To decide whether a person is guilty of any crime is not my job, its the job of a judge. To portray someone as hero or villain is also not my job, its the job of a film director or book writer.
I have been following the Aarushi-hemraj murder case trial for about three years. The case was a Bermuda Triangle until CBI solved its mystery last month. But did it really happened that way? Am not satisfied. Its not that I have got any conclusive proof to declare the convicted couple guilt free but its the basis of judgement which surprised me.
PREVIOUS FAMOUS CASE BASED ON CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE
In 1974 former District and Session judge of Dhubri District Assam, Upen Rajkhowa was convicted and later hanged for his heinous crime of beheading his three daughters and his wife. The judgement of that case was historical as it was the first case under Indian Penal Code(IPC) to be decided on the basis of circumstantial evidence. That case was far more easy as Rajkhowa admitted to his crime during the trial.You will find the details of the case in the following link.
NOIDA DOUBLE MURDER CASE
on the night of 15–16 May 2008, a twin murder shook the National Capital as well as the whole country. Aarushi Talwar, a class IX student of Delhi Public School, Noida and daughter of Dental Surgeon Duo Dr. Rajesh Talwar and Dr. Nupur Talwar was found murdered in her bedroom in the wee hours of the morning. The immediate suspect of the murder was Hemraj Banjade, domestic help of the Talwars, who went missing following the death of Aarushi. But the picture took a turn for the worse as Hemraj’s decomposed body was found in the terrace the following day.
One of the most difficult challenges a crime scene analyst faces is not knowing the area of the suspects: Geography, sociology, history, popular culture or employment pattern. That way, a crime scene analyst is only as good or bad as his knowledge. The crime scene analysis of the Aarushi-Hemraj case is still based on circumstantial evidence. So many interpretations and versions have appeared over time that each piece of puzzle lends itself to the perspective of those reviewing it. To CBI, a surefire indicator of the parents’ criminality was that they could not explain why Aarushi’s door was not locked on the night of the crime. As judge Shyam Lal wrote in his verdict: “No explanation has been offered by the accused as to how the lock of Ms Aarushi’s room was opened and by whom.” But to Nupur, it was “the biggest mistake” of her life. “That night I may have left the keys in the door itself.”
The scene of crime was the Talwar home in Jalvayu Vihar, Noida. The Talwars lived in a 1,300 sq ft, well-appointed, two-bedroom, second floor flat in a reputable neighbourhood of Noida. It was a flat with plenty of entrances and doors: An iron grill door and a wooden door on the same frame, and an outer iron grill door. Hemraj’s room was inside the flat, just off the main entrance. The Talwars had their own terrace, via a staircase from the common area outside. Aarushi’s room, right next to her parents, was locked from outside every night, although she could open it anytime. Hemraj had all the keys, except to AarushiÂfs room. Here are a few open-ended situations that confront us: What happened that night? Here’s what is known:
Tuesday, May 15, 2008, 10 p.m. to 12.08 a.m., JALVAYU VIHAR
Aarushi tries to focus on Chetan Bhagat’s new book, The 3 Mistakes of My Life. Just two more days of school, then the big birthday bash: A sleepover party on May 19. She loosens the strings of her blue pyjama, the elastic is enough. Her mother enters, “to switch on the Internet router for daddy”. Rajesh wants to work some more on the computer in Aarushi’s room, his laptop isn’t functioning. He sends out a few emails, while mother and daughter chat. Then they leave, forgetting to lock her door from outside, as they do every day.
May 17, afternoon, TERRACE
K.K. Gautam, a retired DSP, decides to drop by at his neighbour Talwar’s place. On a policeman’s hunch, he starts checking the flat: Why are three bottles of Sula wine, Kingfisher beer and Sprite lying in Hemraj’s room? Have there been more people in the flat that night? What about the three glasses? Why is Hemraj’s bed dented, as if three people were sitting on it? Why is there so much urine in Hemraj’s bathroom? Excited, he follows the trail of bloodstains on the stairs near the terrace and finds a bloody terrace, a blood-soaked handprint, a cooler filled with blood-red water and a decomposed body lying in a corner, head bludgeoned like Aarushi’s, throat similarly slit, and many injury marks on the body. “It was in such a bad shape under a hot May sun for two days, Rajesh could not identify Hemraj,” he says.
By May 23 morning, Inspector-General of Police Gurdarshan Singh has declared it an “honour killing”. “Both father and daughter had poor character,” he says at a packed press conference: On the night of the murder, Rajesh is awake till late, he says, as the home Internet router is on till 3 a.m. He hears a sound from Aarushi’s room, finds Hemraj in her bed, and incensed with rage, clubs both to death. Nupur helps him to complete the crime: They slit necks, drag HemrajÂfs body to the terrace, dress up crime scene, wipe out evidence.
“In crime, perception is often unrelated to reality,” says Dr Manju Mehta, professor of clinical psychology at AIIMS. And one of the biggest problems of the case was the perception of the parents. In the days immediately following the discovery of the murders, the behaviour of Talwars was viewed as unusual by police and by the public. For days, when Nupur maintained a stoic silence, TV channels went: “Ma, why are you silent” When she finally spoke on television, her steely composure was commented upon: “She’s so unemotional”, “She didn’t even cry”. “It’s a stigma the parents could never live down,” says Mehta. “But grief is a personal journey. It’s also a cultural process. Across the world, societies differ in what they regard as normal grief.”
“There is no substantial evidence against the Talwars. Krishna misled us,Âh Arun Kumar, CBI joint director, begins his press conference. His team has inspected the Talwars’f flat using scientific equipment, like polylight, for tracing blood or semen not visible to the naked eye. “There’s no sign of dragging a body to the terrace,” he says. In Aarushi’s room, there is no blood or DNA of Hemraj. Dummy sound tests have revealed that nothing can be heard in the Talwars bedroom with the ACs on. Nupur and Rajesh are wearing the same clothes the night before and morning after. And cleaning up of crime scene has been done with the permission of the Noida police.
But by September 2009, Arun Kumar is removed from the case. A new CBI team takes over, based in Dehradun and Lucknow, with AGL Kaul as the investigating officer. Within 15 days, critical changes appear in the case: From post-mortem evidence, new weapon of offence, and cleaning up of crime scene. Finally CBI files a closure report, naming Rajesh as the main suspect, but unable to prove it: “Critical gaps in circumstantial evidence, “absence of clear-cut motive” and “incomplete understanding of sequence of events”. The three domestic workers, however, are absolved. The Talwars file a protest petition, challenging each finding of the report and asking for further investigation. The consequence? Charges are framed against the Talwars and Nupur, who has not been an accused, now becomes one.
June 11,2012-November 12, 2013, CBI COURT
What happens when doctors do not agree with each other, change their statements and get “subjective” instead of scientific? Dr Sunil Dohre, a public health specialist called on to do Aarushi’s post-mortem, has changed his take on Aarushi’s post-mortem five times from May 2008 to September 2009. And he fails to explain why from “abnormalities detected” in genitals he changed his take to vagina as “abnormally expanded”. Or why he never wrote about golf club or scalpel injuries in the post-mortem. According to Dr R.K. Sharma, former head of forensic science, AIIMS, neither golf clubs nor scalpels can cause such injuries. Â”Scalpel is such a small instrument, it can only cut skin layer by layer. Not deep wound like cutting a carotid artery,” he says.
Dr Naresh Raj, who conducted Hemraj’s post-mortem, talks about surgical cuts on Hemraj’s neck for the first time in October 2009. But his theory, that Hemraj’s sexual organ was swollen, indicating coitus before murder, comes a year and-a-half after he did the postmortem. All his claims, he says, are based on his “experience as a married man”. Serologist S.K. Singla of CFSL of Delhi, has claimed that Aarushi’s bedroom door was ajar. Any scientific basis for this? No, just an Âgobservation.Âh Andrei Semikhodskii, Director of Medical Genomics Ltd. in London says, “I looked thoroughly at DNA reports. They have not been presented properly.”
THE CASE CONTINUES
The search for truth behind the tragic killings has been plagued by continual speculation, shoddy probe, recurrent flip-flops and a snake-pit of infighting among investigating agencies. To senior advocate Rebecca John, this case is a textbook example of “the dangers of an irresponsible investigation, of being guided not by evidence placed on record, but by the public perception of a narrative set up without access to real facts and the consequent breakdown of criminal justice system.”
But the collateral damage is more. “In investigating Aarushi’s death, CBI has destroyed a family,” says Paradkar. Rajesh’s brother, Dinesh Talwar, has a single-point agenda in his life: To fight for his little brother.
“And then there is Avni, the daughter of Nupur’s brother Samir,” Paradkar adds. “Samir and his wife rushed back from Dubai when they heard of the murder in 2008. Just as they reached the Talwars’ flat, Aarushi’s body was carried out. They could not prevent Avni from seeing her beloved Aarushi didi like that. Just four, Avni went into a shock.” What sustains the family is a special star in the sky: A star Avni blows kisses at and sometimes talks to.
“It’s an idea that gives us a measure of comfort. We call it the Aarushi star.” Rajesh and Nupur are lodged in the harsh Dasna jail. Their legal team is gearing up to move higher courts within 60 days, “to clear Aarushi’s name”. That’s just the first step in the long legal battle ahead. Meantime, Aarushi’s close friends, Rajeshwari and Fiza, are spearheading campaigns and protest marches to stop character assassination. The “GIVE Aarushi Talwar Justice” campaign on Facebook is a community of over 55,000 netizens.
What about the parents? They’ve survived waves of stigma. They have inflamed our curiosity. They have invited analysis. They have been called “monster parents” in the past and “freaks in the history of mankind” now. They have borne it all with stoic determination. Yet on November 25, as CBI Judge Shyam Lal pronounced them guilty, five years of grief, loss and suffering gave way to tears. For now, the curtain has come down on the most controversial and captivating murder of our times.