Journalist Avirook Sen has written "Aarushi", a new book on the murder of 13-year-old Aarushi Talwar, whose parents Rajesh and Nupur have been convicted for murdering her and their domestic help Hemraj in 2008.1.
It is likely that there were more people in the house on the night of the murders according to material I accessed and interviews I conducted. This means the simple math used by the CBI of there were four people in the house, two are dead (Aarushi and Hemraj), so the other two are their killers does not work. But despite having the evidence, the CBI chose not to pursue that line of investigation at all. There are clear indications of the presence of other domestic helpers (who were arrested and then released) in their narco narrations; those who conducted the tests say that what was revealed during the tests does suggest that other people were present.2.
Where are the murder weapons? The CBI never seized any of the Talwars' dental equipment that it claims was used to kill Aarushi. In fact, the investigators had no clue what a dental scalpel looked like, leave alone understand what kind of cuts it could inflict; they didn't even bother to buy one to check. As for Rajesh Talwar's golf clubs - the one that had supposedly been 'cleaned' (and was therefore the weapon of offence) was not the one that the prosecution presented in court as the weapon. After having said all along that the Talwars wiped the stains off one club, the prosecutors told the court that it wasn't that club after all, it was another club - one like all the rest, with no evidence of having been wiped clean.3.
Witnesses may have been coerced/blackmailed/schooled. The clearest proof of this is in the testimony of domestic help Bharti Mandal, who worked briefly with the Talwars, where she says she was testifying exactly what was 'explained' to her. In the case of others, like doctors who conducted the post-mortem, and retired policeman KK Gautam who was a key witness for the CBI, there are clear suggestions that there may have been an element of blackmail. The investigating officer in the case had done exactly the same kind of thing in other cases he had handled - and appeared to be valued by the CBI for the ends he achieved.4.
The trial judge who convicted the Talwars ignored what was happening and being recorded in his own court. For instance, in his judgment, he attempted to establish the motive of the crimes by saying that Hemraj's pillow and blood were found in Aarushi's room (the theory offered is that the Talwars killed Aarushi and Hemraj after finding them in bed together). But the pillow was in fact recovered from Hemraj's room - a fact that became clear when the actual item was displayed in the trial court before the trial judge.5.
The complete disregard for the integrity of forensic evidence: several pieces of evidence were illegally unsealed in this case. The pillow covers, golf clubs, clothing, all of these were compromised. Photographs of the crime scene were also manipulated - some of them showed that events that took place say, on a Friday, were shot by the photographer on Thursday! All this is a matter of public record.6.
The crudely manipulative conduct of the prosecution: once again, this a matter of record and detailed in the book. The CBI invented a macabre e-mail address to send all its official communication to the Talwars, a tactic to intimidate them. It then lied about creating and using this email ID, and of course got caught lying. The defence would often not be told who the prosecution was going to examine on a particular day. The Talwars' lawyers were expected to cross examine even expert witnesses without preparation. When the time came for the defence to produce its witnesses, the CBI said none of the 13 the Talwars wanted to call (against the CBI's 39) were relevant, they would all waste the court's time. In the end the judge allowed 7 defence witnesses.7.
Witnesses were dropped because they would have blown apart the prosecution case. The CBI started with a list of 141 relied-upon witnesses, it stopped at 39. Many of those listed and later dropped had contrary tales to tell about what happened at the crime scene and during the investigation.8.
The Talwars weren't given access to critical documents despite High Court orders. In order to assess whether a DNA report had got things right, one needs the details of the tests conducted, or the raw data. The Allahabad High Court quoted British law extensively to say that the defence had the right to this data so that it could approach its own experts. The CBI simply said that it did not have this data, and that the Talwars were only trying to delay the trial by asking for material. The judge agreed with this position. So the Talwars and their lawyers never saw any of the possibly game-changing data.9.
Several of the documents submitted to court appear forged: this list is long, and the details are in the book. But among these documents are panchnamas
(police documents) into which sentences were inserted; tags of forensic labs that were supposedly official were written out on scraps of paper, these were crude and error-filled. Witnesses' statements have sly inserts in them, and declare they have been read over and signed by the people making the statements when they clearly haven't.10.
The unrelenting focus on the conduct of the Talwars. If this was such an open-and-shut case, then why wasn't hard evidence relied upon? Why was it that witnesses were simply brought in to say the Talwars weren't weeping when their daughter was found dead? One of them claimed that he drove 56 km a day for his morning walk all the way to Noida, then visited the crime scene out of curiosity on the morning the murders were discovered. He apparently saw no grief of the parents' face. But what was he doing there? More importantly, was he there at all?Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.