The Arushi Murder Case: Where Have We Reached?

Posted on May 8, 2012 in Society

By Girija Semuwal:

“Legal history is replete with instances of matricide, fratricide and patricide. Everything is possible in these days of the modern era wherein moral values are fast declining and one can stoop to the lowest extent.”

This clear comment on the possibility of a mother killing her daughter was made by an Additional Sessions judge of a Ghaziabad sessions court that was hearing the bail plea of Mrs. Nupur Talwar. She is in Dasna jail and will remain there for the time being. Her plea for release has been rejected on all grounds legal and moral. She is accused of murdering her daughter Aarushi and her domestic help Hemraj, and of “obliterating the evidence” for the same.

For the first time, the precarious see-saw of the eventual verdict in this case, seems to be tipping away from providing relief to Nupur Talwar. And it may just hit the ground with a loud thud, with Nupur tied to it and nobody seated on the other side.

Whether she did it, or did not, the truth has long been obscured, because of which no amount of journalistic analysis will be credible enough to give a clear conclusion. Solely responsible for this, is the manner in which the investigation was done, especially by CBI.

On May 18 2008, two days after young Aarushi was found murdered in her flat, the UP Police said that they suspect an “insider job” because of the “surgical precision” with which the murder had been done. Directly or indirectly, they suspected the Talwar parents since they saw no other possibility. Perhaps they had a direction to reach the truth in the case, or at least what it seems to be now, but their own credibility and image had them no chance against surmounting public pressure for a CBI inquiry.

On June 1, to an emphatic “thumbs up” from the public and the media, CBI took over the case. In their report submitted to the investigation agency, the UP police had mentioned what in their view of investigation was the most likely conclusion — the Talwars were allegedly behind the double murders. They had already arrested Dr. Rajesh Talwar, which that time was seen as scandalous and met with fierce opposition. But the CBI took the case on a completely different trajectory by bringing into their focus Rajesh Talwars’ orderly Krishna and Vijay Mandal, the domestic help who worked for the Talwars’ neighbor.

Whatever their spokesperson may have said initially or later, the obvious fact is the CBI took little cognizance of the police’s inputs who had probed the matter in the very beginning. On June 26, CBI declared the case to be a “blind case”, with no conclusive evidence found. Their subsequent operations now focused on conducting the Narco-analysis and polygraph tests of Nupur and Rajesh Talwar along with the Krishna and other servants suspected in the case. In their closure report to the trial court at the end of 2009, year and a half after Aarushi and Hemraj’s murder, they named Nupur and Rajesh and prime suspects and gave a clean chit to the servants. So within their own minds, the CBI took a lot of time, which involved a consistent shift of suspicion, to be internally convinced within themselves.

This reflects poorly on their handling of the case; which is the reason why the CBI’s argument for Nupur Talwar’s conviction rests less on concrete evidence and more on the allegation that she tried to evade prosecution and arrests. This so-called “evasion”, in all possibility, could be an outcome of the attitude developed by the accused because of the events and how they transpired in all these years rather than a symptom of flight from the inevitable triumph of truth in the case.

This latter thought, if being entertained by anybody who’s writing or debating about what’s unfolding, would be a fallacy. The only truth is that the damage done to the truth in the Aarushi case is beyond repair.