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A case botched: deliberately?

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Dec 29, 2010

HT reports:

The parents of teenager Aarushi Talwar, who was murdered about two and half year ago, have decided to file appeal against the case closure report filed by CBI. Questioned whether they will file an appeal in the case, the parents’ lawyer Rebbecca John said “of course we will.” “This is not the last and final as far as we are concerned. We are the complainants in the case. They (parents) are being left in no position to even ask for the actual killer of their dead daughter being brought to book because of the manner in which their rights were compromised,” she said. Slain[ed] Aarushi’s mother Nupur Talwar expressed shock over the closure report filed by the agency.

“I am completely shocked. We tried everything. We underwent all tests so that there is no scope for any speculation and despite this filing of closure report by CBI is shocking,” Nupur said

Elsewhere HT reports very strong allegations:

Tampering with evidence in the Aarushi Talwar murder case with the victim’s vaginal swabs being swapped is one of the factors leading to the CBI seeking to close the murder as an unsolved case, a forensic expert involved in the investigations has said. “We were sent some slides which had the vaginal swab taken from the victim to check whether there has been a sexual assault and what came a shock was that the vaginal swab was not of the victim,” J Gowrishankar, director of the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting & Diagnostics, told NDTV.

“So there has been a very clear swap that has taken place and that was something we, as an institute, had communicated to CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) because that indicated that there was some one ensuring that the evidence has been tampered,” he said.

Gowrishankar said that it was one of the reasons the CBI was not able to solve the case.

“I would say it is one of the factors. When one looks back there were several points. First there was one agency investigating the case, then it was another and the chain of custody was clearly broken and that in itself is an indication that vested interests were involved,” he said.

The report also summarizes the infamous back story:

Aarushi, the daughter of dentist parents Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, was found murdered mysteriously in their Jalvayu Vihar apartment in Noida May 16, 2008. The family’s domestic help, Hemraj, whom Noida police initially suspected for the murder, was also found killed a day later on their flat’s terrace.

Rajesh Talwar was arrested and kept behind bars for 50 days in connection with the killings, but was later let off because of lack of evidence against him.

After Rajesh Talwar was let off, the CBI arrested his medical assistant Krishna and two other domestic helps in the neighbourhood Raj Kumar and Vijay Mandal.

All of them were freed after a period of detention while the CBI continued to hunt for material evidence in the case that caused sensation in Delhi and became the talking point across the country.

The investigating agency in January this year sought permission of a Ghaziabad court to conduct narco-analysis tests on Aarushi’s parents. They underwent the tests in an Ahmedabad forensic laboratory in February.

IE reports:

In the closure report filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday, Rajesh Talwar, father of the 14-year-old victim, Arushi Talwar, is repeatedly described as the “accused” in her murder case — the only one to be so called — along with a string of reasons why. These range from the careful manner in which the girl’s body was “cleaned” and the scene “dressed up” after the murder — the toys and pillows put in their original places — to the parents’ attempt to allegedly influence Arushi’s post mortem.

However, the agency admits, as first reported in The Indian Express on Thursday, that the father’s role may be under doubt but he was not being chargesheeted due to insufficient evidence.

The 30-page closure report states: “Sufficient evidence is not available to prove offence under Section 302 of the IPC against the accused Dr Rajesh Talwar beyond reasonable doubt.”

The Hindu added:

The Law Ministry did not interfere with the CBI’s investigation into the murder of Aarushi Talwar, but only requested the agency to take a re-look at the case in view of the public sentiment after the closure report was filed, Union Minister for Law and Justice M. Veerappa Moily clarified on Sunday.

The Law Ministry could not give any directive to the CBI, as it was an independent agency, he said, talking to journalists after attending an alumni meeting of the Visvesvaraya College of Engineering here.

“I convened a meeting of CBI officials in the wake of the public sentiment and requested the CBI to have a relook at the closure report filed by it in the court in the Aarushi murder case,” he said.

On December 29, the CBI filed a closure report, saying there was no available evidence at the crime scene to pursue the probe into the murder that shocked the nation two years ago.

Jan 3, 2011

IE reports:

The special CBI court in Ghaziabad on Monday questioned the investigating agency on its hurry to file the closure report in the sensational murder case of teenager Aarushi Talwar.

The closure report was filed on December 29 before a remand magistrate and not in the concerned Ghaziabad court which has been hearing the case all through.

Special Judicial Magistrate (CBI) Preeti Singh on Monday scolded CBI counsel R K Saini when he submitted the closure report before her. She asked him why the CBI had not come to the concerned court first.

“What was the hurry (in filing a closure report)? Where are the documents (annexures) of the closure report?” the magistrate asked Saini as soon as the hearing began.

“Our process is that we file the closure report when a decision in this regard is taken,” Saini replied. He also said the CBI submitted the report in a hurry because it wanted to clear backlog.

The magistrate then registered the closure report and gave time to the investigating officer to also submit the annexures.

The court is now expected to decide whether the case should be re-investigated.

Later in the afternoon, the court fixed January 7 as the day it will hear the plea on the CBI’s closure report.

Meanwhile, the court also rejected the teenager’s father Rajesh Talwar’s plea to challenge the agency’s findings. In its closure report, the CBI had named him as the prime suspect but said it did not have the evidence to prosecute him.

Feb 9, 2011

NDTV reports:

Shocked over the CBI special court ordering their trial for the murder of their teenage daughter Aarushi, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar on Wednesday said there is no justice in India and that it is a ‘banana republic’.

“It is nothing but a banana republic. There is no law in this country,” a sobbing Rajesh Talwar told a news channel at his Azad Apartments residence near IIT-Delhi in the southern part of the city.

According to Talwar, a dentist, he has tried everything over the last two-and-half years to prove his innocence.

“I have undergone each and every possible test and I am ready to do every possible thing in this world. Why doesn’t anybody try to believe me? We have lost our child and this is what they think of a person who has lost his child. Why are they doing this to us, I cannot understand,” he said.

Rejecting a closure report on the murder of Aarushi, a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Wednesday ordered that Rajesh and Nupur Talwar be tried for the killing.

They have been summoned to appear in court February 28.

Feb 11, 2011

Tehelka revisits the incident and firmly blames the police and the CBI for botching the investigation and then covering up by throwing mud at the parents of the murdered girl:

The morning saw heavy traffic in the apartment, with the police, well-wishers, family and friends all milling through their respective functions in such a tragedy. The Noida police took Rajesh’s statement for him to file a FIR. On examining the body, the police suspected the injuries must have been caused by a khukri, a curved Nepali knife. The sub inspector was followed by senior officers, who were followed by the Noida Police Crime Team, all of whom examined Aarushi’s room and body that day. The Talwars claim Aarushi’s body was inspected several times by these successive teams.

The crime team’s photos later that day don’t reflect the quieter state of the room and body that the couple had originally found their child in that morning. The CBI’s conjectures about the state of the body and the room are based on these police photos.

The police did not secure the crime scene and allowed anyone who wished, including the media, into the apartment. They did not bring in sniffer dogs to pick up the scent of the killers. They could not identify the fingerprints on the most obvious piece of evidence — the whiskey bottle they seized that morning that had both Aarushi’s and Hemraj’s bloodstains. Most of the other forensic evidence was already compromised with the crowding in the house. Without a sense of how much they had bungled their leads and without any actual investigation, in between confident calls to Nupur for more cups of tea, the Noida police too assumed Hemraj was the culprit and was on the run — probably back to Nepal.

Dr Praful Durrani told TEHELKA that on that morning of the 16th, he noticed what looked like a spot of blood on the door handle leading to the terrace. When he called a policeman to the door, the policeman touched the spot with his finger and flicked it away, dismissing it as rust and announcing that the door hadn’t been opened in weeks. When Durrani showed him what looked like another spot of blood on the floor, the policeman was just as dismissive. Eventually he was persuaded to try to open and investigate the terrace. But a hunt for the key led nowhere and the policeman just let the door be. Durrani says he told all this to the CBI’s first team. The CBI’s second team never took his statement and has not mentioned his earlier statement in the closure report.

At the postmortem house the party had to wait a while for the staff to arrive. Soon the police said they couldn’t sit around waiting, so would they please vacate the jeep? Dinesh tried to find a spot of shade in the angry sun and sat on the ground with his dead niece’s body in his lap. Once the doors opened, Dinesh and Ajay were appalled by the putrid, dank conditions and Ajay got supplies to get the place cleaned up.

The postmortem report ruled out rape for Aarushi. When they returned to the house after the postmortem, the family placed Aarushi’s body over slabs of smoky ice to preserve it in the heat. The media’s fury tightened its grip on their home. The last rites began. Nupur was distraught. Rajesh was beside himself, banging his head and moaning. Both sank deeper into their grief.

Once the body was sent to the cremation ground later that day, the CBI says the Talwars’ staff showed “undue haste” in cleaning Aarushi’s room with soap and water. The Talwars say instead that Nupur’s mother Lata Chitnis and their clinic manager Vikas Sethi received permission from the police who were present to clean the house. The Talwars say a) the police presented no objections to this since they said they’d already collected all necessary evidence b) Sethi also asked the police at this point whether they wished to collect Aarushi’s bloody blanket and mattress on the bed, and the police demurred again replying this wasn’t necessary since a part of the mattress had already been collected by the investigating team c) The police suggested to Sethi that, given the media clamour downstairs, the mattress should be taken to the terrace for now. When Sethi found the Talwars’ terrace locked and could not find the key, he placed the items on a neighbouring terrace.

The Talwars have been pulled through some of our society’s darkest anxieties. They never got a chance to finish the formal grieving period after Aarushi’s death since the police threw Rajesh in jail. Do they dare look outward to find hope again? In 2010, the Talwar family and their friends started Aarushi’s Legacy (www.theaarushilegacy.org), a social initiative to provide medical relief to sick and underprivileged children, support parents affected by crime against their children and to reduce crime against the girl child. So far, they’ve done two health check-up camps in Delhi for a few hundred children.

As this story goes to press, the special CBI court in Ghaziabad has, shockingly, made the Talwars accused in the case, charged them with destruction of evidence and asked the CBI to chargesheet them. While the closure report only put Rajesh as the suspect, the CBI court has gone even further and charged Nupur also with murder. Justice must not be carried out on the basis of a type or a class. Justice must be delivered upon an individual case. If in the unlikely event the murders of Aarushi Talwar and Hemraj Banjade never interested you or repulsed you with their pulp fiction narrative, turn instead to the gripping social document that is the CBI’s closure report. It may tell you far more about India than what you want to know. It may tell you what could happen to you — if your bubble burst.

Jan 14, 2012

The Week reports:

Truth sometimes can be stranger than fiction. Three years since [sic] the brutal murder of Delhi teenager Aarushi Talwar and her domestic help Hemraj on May 15, 2008, the only truth to have emerged is Lord Byron’s statement. In a case marked with twists and turns, botched up investigations, dead ends and conspiracy theories, the Supreme Court has added another chapter by ordering the slain girl’s parents, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, to stand trial.

The Supreme Court was upholding the orders of a trial court, which named the couple as accused last year. Rajesh and Nupur had first moved the Allahabad High Court to dismiss the summons of the trial court, only to have their plea dismissed. The couple had then approached the apex court. On January 9, it ruled that Rajesh would remain on bail till February 4, when the Talwars are to appear before the trial court.

The Supreme Court’s decision was based on the CBI report which unequivocally said “no outsider was involved in the crime”. Ironically, the CBI’s closure report, filed on December 29, 2010, had stated that “sufficient evidence is not available to prove the offence U/s 302/201 IPC against accused Dr Rajesh Talwar beyond reasonable doubt”.

The CBI now faces the unenviable task of fighting the case on the same evidence that it once felt was inconclusive. In its argument before the Supreme Court, the CBI theorised that Rajesh attacked Hemraj with a golf club upon finding him with Aarushi. The daughter died as the blows landed on her forehead when Hemraj fell aside. Will it be difficult to prove the theory? “I don’t think there is any difficulty,” says CBI counsel Harin P. Rawal.
Satish Tamta, who had earlier appeared for the Talwars, says the CBI closure report was just for form’s sake. But lawyers with no association to the case feel that the CBI has sufficient evidence to go ahead with the prosecution. Even Aarushi’s acquaintances, earlier firm in their faith in the parents’ innocence, find themselves wavering now. “I knew Aarushi through common friends. She was a very quiet girl and this came as a big shock,” says 22-year-old Harsh, who organised a candlelight vigil for the slain girl last year. “I don’t want to point fingers, but the evidence points in their direction.” However, those who have known the Talwars for years bristle at any such mention.

Apr 30, 2012

Deccan Herald reports:

A CBI court here Monday rejected the bail plea of denist Nupur Talwar, an accused in the 2008 murder of her daughter Aarushi and the family’s domestic help Hemraj. Her lawyer said an appeal would be filed in a sessions court.

Nupur Talwar was taken into custody Monday morning, shortly after surrendering before a special court hearing the case. She applied for bail immediately after her arrest, but the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) opposed the plea.

Her lawyer said an appeal would be filed in a sessions court later Monday.
Nupur Talwar, who faced a non-bailable warrant issued by the CBI special court here after she failed to appear in court as directed, surrendered before CBI special magistrate Preeti Singh.

On Friday, the Supreme Court had directed Nupur Talwar to surrender before the magistrate’s court. The apex court bench, headed by Justice A.K. Patnaik, had said she could apply for bail after surrendering and the court would decide on the issue expeditiously and on merit.

The apex court had passed the order while adjourning till Friday the hearing of her Nupur Talwar review petition of its order directing her to face trial in the double murder case.

IE reports on the current situation of the woman who, along with her husband, was responsible for reviving the case after the police had buried it once:

Nupur Talwar, mother of murdered teenager Aarushi, was today jailed after a special CBI court rejected her bail application in the case of murder of her 14-year-old daughter and domestic help in Noida four years ago.

Nupur, a dentist by profession, broke down on hearing the decision of Additional District and Sessions Judge Shyamlal who rejected her interim bail plea and posted the application for regular bail for hearing tomorrow.

She would have to spend at least tonight and will be lodged in barrack number 13 of the district jail where her husband Rajesh had earlier spent 50 days after his arrest in the case.

A shattered Nupur, who had the company of her husband and a few relatives in the special CBI court where she was waiting in judicial custody, was taken by women constables in a police van to Dasna jail.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

December 29, 2010 at 4:35 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Dear Sir
    Is experty of our CBI investigation is only to the point when all evidence are intact where nothing is tampered when the criminal in unqualified in commiting crime and come easy in their hand are CBI not train do to difficult job with intelligent criminal those who are oversmart .

    If a department is force to reinvestigate the case in which they have showm thier failure and now due to pressure they might not follow tradition and try to cover up give can make innocent people suffer . Cant the investigation be handed over to expert and confirm the finding of early investigation this will help first to find out if the early investigation were proper has there been any lope and secondly reinvesgate the case freshly saving the innocent from being predice

    Gulam Mohd Qadri

    February 10, 2011 at 11:12 am

    • Although I find it hard to agree with you on details, primarily because I can’t figure it out, I can sympathize with your sense of indignation. Indeed the investigation seems to have been shoddy in the extreme.

      Arhopala Bazaloides

      February 10, 2011 at 2:25 pm

  2. […] follows up a report on the Aarushi-Hemraj double murder case with a report on the case in court. One chilling […]


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