By Anugraha Hadke:
The murder of the 13 year old Aarushi Talwar in her own bedroom, while her parents were allegedly asleep in the next room had the makings of India’s own Poirot-esque mystery.
From the start, this tragedy has been dark and murky, with no logical explanation ever coming to surface. When the Talwar’s house help, Hemraj, was found on the roof with this throat slit open, the plot thickened further.
When the needle of suspicion started turning towards the parents, the whole nation was probably shaken up. While many believe that the grieving parents are victims of this horror, the other half finds it as the answer that most closely resembled sanity in this madness. Even then, it is hard to understand what motive anyone could have had to kill their only child.
It has been two years since Nupur and Rajesh Talwar were sentenced to life for the murder of their daughter, seven since the incident, but there doesn’t seem to be any closure. Senior journalist Avirook Sen has retold the story of the trial and investigation in his second book titled ‘Aarushi’.
“The possibility of a great narrative emerging dawned on me, only after I started covering the trial in June 2012. There were the hearings that turned more bizarre by the day,” Sen explained in an interview.
Several excerpts of the book have been published on various forums that make for quite a gripping read. One such excerpt is one which talks about the investigation process, and the ambiguity in the methods of DNA testing:
“Dr Sunil Kumar Dohare, the medical officer who conducted the post-mortem on Aarushi’s body, appeared in court that summer to say what he had earlier told Kaul. That Aarushi’s vaginal cavity was so dilated he could see her cervix. When he was asked why he hadn’t recorded these facts in his autopsy report, Dohare gave a slightly different answer from what he had told Kaul. Then he had said his findings were ‘non-specific’ and ‘very strange’. Now he told the court that they were ‘subjective’.”
Another accounts of an interesting conversation the author had with the director of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) of the CBI regarding the lie detector tests conducted for the case:
“The most important point of convergence was their independent admissions that they were with Hemraj late that night. The problem was that Krishna said Rajkumar committed the murders, and Rajkumar said Krishna committed the murders. Outside of the tests, when questioned by the police, all three claimed alibis: each said he was asleep, at home, and not at the Talwars’ flat.”
Both these sections clearly try to present the gaping holes in the entire process of investigation.
A third excerpt, consists of diary entries written by Rajesh Talwar while in jail, expressing the stress of being in prison and constantly missing his daughter. However, those familiar with Gone Girl, will know that diary entries, can be vastly misleading, and potentially dangerous.
Divided in three parts between the investigation, trial, and the Talwars’ lives in jail, it looks like Sen’s book goes through the Aarushi case with a fine-toothed comb, and tries to bring out little known or completely overlooked pieces of information of the case that could raise more questions, create more doubt in the minds of those already unsure of the Talwars’ conviction, make their supporters find renewed motivation, and even make the non-believers a little uncomfortable.
Only a thorough reading of the book will make clear whether Sen has presented a balanced report of his findings, or if he is trying too hard to make the Talwars seem innocent. The book will either provide some closure to this horrific incident, or open another can of worms.
Book excerpt courtesy Penguin Books India.