drink was washed again and again, no trace of the chemicals was left after so many days.
Call data records of Jain took the police to a chemical supplier who confirmed giving arsenic and thallium to Jain, who passed them on to Kajal as per their plan to kill her husband to usurp his property. “The moment we got the confirmation about the origin and the supplier of arsenic and thallium, the two were arrested in a case of murder,” said the officer.
Now, the cops face the challenge of establishing that Sarla Devi was also eliminated in a similar fashion. “There is no evidence as such, but we are procuring her medical details from the hospital where she was being treated and also recording the statement of the doctors to ascertain if they ever suspected poison in her case,” said the officer.
Sources said the police have learnt about a second chemical supplier who handed over the toxic elements used on Sarla Devi. “Once we get the supplier, then the duo can be questioned on that aspect. As of now, they have confessed to killing Kamalkant but have not revealed much about Sarla Devi,” added the officer.
Kamalkant was first admitted to Criticare hospital in Andheri and later shifted to Bombay hospital on September 3. On September 13, a report showed the presence of heavy metals in his blood. He died on September 19. A case of accidental death was registered on September 21 and was transferred to Santacruz police station the next day. A murder case was registered on December 1 followed by the arrest of Kajal and Jain the same day.
Day Shah’s report showed heavy metals in his blood