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From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 8, Issue 8, Dated 26 Feb 2011
CURRENT AFFAIRS  
CRIME

AARUSHI-HEMRAJ MURDERS

Eliminating the Intruders

On 28 February, Aarushi’s parents Rajesh and Nupur Talwar will face trial for the double murders. GAURAV JAIN rebuts the grounds on which the court has summoned them

Media glare Rajesh and Nupur Talwar at the Ghaziabad court

PHOTO: PUSHKAR VYAS

ONCE THERE was a policeman in Uttar Pradesh called Gurdarshan Singh. Merrily did he sew salty strands into the story of Aarushi Talwar and Hemraj Banjade’s murders. Among other things, Singh claimed that Aarushi’s father Dr Rajesh Talwar committed the murders when “he found Aarushi and Hemraj in an objectionable, though not compromising, position”. Then there was the CBI’s closure report, which took Singh’s insinuation just a bit further and flatly quoted the UP Police as saying that Rajesh had found “his daughter in a compromising position with Hemraj”. And now there is the 9 February order from the special CBI court in Ghaziabad, which has accused not only Rajesh but also his wife Dr Nupur Talwar for the murders. Inch by inch, the ground has been slid out from under the parents’ feet.

But how do such theories end up becoming a crime theory? The court order grounds its judgment on the conclusion that there couldn’t have been any outside intruders who entered the Talwars’ apartment on the night of the murders, 15 May 2008. It bases this on the finding that the house was secure from all sides without any signs of forcible entry and no robbery accompanied the murders. Since that only leaves the parents in the house when the murder was committed — QED.

However, there are several missing links here. While the order says Hemraj lived in the servant quarters inside the Talwars’ apartment, it doesn’t mention that his room had an independent door to the outside world. The order also quotes the maid’s testimony that she found the house latched from outside the morning after the murders — so someone must have exited the house and locked the parents in their home. And within the same order, one finds the maid’s description of the clothes Rajesh was wearing on 16th morning matching what the driver Umesh Sharma stated he was wearing on 15th night — so the fact that there wasn’t any blood of the victims on Rajesh’s clothes gathers significance. Why not credit these servants’ testimonies a bit? Or can we not credit the underclass with an independent mind?

TEHELKA’s cover story (The House We Blew Down 19 February) debunked many of the CBI’s feverish suspicions against Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, including some that show up again in the court order: how the post-mortem doctor Sunil Dohre and his assistants’ statements to the CBI contradict their own original report. How experts at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, contradicted the CBI’s theory and concluded that the victims were killed with a sharp-edged knife rather than a surgical instrument. How the theory about Rajesh’s golf club being the weapon defies logic. How the servants’ alibis were flimsy at best (Krishna) and seemingly false at worst (Raj Kumar’s then-employers told TEHELKA he was free by midnight on the 15th). How, contradicting the CBI’s account, Dr Rohit Kochar told

TEHELKA that he and his friends did not inform Rajesh about the bloodstains they spotted on the terrace door on the 16th nor ask him for the terrace key — belying the CBI’s belief that Rajesh ignored such requests. Kochar also told TEHELKA that the group did call a policeman called Akhilesh Kumar to the terrace door, but the police left the door alone because its key was untraceable.

Now, the court has focussed on four more sources of suspicion against the Talwars:

1. The Internet router was used for the last time at 12:08 am on May 16th, then showed activity in small intervals till 3:43 am when it was switched off. Then it was switched on at 6:01 am again. The CBI’s experts say this switching on and off only happens if a person does it or if the electricity to the house falters. The electricity was found to have been constant that night, so a person must have been doing it on 15th night. The order leaves it at that, without mentioning the CBI’s own strong caveat that this information is “not fully reliable” since the router was “switched on and off on a number of occasions with long gaps, even when the police and visitors were in the apartment” during the day on 16th.

2. The order keeps circling around the key to Aarushi’s room. Since Nupur would normally have the key to Aarushi’s room near her when she slept, the CBI finds it suspicious that the parents couldn’t explain where the key was the next morning till it was discovered later — not accounting for how Nupur has stated — both to the CBI and successfully through the several lie detector, brain mapping and narco-analysis tests she’s passed — that she probably made the mistake of leaving the key in the door after visiting her child on 15th night.

3. Much is made of how the terrace door was found locked the morning after the murders and how this was unusual — but this seems to only strengthen the thinking that there must have been outside intruders, since they’d want to hide their tracks.

Public concern A candlelight vigil in Delhi afer the CBI’s closure report

PHOTO: GARIMA JAIN

4. A painter called Shohrat, say the CBI’s records, was asked by Rajesh Talwar to paint the wood-panelled section of the wall adjoining Aarushi’s and her parents’ room. Apparently, Rajesh paid Shohrat 25,000 to paint this wooden panelling the same colour as the rest of the walls — indicating that Rajesh tampered with evidence. But Shohrat recently clarified to the media that he was hired to paint the entirety of the Talwars’ Noida flat and not just the wooden panelling on one wall, and that this occurred in July 2009, more than a year after the murders when there were no bloodstains on the walls. The flat was lying vacant at that point since the Talwars had already moved to Delhi by then, and they claim to possess emails where the CBI granted them permission to renovate and rent out the flat.

The CBI has also not explained some of its other mystifying claims, such as how its ‘experts’ concluded that Aarushi was killed by someone close to her, or why they believe that Aarushi’s room door was open when she was attacked. Or why it ignores the commonsensical assumption that if the killers were the parents, why would they leave the whiskey bottle on the table — with bloodmarks and fingerprints — waiting for the police? Or why would they push the CBI to keep investigating the case if they were guilty — including pushing the CBI to do Touch DNA testing on the evidence, which the CBI has resolutely declined to do?

THERE IS one niggling detail in the court order that points a shy, giant finger at the larger story of how this murder case first spun out of control — how the UP Police grossly derailed the investigation. When asked why he didn’t open the terrace door after being told of the bloodstains on its door handle, one policeman called Dataram Noneria apparently said on record that he didn’t because the key couldn’t be found and he “forgot” to break the lock. one niggling detail in the court order that points a shy, giant finger at the larger story of how this murder case first spun out of control — how the UP Police grossly derailed the investigation. When asked why he didn’t open the terrace door after being told of the bloodstains on its door handle, one policeman called Dataram Noneria apparently said on record that he didn’t because the key couldn’t be found and he “forgot” to break the lock.

As this case finally goes to trial, are we paying attention only to red herrings?


gaurav.jain@tehelka.com

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From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 8, Issue 8, Dated 26 Feb 2011
 

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