Framed? The Talwars Murder Trial

An explosive and detailed analysis of the country’s most famous murder trial

June 21, 2013 in People, Politics
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At this moment, in a CBI court in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, events are unfolding that might eventually go down as one of the most shameful scandals in India’s legal history.

This is a story that should frighten everybody. It’s a story of colossal incompetence and prejudice; a story about a wilful miscarriage of justice. It’s a story that could happen to anyone in the country.

Here’s how it unfolds. Until the intervening night of 15 and 16 May 2008, the Talwars were just an ordinary middle-class Indian family. Rajesh and Nupur Talwar were dentists; their 13-year old daughter Aarushi was a pretty, vivacious grade 9 student in Delhi Public School (DPS), Noida. By all accounts, they were a happy, very close-knit family. On the night of 15 May, Dr Rajesh Talwar had bought his daughter a camera: her birthday was coming up on the 24th; the venue for a celebratory party with her friends had been booked for 18 May. Delighted with her present, Aarushi took pictures of herself and her parents. The clock on the wall behind her showed 10.10 pm.

By the morning of 16 May, all of this had irrevocably and devastatingly changed. Aarushi was found brutally murdered in her bed, her head bludgeoned, her throat slit. At first, the prime suspect was the Talwar’s live-in house help, Hemraj, who was missing from the house. But a day later, on 17 May, Hemraj’s body was found on the terrace, his head similarly bludgeoned, his throat slit.

Since that discovery, the “Aarushi-Hemraj double murder” has become the stuff of urban legend. Everyone knows about it; everyone has an opinion. It’s as if the facts no longer matter.

The discovery of Hemraj’s body had another impact: it triggered a juggernaut that has not stopped till this day. Soon after the find, before any investigation could bear fruit, the Noida police called a press conference and began to spin a conjectural story that has grown and grown, till it seems almost impossible to dislodge. The media fed on this story with an almost crazed frenzy, throwing every modicum of journalistic propriety and fact-checking to the wind.

Suddenly, the Talwars found they were not human beings anymore. They were not parents who had just suffered the most catastrophic tragedy. They were not even just ordinary suspects, pending further inquiry and proof. They were merely ready meat.

Over the last five years, the media has mashed and cooked and masticated this story in any way they choose. The Talwars have been completely stripped of their humanity: now you can mount any story on them and it holds good. Nobody has to prove anything; no one has to be logical; no one has to apply their mind.

They are their child’s murderers. They are wife-swappers. Rajesh was having an affair. Aarushi was not their real child. They didn’t cry enough. They looked too composed. They had dressed the scene of crime. They had acted on sudden and grave provocation. They had found their 13-year-old daughter in a compromising position with their 45-year-old servant. The neck injuries were made by a surgical scalpel, by surgically trained people. Rajesh used a golf club to bludgeon his daughter and servant. No one else was present in the house that night. There was no forced entry. Rajesh had seemed reluctant to open the terrace door for the police. They had interfered with the post-mortem report. They had cleaned out the evidence.

Search your memory: chances are you won’t have to search deep. If you think of the Aarushi-Hemraj murder, all or some of these assumptions are sure to leap at you. Screaming headlines, television reconstructions of dark silhouettes, a 13-year-old girl having sex with a naked man, a father with a raised golf club, hysterical background music, incessant police and CBI theories put out in the public domain. All of this has done the trick. This is now a closed case: the Talwars have already been convicted in the public mind society’s desire for vicarious spectacle. There are enough accounts from family and friends of how Rajesh had banged his head on the wall and been mad with grief, how Nupur had cried hysterically on the phone, how they both had been in severe shock, how decisions were being made for them by everyone else around them those fateful days. But the media grievance is, why didn’t they do this for public consumption, why not on TV debates?

Even so, ultimately, this unconscionable public trial would have been irrelevant if the judicial process had stayed on the rails. But before you read what’s happening in the trial court in Ghaziabad, before you read what real evidence there is either against or in favour of the Talwars, consider this:

For a brief period after Hemraj’s body was found, the needle of suspicion had moved towards Hemraj’s friends — three domestic staff and workers who lived in the area. Krishna, a helper in Rajesh Talwar’s clinic; Raj Kumar, a house-help with Dr Praful and Anita Durrani, who were the Talwars’ friends; and Vijay Mandal, who worked at another neighbour’s house.

During this time, both the Talwars and these aides were put through two sets each of polygraph tests, brain mapping tests, lie detector tests, and narcoanalysis.

Mark this: both Nupur and Rajesh Talwar showed absolutely no deception in their tests. They also showed no knowledge of the crime.

The aides, on the other hand, particularly Krishna and Rajkumar, showed deception in their lie detector tests. Even more crucially, their narco tests pointed to their involvement in the crime. They admitted to their presence in the house that night, described the sequence of the crime, the murder weapon, and how Aarushi and Hemraj’s phones were disposed of. Arun Kumar, the head of the CBI team investigating the murder, held a press conference on 11 July 2008, sharing cautious details of these tests with the media.

This was a serious breakthrough. Narco tests are not admissible as legal evidence, but they are important indicators of which way an investigation should head. Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act also says if any incriminatory discoveries are obtained pursuant to a voluntarily administered narco test, then these discoveries become legally admissible. This, read with a Supreme Court judgment in Selvi & Others vs State of Karnataka (2010), could have made the beginnings of a strong case.

As things turned out, two major discoveries — one of them absolutely explosive — emerged from Krishna’s narco. But let’s come to that a little later in this story.

Despite this breakthrough, things could not reach any logical end. In September 2009, investigating officer Arun Kumar was taken off the case. A new CBI team took over, with AGL Kaul as the investigating officer. With this change of team, the case suddenly took a new and malicious twist. While it would have been fair to continue investigating both sets of suspects — the Talwars and the domestic aides — inexplicably, after the new team took over, the leads on the aides were allowed to go cold; the pursuit of the Talwars intensified.

Despite this, in December 2010, the CBI had to file a closure report on the case, citing “critical and substantial gaps” in the evidence against the Talwars, an “absence of a clear cut motive”, and an “incomplete understanding of the sequence of events”.

One would imagine this — an absence of substantial evidence and motive, the two most important markers of a murder — would have been enough to absolve the parents of murdering their only daughter. Yet, the CBI named the Talwars as the chief suspect while giving a complete clean chit to the aides.

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They also left the story about Hemraj and Aarushi’s liaison dangling in the report as a salacious insinuation. Aghast at the violence being done to their daughter’s memory, aghast the perpetrators would never be caught, aghast they had been left smeared as possible murderers, the Talwars protested against the closure report and asked for the investigation to be reopened. They did not want a premature clean chit, they pleaded; they just wanted the investigation to continue. Hardly classic behaviour for people guilty of a crime.

In a bizarre twist, however, District Magistrate Priti Singh threw out their petition and ordered a trial based on the same closure report that had said it did not have sufficient evidence to charge them. From suspects, the Talwars were now the main and sole accused. The aides remained completely out of the ambit of the case.

Before you read further now about what’s been happening inside the special CBI court, consider just this fact and draw your own conclusion about whether it sounds like a fair trial.

So far, the CBI has produced 39 witnesses. Given how flimsy and mala fide some of them have been, the Talwars wanted the prosecution to call 14 other witnesses — most of them key officers like Arun Kumar from the first CBI team, as well as from the Noida police — who they could cross-examine to demonstrate the correct sequence of events, as well as establish the mala fide of the second CBI team. The court did not grant permission. The Talwars challenged this in the Allahabad High Court. They were denied permission. They went to the Supreme Court: they were denied.

After this, the Talwars asked permission to produce 13 of their own defence witnesses. They also asked for the right to access key documents pertaining to their case: their own and the aides’ narco tests as additional material; the call records of the aides; as well as forensic slides and post mortem reports, etc, that their own expert could examine. Arguing against this, RK Saini, the prosecution lawyer, said they should not be allowed to call any witnesses at all. The Talwars, he said, were merely trying to waste the court’s time.

So: two parents with no former history of dysfunctionality or rage are accused of butchering their only child. There is admittedly no substantial evidence against them. Yet, the prosecution gets to call 39 witnesses. They should be allowed zero.

Does this sound like a fair trial? (The slightly crazed irony of this is doubled when you know that earlier, in July 2008, the same RK Saini had pleaded in court for Rajesh Talwar to be released from custody because his role in the crime had been “thoroughly investigated”, his tests showed “no deception”, none of the crime scene clues matched with him, and his custody was not required “in the interest of justice”.)

As this story goes to press, the court order on the Talwars’ plea has come in: they have been denied access to all further documents related to their case. Of the 13 witnesses they wanted to call in their defence, the judge has allowed only seven: no doctors, no pathologists, no people with any objective standing in the case; only a few family members and friends. Four of these have been ordered to be produced at one go on Thursday, 20 June 2013.

Unless one goes into the details of the case, it’s impossible to understand the extent of the prejudice the Talwars are facing. The CBI’s argument against even this basic norm of natural justice — that an accused should be allowed to present his defence — is just the tip of the mala fide against the Talwars.

At the heart of this, there is a question everyone finds hard to answer: why should the CBI go out of its way to nail the Talwars? It’s not as if either they or the domestic aides are powerful people. So, why would the CBI gun for one and protect the other; why would it not just remain neutral in its search for justice?

The answers can only be assumptive. From the way things have unfolded, two things seem clear. One, the investigation has been frighteningly shoddy from the beginning, both by the Noida police and the CBI. Two, AGL Kaul, the investigating officer of the second CBI team, seems to have bought very deeply and zealously into the insinuations surrounding the Talwars. It drove his line of enquiry; it explains why his closure report was full of irreconcilable gaps.

However, when Magistrate Priti Singh summarily ordered a trial on the basis of this report, things got even more complicated. As Avirook Sen, a journalist who has been attending the trial regularly, writing sharp reports for the Mumbai Mirror, says, “According to me, the CBI never intended to go for a trial. But when a trial was ordered, they just had to extemporise the evidence along the way. Now, with each passing day in court, they are getting more and more invested in their own story.”

arushi_fndIt is a cliché to call something Kafkaesque. But what other word can one find for the chilling situation the Talwars find themselves in. Amazingly, Javed Ahmed, Joint Director, CBI, under whose aegis the second CBI team led by Kaul has been functioning, pretty much admits this.

When asked why the CBI was resisting the Talwars’ plea to produce witnesses in their own defence, he said, “We are within our rights by law to do so. There is nothing illegal about it.

It is wrong to insinuate we are being wilfully unfair to them. They can ask for as many witnesses as they want, we can put up our objections. After that, it’s for the court to decide. Our duty is to ensure there is a speedy trial and no one tries to prolong it.” In a rather bewildering non sequitur, he added, “What would you have said if the Talwars had asked for 2,432 witnesses in their defence?”

They’ve asked for 13, not 2,000, you remind him. “I was just giving that as an example,” he said.

I then asked, was it not strange for the CBI to admit in its final report that it has insufficient evidence against someone, suggest the case should be closed, and yet have to prosecute them in a trial on the basis of that. Given this context, was it not strange too that they had argued against Rajesh Talwar’s plea for further investigation before trial and were now stalling the production of defence witnesses?

“You are absolutely right,” he said. “It is a matter of stated record that we have insufficient evidence. But once the judge has ordered a trial, who am I to argue against the judge’s decision? It just becomes our duty to assist the court and we damn well have to do our job in whatever way possible.” Unfortunately, as this story will show, this “assisting of the court” has literally included manipulating and cooking up evidence.

It is also depressing to hear the CBI say, who am I to argue against the judge? You are the premier investigating agency in the country, you say, and you know you do not have evidence. In the interest of justice, isn’t it only fair that you argue against the judge’s decision and push for further investigation before going to trial?

Now imagine the Talwars’ quandary. They are the sole accused in a case where there is no real evidence against them. Yet when they approached the Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court pleading for an expanded investigation that could probe the possible involvement of outsiders, as well commission advanced forensic tests like Touch DNA (which could even prove their own guilt), their plea was rejected by both courts. The Supreme Court told them this seemed a “last ditch effort to salvage a lost situation”. It also told Nupur Talwar that if she kept coming to them every time she disagreed with orders by the trial court, she would attract “exemplary costs”.

Forget the constitutional provision that every citizen is innocent until proven guilty. In this case, it seems the Talwars’ constitutional right to appeal the higher courts has also been foreclosed.

Javed Ahmed and RK Saini declined to answer any specific questions about the case. “You will appreciate my position,” Ahmed said.

The key to the Aarushi-Hemraj murders lies in two lines of enquiry. One assumes that Hemraj’s friends — the domestic aides — had something to do with it. The other assumes Aarushi’s parents — Rajesh and Nupur — did it.

This story does not assume either set to be guilty. However, it is important to understand — and remember — what facts both theories hinge on, and how they have played out over the last five years.

Take the trail that is lying cold first: facts pointing to the involvement of Hemraj’s friends in the murders.

After Hemraj’s body was found, the Talwars became the natural suspects because there had been no forced entry into the house. The assumption was: there are four people in the house, two end up dead. Clearly, the remaining two must prove their innocence.

But what if there had been outsiders in the house that night who did not need to force their way in; who had friendly entry. According to the CBI officer Arun Kumar’s press conference, Krishna, Raj Kumar and Vijay Mandal had admitted in their narco tests and confessions to the CBI that Hemraj had called them and they had gathered late that night in his room. Krishna (who had a recent grouse against the Talwars) came first and consumed alcohol, then Rajkumar, then Vijay Mandal. They all consumed alcohol, discussed Aarushi, then entered her room. She tried to scream but was gagged and hit by a hard, blunt object. They then tried to abuse her, which led to a scuffle between them. After the scuffle, they went to the terrace and after a lot of struggle, Hemraj was killed. They locked the terrace, came back into Aarushi’s room (presumably to ensure she was dead) and fled.

Narco tests and statements to police may not be legally admissible, but here are physical facts that supported this admission and made it a logical line of investigation. Three bottles were found in Hemraj’s room: one Sprite, one Kingfisher beer, and one Sula wine. (Hemraj himself was a teetotaller.) This certainly suggests he had two or more visitors that night. He used to have the keys to the entrance of the house, and his own room opened into the house. So a friendly entry was perfectly possible.

HemrajThe sequence of events described by these men also matched the initial post mortem reports on Aarushi and Hemraj. The reports said both had been stunned — and probably almost entirely killed — by the blows on their heads by some hard blunt object; their necks were slit later.

A seven-member committee of scientists and doctors from AIIMS, who analysed the scene of crime, also concluded that Aarushi was killed in her bed, while Hemraj was killed on the terrace.

In addition to this, after Krishna’s confession and narco, a “khukri” with what seemed like tiny blood spots was recovered from his room. On 31 July 2008, the post mortem doctors endorsed that this could certainly have been the weapon of assault that landed the fatal blows. It was also possible the khukri blade was responsible for the cuts on the throat, they said, though these could also have been done by something sharper. The AIIMS committee also endorsed this view.

(Sources in the CBI say Rajkumar also distinctly mentioned another khukri they had thrown away near a mall in Noida. This trail, however, was never actively followed.)

During their narcos, the men also mentioned particular Nepali songs that were playing on television while they were in Hemraj’s room. The CBI cross-checked this with journalist-producer Nalini Singh, who runs a Nepali channel, among others. She verified this to be accurate.

The most devastating piece of evidence though was the recovery of a purple pillow cover from Krishna’s room on 14 June 2008 with suspected blood spots on it. The hair-raising story of what happened with this crucial piece of evidence exposes the dark heart of everything to do with this murder trial: the terrifyingly shambolic status of our investigative and forensic agencies; and the inconceivable lengths they can go to, to either frame someone or cover their own backs.

But first read what happened with the khukri. On 17 June 2008, SK Singla, a serologist with the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Delhi, said he could not identify any human blood on the khukri. The weapon was then sent to BK Mahapatra, a DNA expert at CFSL. Mahapatra said he could not extract any DNA. Even though this was considered the primary murder weapon, the CBI failed to send this piece of evidence for further examination to the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) in Hyderabad. During the trial, when the Talwars’ counsel cross-examined Singla about the blood marks on this khukri, he again reiterated it was not human blood. Pressed further, he said it was not chicken, dog, cow, goat or buffalo blood either. However, he could not explain any other alternate source for the blood spots on the suspected murder weapon. And that’s where the story of the khukri lies to this day.

Now read what happened to the purple pillow cover. And feel afraid. The purple pillow cover recovered from Krishna’s room was sent to CDFD, Hyderabad. On 6 November 2008, a report came back from them with an absolutely explosive reading: the blood marks on Krishna’s pillow matched Hemraj’s.

In ordinary circumstances, this would have been a bomb of a report. It seemed to blow the mystery off the case. Logically speaking, there is no way Hemraj’s blood could have been on Krishna’s pillow unless the latter had been at the crime site that fateful night. Combine this with the recovery of the khukri, the narco admissions, the booze bottles in Hemraj’s room and surely one could say, to put it mildly, here was the contour of a case.

But read first about the bathos, and then the malice of what happened with this piece of evidence. In an amazing breach of diligence, for almost two and a half years, everyone in the CBI missed this “detail” in the 6 November CDFD report, even while Arun Kumar was still on the job. Incredulously, cross-examined during the trial, MS Phartiyal, who was the investigating officer from September 2008 to March 2009, said, “I did not see this report because I was busy with the investigation.”

In December 2010, with this information about Krishna’s pillow still lying undetected, the CBI filed their closure report, exonerating Krishna and the others. Their oversight was bad enough but the CBI’s eventual reaction to the discovery of this damning evidence is positively chilling.

But before that, the closure report tells its own story. The CBI — now led by investigating officer AGL Kaul who was intensely convinced of the Talwars’ complicity — listed several, one could say flimsy, reasons why Krishna and the others could not be counted as suspects.

These men are certainly entitled to an assumption of innocence. But given the CBI’s intense pursuit of the Talwars — often flying in the face of reason — reading the CBI’s rationale for exonerating the servants alongside simple counter-rationales makes for interesting reading.

Here go some of the reasons cited in the closure report:

CBI’s argument: The servants’ narcos were unreliable.
Counter-argument: This story has already shown why they could as equally be deemed reliable.

CBI’s argument: Narco report of Krishna and Raj Kumar had mentioned that Aarushi’s mobile was sent to Nepal while Hemraj’s phone was destroyed. However, these revelations were found to be incorrect because Aarushi’s mobile was recovered in Noida, while Hemraj’s phone was found active in Punjab.
Counter-argument: This is by no means a foolproof reason to imagine Hemraj’s friends were lying in their narcos. In fact, it’s again astounding that two such crucial pieces of evidence have not been investigated more thoroughly by the CBI. Curiously, during cross-examination, MN Vijayan, a prosecution witness from Tata Telcom, said he could not remember if Hemraj’s number had ever been put under surveillance by CBI. If that’s the truth, it’s unclear how officer AGL Kaul knows it was being used in Punjab. What’s more, if it’s true the phone was in use in Punjab, Kaul does not seem to have deemed it fit to investigate something as important as who was using the dead man’s phone in Punjab or how he came to possess it. The same goes for Aarushi’s phone. Kusum, the maid who claims to have found it on a footpath in Noida, passed it on to a relative Rambhool. It came into CBI possession soon after officer Kaul took over the investigation. Kaul claims the data card was cleaned of all its memory and has blamed the Talwars for this. However, he did not produce Rambhool to explain the condition in which the phone was found; he admitted he had not taken any statement from the police officer who gave the phone to him; and he was unable to explain when Aarushi’s phone was first used after the crime, or its location at the time.

CBI’s argument: Krishna was found asleep in his garage room with his family the morning after the crime so he cannot be a suspect. His family said he had been there all night; there were no phone calls or physical interaction between any of the servants on that day.
Counter-argument: Being found at home does not necessarily discount one from being a suspect. Several of the infamous Delhi gangrape suspects, for instance, were finally arrested from their homes. To hide or run away would have been to draw greater attention. The family’s claim that Krishna was there all night can be read as a protective gesture. There is no proof that there were no calls between the aides on that fatal day. In fact, it was part of the Talwars’ recent plea to have access to the servants’ call records on that day.

CBI argument: The servants would not have the “guts” to assemble in the house while both doctors were present.
Counter-argument: This is a particularly preposterous argument going by the fact that the CBI’s position in the closure report is that Hemraj was having consensual sex with Aarushi right next to the sleeping parents. Why is it believable that he would have the “guts” to do that, while these men wouldn’t have had the guts to even gather in Hemraj’s room on the other side of the house?

CBI argument: Raj Kumar had gone to the railway station with Praful Durrani to fetch his wife Anita Durrani. They apparently reached home at around 10.30 pm after which Raj Kumar prepared a meal for Anita, who ate it around 12 midnight. The Durranis apparently went to sleep around 12.30 am. The amount of time needed to cycle from the Durranis’ house to the Talwars’ was about 20 minutes. The CBI deduces it was therefore impossible for Raj Kumar to reach the scene of crime within the estimated time of assault. The post mortem assesses that Aarushi was killed between midnight and 1 am. Dr Durrani also locked the house from inside himself so it would have been difficult for Raj Kumar to get out.
Counter-argument: This assumes a clockwork precision to every action that evening. Going by the generally appalling standard of forensics in this case, it seems extremely credulous to imagine Aarushi’s murder could not have happened a little after 1 am as well; or that the Durranis turned in a little earlier or later than the CBI claims. Raj Kumar also had a key to the house so he could have let himself out even after the Durranis retired for the night.

To reiterate again, this is not meant to take away the servants’ right to an assumption of innocence. It is merely to cast a hard eye on the facts as they stand. It is also to expose the CBI’s contrasting approach to the Talwars, under investigating officer AGL Kaul.

And now, to return to the discovery of the time bomb: Hemraj’s blood on Krishna’s pillow cover. When magistrate Priti Singh ordered trial, Nupur was suddenly made a co-accused along with Rajesh. In February 2011, she went to the Allahabad High Court challenging this summoning order. While this was underway, the Talwars were given the 6 November 2008 report as part of case material. Chancing upon the explosive description of Hemraj’s blood marks on Krishna’s pillow, Nupur filed a supplementary petition, arguing that as this new evidence clearly pointed to someone else’s involvement in the crime, the case against them should now be dropped and investigation reopened.

The CBI was caught off-guard. Still, had it been neutral, it should have welcomed the discovery of this fresh and solid lead. Instead, in a mischievous move that beggars the imagination, on 8 March 2011, officer AGL Kaul argued in the high court that the description of Krishna’s pillow was a “typographical error” on the part of the CDFD expert in Hyderabad. According to him, the description of two objects — Hemraj’s pillow and Krishna’s pillow — had been interchanged.

Set aside for a moment what this says about the competence of that institution, consider only the preposterousness of the assertion. Anyone who reads the 6 November report will see it is impossible for the expert to have made any typographical error in describing Krishna’s pillow. The description about it runs over a couple of pages and each time it is referred to by its exhibit number, there is also a bracket describing it as being a purple pillow cover. There is no disagreement — even by Kaul — that the purple pillow cover belonged to Krishna. Yet, in a bizarre leap, his contention is that when the experts say Hemraj’s blood was found on Krishna’s pillow cover what they are really referring to is Hemraj’s own pillow. On 8 March, while arguing his theory in the high court, Kaul flashed two photographs at the judge that showed the pillows with different tag marks. However, he failed to submit these pictures to the court or file an affidavit about it. On 18 March, the high court dismissed Nupur’s plea.

Let’s assume for a moment this is true: the moot question is how could Kaul — by merely looking at a report — come to the conclusion that such an error had occurred even before he had communicated with the CDFD about it? How did he even think there had been an error? Was it because this piece blew his own theory about the Talwars being the murderers? If they had killed Hemraj, what was his blood doing on Krishna’s pillow? CDFD expert SPR Prasad’s cross-examination in the trial court shoots the lid right off Kaul’s mala fide. According to Prasad, the CDFD received a letter from Kaul on 17 March — a full 10 days after Kaul had already made his argument about a “typographical error” in the high court. The phrasing of his letter is itself scandalous. According to Prasad, in what seems almost a form of auto- suggestion, Kaul wrote to them saying, “There seems to be a typographical error in describing this item, please check from your records whether there is such an error.”

Prasad also admitted that for two and a half years prior to Kaul’s letter, no one at CDFD had felt there was any such error in their description. He also made one more explosive admission. When he had given the pillow covers to the CBI, they had been sealed and stamped by the CDFD. When they were returned, these seals had been opened. He had no clue when, why or by whom these had been opened. Yet, on 28 March 2011, as Kaul had requested, the CDFD sent a letter back to the CBI saying there had been such an error. Arguments over this “typographical error” had continued between the Talwars and CBI in the Supreme Court for several months. After Kaul got this letter from the CDFD, he submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court with the photographs of the pillow covers labelled in a way to suit his theory. The Talwars eventually lost their appeal.

However, in an untenable move, Kaul has consistently refused to submit these same photographs in the trial court and subject them to cross-examination. In fact, when the Talwars’ counsel confronted him with a genuine certified copy of his Supreme Court affidavit about these photographs, he refused to recognise his own affidavit. “This is not mine,” he said. “I cannot comment on the matter.” The trial judge, in his wisdom, refused to let the Talwars place this affidavit on record.

Meanwhile, heaping brazen argument upon argument, Kaul also asserted in the trial court that he had noticed the “typographical error” almost as soon as he had taken over the case in 2009. But, incredulously, he says, for more than two and a half years he neither mentioned it in any case diary, nor wrote to the CDFD enquiring about it, nor felt the need to discuss it with any of his peers or even mention it in his closure report. Pressed to explain why, he said he thought he would tell the expert about it if the need arose and the case ever came to trial.

So, with no substantial evidence against them — and with some real evidence possibly pointing guilt in a completely different direction — the Talwars now stand in danger of being convicted for the murder of their child on the basis of a “typographical error” that the country’s most powerful investigative agency either dreamt up or failed to act on for two and a half years.

Surely this takes “assisting the court” and “ensuring a speedy trial” a little too far?

That was the story of the trail lying cold. Here’s what happens when a trail is hot. The CBI’s belief in the Talwars’ guilt hinges on a theory. This theory, of course, was first articulated by the Noida police and fanned by the media. But the man who gave it complete and lurid life is Dr MS Dahiya, a forensic scientist from the Directorate of Forensic Sciences in Gandhinagar — a month after Kaul took over as CBI investigating officer.

Reading Dahiya’s crime scene analysis report — which is based mainly on some crime scene photographs — is like reading a Haryanvi Khap Panchayat elder on speed. It is full of the most astonishing inconsistencies and offensive leaps of imagination. But more on that later.

An amalgam of all these theories is that on the night of 15-16 May 2008, soon after Rajesh and Nupur left their 13-year-old daughter Aarushi in her room, Rajesh heard a sound in her room which was adjacent to his own, so he went to his servant Hemraj’s room at the far end of the house, picked a golf club and went back to his daughter’s room. Inside, he found Hemraj and his daughter in bed and, in a fit of insane rage, he instantly bludgeoned both to death. Hearing the noise, his wife Nupur woke up. Seeing her only and hitherto beloved daughter dead, she immediately swung into helping her husband complete the gory crime. They decided to slit both their servant and daughter’s neck as part of a game plan to make it look like the handiwork of others. Then they dragged their servant’s body up a flight of stairs to the terrace, concealed it with a water-cooler panel, and came back down again. Subsequently, they undertook a massive cleaning up operation, wiped out all evidence of their involvement in the crime, sneaked out at twilight, threw all the bloody and soiled cleaning cloths away, then waited for daybreak.

For five years, this outlandish “honour killing” theory, first conjured by the Noida police then perpetuated by CBI officer Kaul, has floated about untested in the public domain, seeping like noxious gas into everyone’s brain, sedimenting there, unchallenged, into a settled truth.

Before you read further about the “evidence” this theory has been built on, test just the logic of its premise.

The first question one should ask is, what sort of noise do the Noida police and the CBI imagine the parents heard? It could not have been the screaming, struggling noise of rape because, by every expert account including the post mortem report, there were no signs of struggle on Aarushi’s body. She was killed as she lay. This means the only other way she could have been found with Hemraj in a “compromising position” that night was voluntarily.

Break down the illogic of that: The Talwars were a happy, urban, cosmopolitan nuclear family; Aarushi, a gregarious, affectionate teenager, popular in school and close to her parents. Her teenage boyfriends phoned her home at midnight with no fear of offending the parents. Why would she — against logic, against nature, against culture — voluntarily let her middle-aged house help into her bed?

Other obvious questions leap up. While exonerating Hemraj’s friends of the crime — despite their admitted involvement in it — CBI officer Kaul had opined in his closure report that they could not have had the “guts” to gather in Hemraj’s room while the masters were in the house. Why then does he find it so easy to believe Hemraj and Aarushi would have had the “guts” to be in a “compromising position” right next to her parents’ room? What noise does he believe the two were making that could wake the father, if they were surreptitiously in bed? Then again, if at all he did wake upon hearing some noise in his daughter’s room, why would he not open her door immediately to find out what the noise is, or who the intruder could be, which would be the natural instinct of any parent? Why would he walk all the way to his servant’s room at the further end of the house to pick up a golf club first?

One could endlessly pick craters into the CBI’s flimsy theories, but what’s much more germane — and staggering — is to examine the key pieces on which the allegation of honour killing rests.

It’s a measure of the surreal hell the Talwars find themselves in, that logic is no more a provision they can ask for in life. Consider this: For the allegation of honour killing — which is the very foundation of the case against them — to hold, at the very least, Hemraj should have been killed in Aarushi’s room. But — hold your breath — page 29 of the CBI’s own closure report says there is absolutely no evidence of Hemraj’s blood on Aarushi’s bedsheet and pillow. In fact, it states, there is no evidence to prove he was killed in her room at all.

In a just world, this should immediately have dissolved the accusation against them. But, astonishingly, the trial against the Talwars continues. In fact, perversely, they are instead accused of dressing the crime scene and cleaning out the evidence. But as Rajesh’s lawyer Tanver Ahmed Mir says, “Was Hemraj’s blood blue in colour so that the parents would be able to selectively clean his blood from the bed and walls and floor of the room, while leaving Aarushi’s intact?” His logic is unassailable. And yet inadmissible, it seems.

This allegation of a massive clean-up by the Talwars is, in fact, itself a bewildering one. If the Talwars really were such adept and cold-blooded killers, capable of a professional sweep operation that removed every trace of their involvement in their daughter’s murder, why would they leave a big, bloody palm print on the terrace wall, a footprint next to it, a bloodied lock on the terrace’s outside door, a Ballantine whiskey bottle on the table, again with blood on it, and three bottles with blood marks in Hemraj’s room?

But still, the adamant pursuit of them continues, with contortionist twists and turns. At one point in the trial, for instance, the Talwars were dismayed to find that Hemraj’s pillow with his blood was alleged to have been found in Aarushi’s room. Their hearts sank. If this was the case, there was no way they could prove their innocence.

But as it turned out, ‘Parcel 21’ became yet another example of a kind of almost inexplicable mala fide against the Talwars by some officers in the CBI. When this pillow cover — Parcel 21 — was produced in court, Kaul had tried to hustle it out of the room the moment the judge had had a look. But then, in what seems an almost divine intervention for the Talwars, this time the judge himself noticed a tag inside the parcel. Closer examination proved the pillow cover had been seized from Hemraj’s room itself and the seizure memo was signed by CBI Inspector Pankaj Bansal.

There are other cardinal aspects of the case, for instance, that are completely confounding. Again, if the allegation of an honour killing has to hold good against the Talwars, not only should Hemraj have been killed in Aarushi’s room, there has to be some proof of a sexual liaison between them as well. But though there was a written request from the police to Sunil Dohre, the post mortem doctor from the district hospital in Ghaziabad who examined Aarushi, to check for rape or sexual assault, Dohre reported there was absolutely no abnormality detected in the physical aspect of her hymen, and noted only a slight whitish vaginal discharge (which any gynaecologist will testify is highly common in young girls and women), and no sperms. After he filed his report, Dohre stood by these initial findings in several more statements he gave to the police and the CBI on 18 May, 18 July and 3 October 2008. He was also part of the AIIMS committee report filed on 6 September 2008 that stated the same thing.

But suddenly, after Kaul took over the CBI investigation, Dohre’s post mortem analysis of Aarushi changed wildly. In two statements he made to Kaul on 30 September 2009 and 28 May 2010, he said Aarushi’s vagina was so widely distended he could see her cervix and that her hymen was ruptured and healed. He also said the white discharge was from an “outside source” and the cut on her throat was done by a surgical scalpel by surgically trained people and not a khukri as he had earlier maintained. The stun blow, he now felt, could have been done by a golf club.

Curiously, this segued perfectly with Dahiya’s fervid and newly generated crime analysis report. Both vastly contradicted the earlier seven-member AIIMS committee report, which had deemed a khukri to be the possible murder weapon and noted that there had been no sexual abnormality in Aarushi’s reports.

Bizarrely, the post mortem report of Hemraj, conducted by Naresh Raj, a senior paediatrician in the district hospital at Gautam Budh Nagar, went through a similarly miraculous transformation the moment Kaul took over the probe.

Naresh had earlier detected no abnormality or sexual activity in Hemraj. He too had felt the murder weapon could have been a khukri. Like Dohre, he repeated these positions several times in statements to the police and CBI officers. Like Dohre, he was part of the AIIMS team and had put in no dissenting note to their findings. But after Kaul came on the scene, suddenly, he too felt the cuts were by surgical weapons, by surgically trained people, and that Hemraj had been killed in the middle of or just prior to intercourse.

Armed with this triangular piece of insinuated evidence, Kaul proceeded to build a case against the Talwars — by every zealous means at his disposal, as this story has earlier shown.

During the trial, however, Dohre and Naresh cut sorry figures, trying to explain why their positions had shifted so wildly. Asked why he had failed to note these extreme features in Aarushi’s private parts in his reports earlier, Dohre said he had not done so because the latter were merely his “subjective finding”.

Naresh put himself in an even more jaw-dropping position. When Hemraj had been found a day and half later on the terrace, he was already in an advanced state of putrefaction in the May heat. During cross-examination, the Talwars’ counsel quoted Jaising P Modi’s A Textbook of Medical Jurisprudence and Toxicology to him. Naresh accepted this to be an authoritative passage on putrefaction but refused to accept it as an accurate description of Hemraj’s body. The counsel then suggested to him that Hemraj’s swollen penis was in keeping with the rest of his swollen putrefying body and not a sign of sexual activity prior to his murder. Naresh refused to accept this position as well. On what then was he basing his interpretation of Hemraj’s swollen penis, the counsel asked. On personal experience from my marriage, Naresh answered.

There is another important piece that must be proved if the CBI’s honour killing theory is to prevail against the Talwars. Not only must it be proved that Hemraj was killed in Aarushi’s room but that it was dragged up to the terrace by them. The AIIMS committee had already averred that Hemraj’s murder actually took place on the terrace.

Despite this, there have been many versions and counter-versions from different witnesses on whether there were any blood traces on the steps going up to the terrace on 16 May 2008, the day before Hemraj’s body was discovered. Some blood spots were discovered on the 17th but these could have appeared when Hemraj’s blood-soaked body was taken down the stairs by the police.

This piece of the puzzle could have gone badly for the Talwars, with different people holding different positions, until it was discovered that sample numbers 9 and 10 actually pertained to drops of blood on the stairs in front of their neighbour’s house, one floor below them. In a sense, this closed the argument. If there were blood drops on the stairs below them, clearly the murderer had either gone down the stairs and away from the Talwars’ house, or else, those were drops from Hemraj’s body being taken down by the police.

(Still, it’s a mark of how fiercely they wish to prove the Talwars guilty, that while this debate was on, the CBI produced a witness — a magistrate named Sanjay Chauhan — in court who claimed he drives 58 km every day to take a walk in the Talwars’ neighbourhood. He was there that morning, he said, and had seen blood marks on the stairs. He had also noticed that the Talwars were not crying very much. No one else seemed to remember him though.)

The argument over whether Hemraj was killed on the terrace or in Aarushi’s room now seems almost definitely sealed, especially given that there’s no third place he is deemed to have been killed, and it’s certain from the CBI’s own admission that he wasn’t killed in Aarushi’s room.

As the trial proceeds further, to a neutral eye, it seems to be looping back to the findings in the closure report: that there is no motive and no substantial evidence against the Talwars.

But this still leaves the two new alleged murder weapons: the golf clubs and the surgical scalpels. In a sense, both tell a curious story. Ever since the theory about the “surgical scalpel used by surgically trained people” first emerged in the public domain, it has mushroomed into one of those clouds of dark insinuation that constantly hang above the Talwars.

But again, they can only make a plea for a little bit of reasoned attention. They are orthodontists who tinker with gums, not surgeons who slice through muscle and stomach walls. Their tools of trade — an average dental scalpel’s blade — is no longer than 6 mm. It’s not really the kind of weapon you slit your daughter’s neck with from one side to another to “dress a scene of crime”.

Having let this dark gnome out to tease the public mind, however, so far the CBI has not sought to either seize all of the Talwar’s scalpels or even produce one in court to establish it as a murder weapon.

The golf clubs, however, offer another view into the art of obfuscation. If you read Dahiya’s crime-analysis and the CBI’s closure report, without a strong desire to get into the detail, chances are you would come away absolutely convinced the Talwars are hiding many things. If evidence is to fail, insinuation, they have realised, is the real stealth bomb. And sections of the media are always at hand to carry its impact further.

If they search even their surface memory, most consumers of news will remember that there’s “something” about one of Rajesh Talwar’s golf clubs — being cleaner than all the rest. The (hardly) subliminal suggestion is, it was carefully cleaned by the Talwars after the gruesome murders.

However, judge for yourself how much truth there is to that from the sequence of events. Apparently, Rajesh, a novice golfer, often used to go for his practices with two of his clubs, which lay in the boot of his car. A few days prior to the murders, his car needed servicing so Umesh, his driver, put the two clubs — irons 4 and 5 — in Hemraj’s room.

In his closure report, Kaul says there was a photo of Hemraj’s room after the murders in which only one club was visible. According to Kaul, Rajesh was asked about the missing club by his predecessor but he could not explain where it was. Rajesh, on the other hand, says he does not remember being asked but it could well have been lying hidden in the mess of things strewn about in Hemraj’s room, as the photograph shows.

For several months after that, there was absolutely no discussion about the clubs. As Rajesh says, if indeed the CBI had begun to doubt them as murder weapons, why did they not seize the remaining clubs and launch a search for the missing club in the house right away?

But none of that happened. Then on 29 October 2009 — again after Kaul had taken over the case — the Talwars received a letter from the CBI asking for Rajesh’s golf set. Rajesh willingly produced the whole set immediately. Asked where the missing club had been, Nupur said one had been found in a loft while they were clearing out the house but she says she isn’t sure if this was what had been deemed missing by the CBI from the photo of Hemraj’s room. Soon after, iron number 5 was declared the possible murder weapon. But confusingly, rather than irons 4 and 5, Kaul said in his closure report that clubs 3 and 5 appeared to have been “thoroughly cleaned”. When the expert report came back, it emerged that far from being “visibly cleaner”, the grooves of the numbers on the underface of the clubs named Exhibits 3 and 5 were only “ negligibly” cleaner when seen under a microscope!

In a final stroke of absurdity, it then emerged that neither Exhibit 3 nor Exhibit 5 was pertinent to the case. Iron number 5, which had been declared the suspected murder weapon, was actually Exhibit 6 and was not even negligibly cleaner than the others! That apart, no blood, DNA or fingerprints were found on any of the clubs.

This repeated Kafkaesque quality informs every aspect of the Talwar’s murder trial. Despite that, it is difficult to explain the force of prejudice working against the Talwars. On the morning after the murders, for instance, when the maid rang the doorbell and Hemraj was missing, the Talwars had immediately believed he was linked with Aarushi’s death and kept urging the police to look for him. It was a natural assumption. But the moment Hemraj’s body was discovered on the terrace the next day, the reverse suspicion on them spiralled crazily. Many believed their suspicion of Hemraj had been a “diversionary tactic”.

Another question that has dogged Rajesh for five years is why couldn’t he find the keys to the terrace on the morning of 16 May? Why did he seem “reluctant” to open the terrace door? Was he trying to prevent the police from discovering Hemraj’s body?

What no one seems to stop and think is: Rajesh had just witnessed the bludgeoned body of his daughter. He was in a severe state of shock, barely aware of what he was doing: natural responses for any parent. The terrace keys, along with a set of house keys that used to be with Hemraj, have never been found. (Whoever killed Hemraj presumably threw the keys away.) But Rajesh has a simple counter-question for anyone who will listen. The keys to the terrace may not have been found by him that morning, but what stopped the police from breaking the lock or the door down?

When the local police SHO, Datta Ram Nanoria — who had been tasked to search the terrace — was confronted with this question, he said he had simply “forgotten” to break the door despite the blood stains on its lock. He was almost transferred out for his dereliction. Yet, two years later, investigating officer Kaul still left this as an insinuation of Rajesh’s “suspicious behaviour” in his closure report, saying Rajesh had “ignored the request” for the terrace keys.

Ironically, the next day on 17 May, it was Dinesh Talwar — Rajesh’s brother — who urged the terrace lock to be broken in the presence of the police. But bewilderingly, Kaul listed even this among “suspicious activity” related to the Talwars. Dinesh’s urgency, he wrote, showed “the detection of Hemraj’s body was not a mere coincidence”. Predictably though, he did not explain what conspiracy could possibly lie behind Rajesh’s brother getting the terrace lock broken in the presence of the police.

Another insinuation that has tailed Rajesh is that he was awake the night of his daughter’s murder because the internet router in their house kept switching on and off through the night. The most obvious question is, why would a father who had just murdered his daughter keep switching his internet connection on and off? But the “internet router that night” has continued to hang over Rajesh like a miasma. Unfortunately, what is much less well known is that the same unexplained activity on the internet router happened even the next morning, with police and visitors swarming through the apartment, and it was finally deemed “unreliable evidence” in the closure report.

Examining and demystifying all the unfair prejudices around the Talwars, however, would take too long. So here’s the question: what is the evidence that makes the Talwars look so culpable in people’s eyes?

This is what a quick laundry list answer would look like: they could not explain why the keys to Aarushi’s room were not traceable the next morning (though apparently they were later found near the entrance door); they could not find the keys to the terrace; they displayed “undue haste” in cleaning the house; they allegedly made a call to “influence” the post mortem report; they did not cry enough; Hemraj’s body was found with a cooler panel on it; they seemed to have slept through two gruesome murders in their house, and so on.

Set against the mountain of evidence analysed by this story, which seems to stack up in defence of their innocence, this list of complaints looks truly small wood with which to crucify two parents for the murder of their child.

They did not clean their flat with “undue haste” while Aarushi was taken for cremation, for instance: their relatives and staff did, in the presence of and with the permission of policewomen. It was hot, the flat was full of footmarks and a mess as it had not been cordoned off, there were visitors everywhere and the police assured them they had taken what they needed for the probe. The policewoman Sunita Rana — who, the Talwars say, their relatives took permission from — has not been produced by the CBI as a witness. In any case, given that the Talwars did not personally clean up with stealth in the dead of night, is it the CBI’s assumption that all these relatives and house staff are now conspirators to the murders?

For anyone keen to probe the truth, there are similar workaday and quotidian answers possible for many of the questions that assail the Talwars. Perhaps there will be some for which they will have none. The point is, ask yourself, after everything you have read, what do the weigh-scales look like on them?

There’s one final allegation against the Talwars: that they “compromised the vaginal smear” and somehow switched Aarushi’s slides. This brings one to the darkest heart of the story yet.

“Strangely enough,” writes Dahiya in his report, “the vaginal smear alleged to be of the deceased Ms Aarushi, failed the DNA test and hence must have been compromised/replaced probably with a view to ensure that no male biological fluid could be traced to her.”

This allegation is hogwash: stop for a moment and ask, how would they do that? It’s a typical Dahiya-type invention. His report is full of such argumentative pyrotechnics. Certitudes shot through with “probably” and “must have”.

For him, by some strange twist in logic, the bloody palm print on the terrace is “proof that after the assassins returned to the house, the absence of blood stains in the flat shows the murderers took full advantage of well-lit conditions inside the flat to carefully remove all chance prints.” He forgets, they left blood on the whiskey bottle — and presumably fingerprints.

If vaginal smears don’t match or there are no matching fingerprints in a house that has witnessed two gruesome murders, it is not necessarily because the Talwars moved like phantom detectives, making all traces of themselves or others in the house vanish. It’s because the investigative and forensic institutions in our country are themselves falling apart.

As Richa Saxena, the pathologist who examined Aarushi’s vaginal slides, told Kaul, contamination of slides couldn’t be ruled out (not, as Dahiya was suggesting, because the Talwars had connived to replace it) but because “such slides can get contaminated due to faulty handling and storage of slides in unsealed conditions”.

Sunil Dohre, in another statement to Kaul, also said, “We have no procedure of collection of swabs in our district in entire UP state.”

The Aarushi-Hemraj murder story need not have become the nightmarish mystery it has, where three blood-stained bottles should lie in a victim’s room, but the fingerprints on them don’t match any of the suspects; where a bloodstained shoe print should lie next to a putrefying body and that should match no sizes. Ditto for the bloodied lock or the whiskey bottle.

The fact is, from day one, conclusive answers to these murders were doomed. The Noida police did not cordon off the site of crime. Streams of inquisitive neighbours and relatives were allowed to tramp through the house, touch objects and examine them. This is why out of the 24 fingerprints that were retrieved from the house, 22 are too smudged to count; two don’t match anyone.

When Hemraj’s body was found, there was a water-cooler panel over him: the assumption would be it’s the murderer who last touched that. The panel should have been seized and taken for forensics. But it was never even investigated. (When asked about it, the police said it was too heavy). Similar carelessness — criminal carelessness — abounds throughout the story of the Aarushi-Hemraj murder. Krishna’s pants were seized but not his shirts, Aarushi’s blanket was not taken for forensics; neither were the Talwars’. Only a portion of Aarushi’s mattress was cut; there were no sniffer dogs brought to the site. A murdered man was not found on the terrace of a crime site. The list goes on and on.

Yet, in a sense, the Talwars are being blamed for every piece of institutional incompetence. The police don’t seal a scene of crime; they are accused of botching evidence. The police don’t break a terrace door; they are accused of being uncooperative. The CBI does not seize golf clubs; they are accused of being evasive.

Contrary to being obstructive, despite being the sole accused, Rajesh Talwar has written repeatedly to the CBI urging them to get Touch DNA — an advanced form of forensics abroad — done to get at the truth. But, inexplicably, despite being the investigator, Kaul has been stalling him. Rajesh wanted the big palm print sent abroad for Touch DNA, for instance. That would be a clear lead to the murderer. But Kaul argued in the Supreme Court that it had been “consumed” while being analysed in Hyderabad. However, he has been forced to produce it in the trial court.

Trapped in an indescribable world of impossible loss and grief, heaped with insult and suspicion, chained like a performing bear to the incompetence of others, it’s little wonder that Rajesh Talwar says, if he and his wife ever walk free of the labyrinth they are trapped in, he would like to open a world-class forensic sciences centre in India in Aarushi’s name. Perhaps it would help shield others from the cataclysmic tragedy of losing a child, and then being labelled her murderers: nailed not by evidence; but by the lack of it.

shoma@tehelka.com

125 Comments

  • Anonymous June 21, 2013 - 1:30 am Reply

    My heart bleeds for the Talwars…I can’t even imagine the grief they must be going through…the irony is that they are just great parents that they are fighting the world to keep the honour of their child…

    • Rhea July 1, 2013 - 2:27 pm Reply

      Yes you said it right. They are great parents bec they are going thro all this to fight for the honour of their daughter

  • Anil A June 21, 2013 - 7:07 am Reply

    Earlier, the Tehelka also had another story on this subject. To any intelligent and objective reader, it is clear that the CBI and the police have bungled this case and they unfortunately made (through media witch hunt and insinuations) the Talwars chief culprits. I pray for the Talwars and hope that Rajesh Talwar’s wish to open a world-class forensic lab comes true.

    • harkol July 2, 2013 - 9:59 am Reply

      The heart of the matter is the motive.

      Why would a modern, well educated, urbane couple, who didn’t have any problem in having only one girl child (so no gender bias) be horrified enough to kill their only child? Because, she was being raped (statutory) by their domestic help??

      Any parent in their situation would be horrfied and perhaps in rage even kill the domestic servant. But kill their own daughter, for a juvenile act?

      If father was drunk and in a fit of rage killed both, why would mother not be upset about her only daughter being killed by father?

      To think anyone can do this unfathomably evil act itself is mind boggling! It’ll require a weird sense of honor and bad sense of judgement. By all accounts Talwars aren’t such folks.

      So, motive doesn’t add up.

  • maitreymehta June 21, 2013 - 8:46 am Reply

    Absolutely correct. Talwar’s were innocent. On that particular day nothing like flood in Uttarakhand or 9/11 happened so news papers overd this story in length to fill columns. Same investigation agency filed closure report is trying to prove they are criminals. The next day of incident police came with theory of Talwars being unfaithful in their life without any proof. No one cares in our country as people don’t go to challenge those statements & get compensation. It takes years & years for case to come on board. Most of Police/CBI officers are coming from a class of society who have never seen a luxurious house or elite life style. That can be true for Judges.So in their sub-conscious they have hatred for people living in different way they themselves are used to live. Also caste /religion/lifestyle/ attitude everything effects investigation. No one in impartial of that. To move ahead & look good with superiors is one of the factor. Promotion is next. In a small traffic encounter religion/financial status/connection play part why not in such cases where media is involved. To come on national t.v. to analyze facts is also a prestige issue for some officers. When a state’s IG was playing “RADHA” at duty’s time & 20/30 or more innocent girls were raped/murdered & even eaten by criminals in ‘Nithari Kand” & police did nothing on poor parents demand for search of their kids ,should we accept that police/cbi was doing their job sincerely just to prove this case? Where were those brave officers when there was no media coverage? Same Dig & IG’s are “Chaprasi’s” wiping dust on shoes of ministers ( Even Chaprasi’s should not do that. I’m sorry. I should have used the word sick subordinates) what can you expect from lower rank officers. What difference it makes even if Talwar’s are acquitted? Will they get reputation or time back?

  • Ashish June 21, 2013 - 11:37 am Reply

    Its such an unfortunate story. What is CBI gaining out of this, I am unable to understand. My heart goes out to the couple. Not even Supreme court understood the game ? The only take away for us aam aadmi is – Be afraid, be very very afraid from the powers of the day!

    • Reena July 2, 2013 - 1:10 am Reply

      I think it is more a case of what they are not losing. If they admit that they made so many mistakes, they will lose face completely. And they will lose people’s faith. They have messed up the case so badly that now they have no other way but to stick to their story. They cannot really go back and answer the 1000’s of questions that will come their way if they admit to their mistakes now.

  • Guy June 21, 2013 - 11:54 am Reply

    Shoma, I hope to God the judges read your article. It is so detailed!

  • sabina lamba June 21, 2013 - 1:19 pm Reply

    This is your effort to show the talwars were innocent but how do you know that servants were not. If talwars cannot do it,even the servants may not have done it. At least Talwars have Journalists like you to support them but servants have no such support. Any body could have done it Talwars or the servants. Your article highlights only one side of the story.

    • Girish Dua June 21, 2013 - 2:44 pm Reply

      Sabina Lamba, Where in the story is it said that servants were the actual murderers? They are only asking for an expanded investigation so that truth could prevail.

    • Ravi Kiran June 21, 2013 - 3:24 pm Reply

      Please READ it again Sabina. The author has very CLEARLY said that domestic servants may be innocent too. But the Talwars cannot be prosecuted without enough evidence.

      You seem to have missed all of that.

      • Arya Ravinder Kumar June 21, 2013 - 6:22 pm Reply

        Are not they morally bound to tell the truth. Why they are silent?

        • Abhishek Dutta June 22, 2013 - 1:47 am Reply

          If they knew the “truth” then they would have revealed it long ago! It’s their only Daughter who has been brutally murdered! Everybody is hell bent that they couldn’t have slept through the night. Do you know the CBI recreated the scene by closing the door of the talwars room. With AC on nothing could be heard of what was happening outside.

          • Samir Thapa June 22, 2013 - 4:19 pm

            Abhishek, please correct me if I am wrong. If the AC is so loud that nothing could be heard of what was happening outside then that AC is TOO LOUD to sleep. One cannot sleep in with that AC. That means that the AC that Talwars gave for testing for CBI team was altered to make loud noise….. to support their version of events.

            Believe me, the Talwars know the Truth, but are afraid of the consequences of telling the truth. Now the truth is coming out in the court .

          • Abhishek Dutta June 22, 2013 - 5:12 pm

            Where have I mentioned that the AC was “too loud”?? Do you not understand the concept of sound-proof rooms? AC rooms are normally closed off with all windows and doors shut. So sounds generally do not come in making it a sound proof room of sorts. This might have been the case. Is that too hard to believe?

          • Samir Thapa June 24, 2013 - 6:15 am

            It is difficult to believe that one can make a room sound proof by shutting the windows and doors. In the quiet of night even if we shut the doors and windows we can hear a clock ticking in the next room. Anyway Abhi you do have creative way of explaining things …

          • Anis June 25, 2013 - 2:52 pm

            Thapa, you seems have completely closed your mind to reason. Here is a painstakingly detailed analysis of CBI’s shoddy work, findings of the loopholes (there are many) in CBI’s documentation laid out before you and you are taking a blind line that if the police, the CBI, the judiciary are all saying the same thing then the Talwars must be guilty.

            And dont waste your time playing detective with the AC noise.

          • Samir Thapa June 26, 2013 - 2:12 pm

            This story is not a painstakingly detailed analysis by Shoma, it is more of a shoddy effort to influence the court proceedings and is despicable to say the least…

          • Santa_Singh June 26, 2013 - 12:24 am

            Chubbe Nepali. Saala tera jaatwaala Krishna ne hi gandha kaam kiya hai. Bakwaas bandh kar or Abhishek ki baat maan

          • Samir Thapa June 26, 2013 - 1:54 pm

            :-))

          • sumit tandon June 26, 2013 - 4:37 pm

            Let him be. He knows the truth.

            Thanks to Tehelka and Shoma the truth in details has finally come out. Entire India knows that Talwars are innocent, and assholes in Indian police and fake psychos like Samir Thapa are out only to crucify innocent Indian families and simple people.

            No worries, karma is the biggest bitch of ’em all. Let Thapa keep his sorry ass with himself. Someday!

          • Samir Thapa June 29, 2013 - 11:14 pm

            🙂 This is not a media trial or media circus where Shoma can deliver the truth or justice. There is something called court and the Judges will deliver the justice .

          • Samir Thapa June 29, 2013 - 11:40 pm

            Kya kaha Santa? Abhishek ki kya maar?

          • Anonymous June 28, 2013 - 1:49 pm

            My native home is in adjacent to an Aluminium Company where workers work even at night. Beating and loading of Aluminium produce noise and is loud. But all my family and neighbors sleep well because these noises(loud) are part of our life(even at night). And its hard to notice any other noise at night when you are surrounded by these noise.

            This is hardly any reason toprove Talwars as culprit. I wish the truth comes out soon and the wrong doers(if alive) will get punished.

          • Samir Thapa June 29, 2013 - 11:00 pm

            A nice reply, thanks. I would agree to your line of thinking if you can make me believe that you could sleep inside the Aluminium factory. By the way the AC was inside the bedroom … I believe you would not be able to sleep in the Aluminium factory, so Talwars could not be sleep with AC that loud … this is just my humble opinion and I could be wrong…

          • Reena July 2, 2013 - 1:00 am

            O hello, I have an ac in my room and due to its sound, I cannot hear anything that goes on outside when I close the door (which I always do). But that does not mean the ac is so unbearably loud that I cannot sleep. It is just normal ac sound and whenever the room temperature goes above a certain point, the ac starts making the fizzing sound. It is nothing unpleasant, but when you combine it with locked door, you cannot hear anything that’s going on outside. What on earth is so hard to understand about this? Have you never seen a slightly old, noisy ac? And in any case, the police did conduct a test and confirm that sounds outside the room could not be heard when the ac was on. So unless you are suggesting that they slept in sweltering may heat of Noida without an ac despite having one in their room, I am not sure what your argument is.

          • Samir Thapa July 2, 2013 - 4:02 pm

            Hi There, when my AC runs in my room with closed doors and windows, in the quiet of the night, I can hear the ticking sound of my wall clock in the next room. I can also hear the buzzing noise made by cricket insect outside the house. I can hear someone snoring in the next room …

            Unless the Talwars are partially deaf and were completely drunk, this is hard to believe. For God sake we all have AC and can be verified very easily.

      • Samir Thapa June 24, 2013 - 6:36 am Reply

        @Ravi
        The point is, who are we to judge if the evidences against Talwars are adequate for prosecution. I believe that the honourable judge is far more capable than Shoma in the matters of justice and they have found the evidences adequate . If you are suggesting that the police, the CBI, the judiciary are colluding to frame Talwars …. it is totally unacceptable and laughable suggestion.

        • sumit tandon June 25, 2013 - 5:51 pm Reply

          “If you are suggesting that the police, the CBI, the judiciary are
          colluding to frame Talwars …. it is totally unacceptable and laughable
          suggestion.”

          We can only laugh on your idiocy.

          • Samir Thapa June 26, 2013 - 2:17 pm

            You can laugh as much as you want as that is your job . But Talwars cannot escape the laws no matter how many of their media friends write these useless articles .

          • sumit tandon June 26, 2013 - 4:33 pm

            There are no laws you joker. Which law are you talking about? Now fuck off moron. And when you do, we sincerely hope that you also fall into the trap of laws you love.

            BTW we know you’re one among the Nepalis trying to protect your kind, even if they are murderers. Or you’re a sarkari asshole (higher probability).

          • Samir Thapa June 29, 2013 - 11:16 pm

            🙂

            With friends like you, Talwars will not need enemies. Keep it up !!!!!

        • Reena July 2, 2013 - 1:08 am Reply

          @Samir, what is laughable is that you really believe that the judicial system of our country is so perfect and corruptionless. You think they never collude? Remember Ruchika Girhotra? Remember Priyadarshini matto? Jessica lal? Nitish Katara? Innumerable acid victims? In every single case, the entire judicial system colluded together to deny justice to the victims. Some have got a modicum of justice due to media exposure while many others are still waiting…and probably will be waiting for many more years to come. If there was never any unjust collusion between all the parties that you mention, how come the culprits got away? Someone should have caught them somewhere right? If it can happen in one case, why do you feel it may not happen in another?

          • Samir Thapa July 2, 2013 - 3:47 pm

            @Reena, I think this article is confusing between ‘Haves’ and ‘Have nots’. Ruchika Girhotra, Priyadarshini matto, Jessica lal etc were the ‘ have nots’ with no political or media connections. In these cases Tehelka has done a commendable job. On the contrary Talwars are very well connected people and appear to be using their media muscle to escape the crime of murder. Was Jessica Lall case able to go Supreme Court the way Talwars go every other month? Was articles of Jessica Lall case published by Toronto Star ? Are you suggesting that the servants are bribing the UP police, the courts, the CBI to frame Talwars? Reena, yes our courts are not corruption free, but everybody is not up for sale, there ARE judges and magistrates who deliver Justice. I have the firsthand knowledge of that ….

            I feel that Shoma Chaudhury has published this article as a personal favor to Talwar, rather than for a quest for Truth or Justice. There is no merit in this article.

    • Krunal Shah June 22, 2013 - 1:03 pm Reply

      hey sabina, this case was very much solved just after a 7 days of incident with Talwars accused of this murder. But after that what started has all the money tamasha!!! Please have your intuitions and common sense dancing. you dont need to read such bakvas and malicious article that will just make things confusing with intension!!! Paid journalism!!! Shame Tahelka!!!

      • sumit tandon June 25, 2013 - 5:52 pm Reply

        Really. Hope a case is solved with you in it some day too. #stupidmoron

    • Kurien V June 23, 2013 - 7:11 pm Reply

      Sabina: After the CBI had presented its closure report, it was the Talwars who insisted on pursuing the case further, in spite of great personal, financial and psychological stakes, to get to the bottom of the case. Sad, it doesn’t tell you anything at all…! And mind you, it’s twisted logic that the poor doesn’t commit any crime. Who were the Delhi rapists…? If the stained purple pillow is any evidence, reading with the narco-tests, the guys have much to answer…

    • @ag June 24, 2013 - 10:08 pm Reply

      Ms Lamba, for Law nobody is Paisewala & Servant so please stop repeating that servants have no support. And by the way u r also not a Judge or a Lawyer so let law do their work. And at the end, we will know who is guilty or not.

    • Santa_Singh June 26, 2013 - 12:23 am Reply

      Meri Maaa…

      Read clearly in page 1. NARCO ANALYSIS clearly stated Talwards did not depict deception but the Servants did.

      Hey Bhagwaan…kyun apni akal pe parda daal rahi hai meri maa

    • Reena July 2, 2013 - 1:02 am Reply

      Nobody “knows” anything here. This was just an effort to show that the Talwars are being prejudiced against. The servants have been let off long back inspite of there being plenty of evidence against them while the Talwars are being hounded. The point is, why the double standards? Yes, the servants may not have done it. But how would anyone know if all the evidence is ignored and they are allowed to walk free? Or if that’s the way things go, then even the Talwars should be allowed to walk free, particularly considering that there is no evidence against them even by the CBI’s own admission.

  • sabina lamba June 21, 2013 - 6:16 pm Reply

    Mr Pvs Sarma I 100% agree with you.

    • rajesh joshi June 21, 2013 - 10:57 pm Reply

      And why may I ask you enlightened self. What action of the Talwars has upset you so much?

      • raj josh June 25, 2013 - 1:12 am Reply

        they are sleeping through two murders…. this upsets me..

  • Arya Ravinder Kumar June 21, 2013 - 6:19 pm Reply

    It is next to impossible that they donot know who killed Arushi if they did not. if they are innocent why donot tell the truth what happened on that fateful night.

    • sumit tandon June 25, 2013 - 5:55 pm Reply

      You murdered Aarushi. Prove it that you did not … you seem very eager to frame her parents for the crimes you’ve committed.

      • Samir Thapa July 1, 2013 - 2:02 am Reply

        If Arya Ravinder Kumar would have been in the apartment on that night, then you would have a point.
        If Arya Ravinder Kumar would have contacted retired SP Gautam to alter the post mortem report then you would have a point.
        If Hemraj’s wife would blamed that Hemraj had told her that, Arya Ravinder Kumar had threatened him two weeks prior to the murder, then you would have a point.

  • Jesse James June 21, 2013 - 6:44 pm Reply

    The truth is always more succinct. Shoma’s verbose & long-winded attempt to suggest an alternative hypothesis reminds me of the church’s astronomers trying to prove the sun & planets revolved around the earth.

    While Ptolemaic’s complex geocentric theory appealed to the church’s theologians – it clearly was against the tide of truth. Hope Tehelka has the sense to see the reckoning of truth vs its own “Ptolemaic” sense of journalism & the truth.

    • intrigued observer June 29, 2013 - 2:13 am Reply

      please make points pertaining to the above report instead of knotting yourself up in irrelevant gibberish. All that convoluted gaseous exhaust may just propel you into orbit towards a ptolemaically cataclysmic revolution till eternity.

  • dr g v rao June 21, 2013 - 7:25 pm Reply

    I regret that modern technique like DNA testing was botched up by CDFD in this case … CDFD played fraud in this case by giving a ‘rectification report’ which is unheard of in Indian Jurisprudence and not allowed under Cr PC … Strange still CDFD did not think proper to order an inquiry into this case and the role of Scientists who analysed this case and issued a ‘rectification report’ without the Director not knowing about it …… can there be more dereliction of duty than this

  • Rajendra Chopra June 21, 2013 - 8:17 pm Reply

    The way they had wiped out primary evidences like cleaning the floor with water, creating doubts…it can be indeed a case of honour killing…

    • Kurien V June 23, 2013 - 6:50 pm Reply

      You making comments after reading one para of the whole story? And it doesn’t matter that the cleaning was done under police supervision?

  • richa June 21, 2013 - 10:39 pm Reply

    THEY R INNOCENT

    • Samir Thapa June 24, 2013 - 6:20 am Reply

      And yes the POPE killed Aarushi

      • Ramya Bania June 25, 2013 - 5:56 pm Reply

        You killed Aarushi motherfucker.

        • Samir Thapa June 26, 2013 - 2:27 pm Reply

          🙂

          • sumit tandon June 26, 2013 - 4:39 pm

            I think Samir Thapa is one of the killers, we should get this IP traced and find out who he is.

          • Samir Thapa June 29, 2013 - 11:10 pm

            You can ask me for my IP, you don’t have to trace or ping

      • June June 27, 2013 - 5:57 pm Reply

        Dear Mr Samir Thapa,
        If Mr talwar was to kill both of them … they being doctors will subscribe to something else. There is no need to kill them and slit their throats. They could just inject them with something or mix something in the food and claim it was food poison which took their lives. Grow up and dont try to cover up for someone by commenting on every article.

        • Samir Thapa June 29, 2013 - 11:05 pm Reply

          Dear June,
          In my humble opinion, it was something that happened in a fit of rage. I believe that the doctors are human beings after all and like any human being, in a fit of rage they do things that they would otherwise not do …. just a thought. BTW, I do not cover for anyone else …. there is no need for that.

  • Mathews June 22, 2013 - 4:06 am Reply

    I feel disgust @ Kaul and with his whole modus operandi. I have sneaked into my friends house in Pandara road from the outside @night time and am aware it is not o ly possible but has been done many times…off course with my friends consent from inside. For the judge not to allow EVIDENCE is not malafide but Criminal in my view. Is there no way to counter what he did with the pillow / cdfd did with the tags ..there has to be protocol I imagine. I am sorry Talwars , I pray that this makes you stronger and that you hang in there for
    Aarushi.. You will be in my prayers always…

    On Mani Padma Hung

    Prayers

  • Samir Thapa June 22, 2013 - 3:22 pm Reply

    This is called delivering justice to those who are dead and cannot speak for themselves. Aarushi and Hemraj are dead and gone, the investigative agency has to stand up and speak for them. The CBI or Scotland Yard or RCMP cannot and should not stay neutral, they must stand up and speak for those who are dead. Yes their investigation should be professional and transparent.

  • Vistasp Hodiwala June 22, 2013 - 3:30 pm Reply

    How do I put a context to this piece?

    Should I say we should be very afraid of staying in this country because it does not matter whether you have committed a wrong or not; if someone out there has designs on you, he or she will make your life a living hell, come what may?

    Should I reiterate with a boring cliché that this story sent shivers down my spine; word for word, line for line; not because it’s amongst the first I have ever read but because this high-profile shocker once again nauseatingly reaffirms what sort of justice mechanism deals with scores of victims who are on the wrong side of the law; be they suspects, under-trials or victims who have been unfairly convicted by trial courts (where the fate is more or less sealed forever) in Mera Bharat Mahaan?

    Should I celebrate the fact that Shoma and Tehelka have once again laid bare the lies and crimes of that inept institution we call the CBI and that dastardly investigating officer AGL Kaul or should we feel horrified with the shallowness, callousness, indifference and incompetence that informs the rest of the media circus?

    Dubious times these, that’s the only thing one can be sure of.

    • Samir Thapa June 22, 2013 - 3:59 pm Reply

      The investigation by AGL Kaul is one of the best, very thorough and professional investigation that we have had in our country. It cannot get better than this. Given the circumstances where highly educated, intelligent and well connected killers have destroyed the physical evidences, CBI has arrived to a conclusion. The respect and faith in CBI is higher because of the officers like AGL Kaul – – – a person who can stand up for truth and deliver justice. I salute you, Sir.

      • Vistasp Hodiwala June 22, 2013 - 5:30 pm Reply

        You are welcome to live with your delusions Samir. It’s a free country.

        • Samir Thapa June 26, 2013 - 2:33 pm Reply

          Let us do some reality check to see if I am in delusion or you are in delusion. If Talwars wins this case in Supreme court then I am in delusion else ….

          By the way it is a free country.

          • sumit tandon June 26, 2013 - 4:40 pm

            Thapa you’re in the state of delusion in either case.

            A psycho needs a psychiatrist not an outcome of cricket match or supreme court… 🙂

          • Samir Thapa July 1, 2013 - 1:53 am

            A psycho is a person who would kill his daughter, get her private parts cleaned, get his powerful contacts to alter post-mortem findings, use his connections in media to have this article published. Also the psycho tried his level best to frame three innocent young men in his neighbourhood…. This Mr. Jekyl and Dr. Hide is the very psycho you are trying to protect. :-))

          • Vistasp Hodiwala July 1, 2013 - 10:21 pm

            By your logic, he is not a psycho but Superman incarnate. Can’t you see where you are going with this?

      • romel dias June 24, 2013 - 10:14 pm Reply

        ‘Given the circumstances’?? Excuse me..but collecting evidence is what the police are scheduled to do..and it was well documented how they were completely incompetent on the day….I even remember how they jumped to the conclusion of Hemraj being the murderer until the mans body was found.

        • Samir Thapa June 26, 2013 - 2:00 pm Reply

          Yes, collecting evidences is the job of the police and CBI. And destroying evidences was the job of the convicts… Now please do not say that I do not have a video recording of Talwars doing the cleaning …

      • kurian June 29, 2013 - 8:17 am Reply

        It cannot get better than this. AGL Kaul , I just pray that someday touch DNA is DONE and your investigation is EXPOSED. Your investigation will make a perfect CASE STUDY OF WHAT NOT TO DO. Kaul is not the first NOR the last (unfortunately) I cry today and pray that when it happens to him , I am there to write this. May you gain Merit that a few inspired SOULS bring about a change in the justice system, I pray that the Supreme Court Judges read this and not just sit thru this CRIMINAL investigation. Cant they take Suo Motto action like in the Jessica Lal case ? Since this is not a political case, cant the politicians pull up this KAUL ?? Cant someone do SOMETHING ?

        • Samir Thapa July 1, 2013 - 1:41 am Reply

          Very few men have the fortitude to stand up for the truth. It does not matter how powerful the guilty is or how inconsequential the victim is, they deliver justice and stand up for the Truth. Mr AGL Kaul is one of them. Whatever the Talwars may think today, in his investigation and report, I have found him to be very fair to Talwars as well.

      • Vistasp Hodiwala July 1, 2013 - 10:19 pm Reply

        Samir, stop being a troll by chasing up every comment. which comes in defence of the parents. It only exposes you more and more and lays bare whatever hare-brained motivations you may have in supporting Kaul and denouncing the Talwars. If the majority don’t still seem to be getting your point, you need to learn to shut up and not go on and on. I say this with complete politeness. Breathe…my dear man.

    • http://tehelka.com/framed-the- July 1, 2013 - 3:21 am Reply

      I am equally troubled and fail to draw a reasonable conclusion.

      Flaws in law administration and doubtful journalism is too evident .

      Tehelka is doing a good job , putting a sensible view point without drawing a irrevocable inference. However , we need to have faith in judicial system despite some black sheeps around . Compassion and sympathy will always be with the troubled parents. Let courts express their opinion without any

      4th pillar pressure.

      Living in India has its own perils and those who can manage , go to elsewhere , always settle in say US , Australia or Singapore .

      If by choice or compulsion we need to stay put , we have limited options and hope that right to live with honour and justice to all will be available in near future . I am not judging Thekla or CBI , my trust in right action & ethical values in diminishing each day . Even after earning crores ,our young players are tempted to get bribes for game fixing . Please recall involvement of famed journalists – who all were exposed during NIRA RADIA -Tata case [paid yellow journalism } . I no longer watch their anchored TV programme , neither read sunday colums by such group.

      Sheer pain to think of all this mad world.

  • srinivas June 22, 2013 - 6:02 pm Reply

    When I read the article it hurt me. When I read the comments it hurt me the most. Mr Tyagi has started abusing in writing without any provocation. Don’t we have any decency in thought, words or deed? Why should one get perturbed by another person’s comments about an article.

    • Mastram Ji ki Jaye June 25, 2013 - 5:57 pm Reply

      Ye ley mera lund choos ley… aaraam milega.

  • Ravi June 22, 2013 - 11:06 pm Reply

    “Talwars were just an ordinary middle-class Indian family” Girl, you really need to restart your common sense.

    • Vidhya Kumar June 24, 2013 - 10:11 pm Reply

      Why?

  • Ash Malhotra June 23, 2013 - 11:28 am Reply

    Talwars are kind of more sinned against than sinning. It is shocking that the trial court and the supreme court both are in a denial mode even for their legal rights. Are these justices delivering a summary trial and a summary judgement? Or is it happening in a Banana republic? I have high regard for India’s judicial system. But this is giving me a very sad picture of it. Mr. CJ, take some action before it is too late.

  • Samir Thapa June 23, 2013 - 1:50 pm Reply

    If you think that Talwars have been treated unfairly, then nobody, nobody ever got fair treatment in India and this certainly is not true. Talwars have been investigated by UP police and the CBI and have arrived at similar conclusion. If you think that courts are not treating Talwars fairly, even after they visit Supreme Court ever other month, then nobody in India have been treated fairly by courts and this obviously is not true. If you think that the media is biased against Talwars even after articles by NDTV, Tehelka, Toronto Star, Daily Mail UK then media is biased against every individual and this obviously is not true. Justice and Truth are very sacred and we cannot allow the media muscle of Talwars to influence the court proceeding…. Please let the law take its course.

  • Reddy June 23, 2013 - 2:32 pm Reply

    I read the article but could not find anything on what the talwars were doing when their daughter was being killed by the domestic servent… if we believe thats wat had happened? Who could possibly be in such a deep sleep and hear anything when two people got killed in their own house. I dont support or suspect talwars…but i was jus wondering …how the talwars didnt know anything till morning. doesnt seem to be loogical….

    • Beekayr June 26, 2013 - 6:24 pm Reply

      This I agree is the counter to the Servants theory otherwise everything is quite according to the tehelka investigation ….why did tehelka report not take in to account the Talwars disposition on the night of the murder …That is exactly what is taking everybody by surprise .How could the Talwars miss the noise when their daughter was being murdered…and subsequently the clean up of the scene of crime…??? I would say they were complicit in the entire act ….

  • Yuvi June 23, 2013 - 4:39 pm Reply

    5 years and no one has a clue. A lot of justifications, insinuations in the article above… either ways no clarity.

    Will the truth ever be told? No smoke without fire. So no one should go scot-free on the back of insinuations – be it Talwars, the servants group or even Kaul.

    And why we arent using the best of forensics to assess this case baffles me – if we arent that is. India is second to none and neither is access to knowledge limited.

  • suzy June 24, 2013 - 9:26 am Reply

    Some of these comments are so callous and prejudiced. It is sick how the whole country has vicariously indicted Arushi’s parents that at best is anecdotal Shame on the courts for going along with public opinion.

  • Udit Maheshwari June 24, 2013 - 6:47 pm Reply

    Well written article, but I have a few reservations about it. I am also sure that I will attract a lot of abuse from most of the readers of this website. admittedly, CBI has bungled this case. But this looks increasingly like a puff piece. Saying that a normal family cannot kill their own daughter is believable but not too outlandish. Worse has happened before. The writer cannot be so naive while writing on a widely read medium. My theory is, and I am no where involved in this case, that the Talwar’s are involved somehow. It might be a crime of rage, rather than a pre-meditated ‘butchering’. As far as everyone saying its a normal family, no one knows what really goes on behind closed doors. This has been seen with numerous instances of wife beating etc. This publication seems to just fight against the institution, always. As the name suggests, it is in operation to create ripples. Need to be more balanced and impartial.

    • romel dias June 24, 2013 - 10:23 pm Reply

      Udit you are so brilliant, that I wonder if you needed to read the article at all in the first place…

      Do point out all the badly written parts that support your puff-piece theory…

      of course you do need to also show us how this could be more balanced and impartial.

  • Prasant nair June 24, 2013 - 7:11 pm Reply

    Dont support talwars blindly….. its quite possible they are the guilty persons,your blind support might help them escape punishment for ever …….. Nupur is quite a suspicious and cruel kind of personality…. she knows the secret i guess……keep an eye on her…..

    • Mastram Ji ki Jaye June 25, 2013 - 5:59 pm Reply

      Noida police ka lund hai naa tu?

  • Abhinav Srivastava June 24, 2013 - 8:39 pm Reply

    Who is guilty and who is not is still not proved. but i do agree on this fact that media make their own conclusions and stories for the sake of their TRP. It’s incorrect to frame them guilty as everyone is innocent until proven as per our law. And it’s also not right to stop them to go to higher court as it’s every citizen’s right. Media must stay in it’s limit before defaming someone.

  • Jas Nagra June 24, 2013 - 10:22 pm Reply

    The main question is why would CBI frame Talwars? There is something very fishy about this incident that no one knows since one of the servant Hemraj was mudered, it could all had been a pre-planed game of either of the two Talwars maybe the father or mother the other one not knowing anything what happened that night when Arushi was mudered , knowning the fact they had spent quality time few days before their daughter’s murder.

  • Itti June 24, 2013 - 11:39 pm Reply

    I just finished reading this article, mind is still reeling. Feel absolutely disgusted, more for the so-called ‘public servants’ than for the murders. Idiots are just not able to get to the bottom of this. Bas haath mein le kar hila rahe hain. Yes, it is a complicated case. Yes, it is horrific. Yes, it is extremely confusing. Par iska yeh matlab nahi ki tum parents ko bali ka bakra bana do! I mean, aur koi to mila hoga nahi; to idiots ne socha ki chalo inhi ko chutiya bana dete hain. Is murder ke hazaar reasons ho sakte hain, but I’d like to believe that Aarushi’s parents didn’t murder her & Hemraj. I’m also the only child of my parents; iklauti beti apne maa baap ka garv hoti hai. No chance in hell they murdered her!!

  • Khush Saluja June 25, 2013 - 2:14 am Reply

    the most imp issue which tehlka hasnt highlighted it is that if the doors are locked frm inside at every exit frm talwar’s house how cn it b an outsider]’s workk???

  • Fakie June 25, 2013 - 3:24 am Reply

    So, whats the conclusion?
    The CBI investigation team, head of CBI, high court, supreme court etc were all bribed by the domestic servants so as to hide the truth?

    Or, in case neither the Talwars or the servants killed Aarushi, did she commit suicide?

    Ohh wait… the devil must have come to earth, entered the house through the wall, raped and killed Aarushi. That sounds perfectly possible.`

    PS: “An explosive and detailed analysis of the country’s most famous murder trial”
    Country’s most famous murder trial? LOL, can I have some of what the author is smoking? 😛

    • potty mouth June 26, 2013 - 2:00 am Reply

      > The CBI investigation team, head of CBI, high court, supreme court etc
      were all bribed by the domestic servants so as to hide the truth?

      Tum jaise lund bharey huye hain CBI/Noida police main… jinka dimag gaye ghaas key saath charr gayi. Bhosadi jisney Hemraj ko maara, ussi ney Aarushi ko bhi maara … aur aarushi ka mobile 10 kilometer duur indicate hua. Abb teri khopdi main kucch ghusa?

      Ya peechey sey ghusaun?

  • AnonQ June 25, 2013 - 8:20 am Reply

    Not sure who killed that poor child Arushi but Talwar sure do have some very powerful friends/relatives.

    • BalramM June 25, 2013 - 9:10 am Reply

      The CBI has powerful friends and lots of intimidation power too.

  • Vidhya Kumar June 25, 2013 - 8:28 am Reply

    Incompetence, arse-covering, and fear of running afoul of police who might wreck your life: This case is rife with mistakes and lies.
    Kaul is lying, Dohre is lying, Dahiya is lying. Gurdarshan Singh, who started
    this nonsensical, never-proven story of Hemraj and Aarushi in a “compromising
    position” is now an Assistant Director General – not bad for man who made an embarrassing spectacle of himself on national television.
    There needs to be an open, independent inquiry into this case, with the power
    to subpoena and examine and analyze evidence. It must have the power to
    recommend reforms to our law enforcement.
    No matter who you think committed the crime, this case is a national
    shame.

    • Samir Thapa June 26, 2013 - 1:34 pm Reply

      So everybody is lying and everybody is incompetent. Is everybody conniving to frame Talwars, is that what Shoma is saying. My dear Vidhya, the fundamental thing is that, that neither strangers can connive nor can they frame a person. They key word is Strangers.

  • ida June 25, 2013 - 11:10 am Reply

    I cant ever think a mother can do such a thing like killing her daughter or protecting some one who harmed/killed her daughter.. She must be sick if she did that… God forbid…if she did it then for her daughters’ sake she should admit it or otherwise she should …………What………….. cant think what to say…. its too hurting a truth we r facing…. Poor Aarushi… God Bless her soul

  • Chinoy J June 25, 2013 - 11:52 am Reply

    Why do you write that “The aides, on the other hand, particularly Krishna and Rajkumar, showed deception in their lie detector tests.” Everyone saw on TV (no less) the way Krishna and Rajkumar were slapped (pun intended) with answers and NOT questions by a lady officer (off camera) during the Lie Detector Test.

  • Nishant June 25, 2013 - 2:13 pm Reply

    Paid Article… Pure Nonsense… Talwars are guilty… Author doesnt know what its talking about…

  • Sam June 25, 2013 - 3:54 pm Reply

    I read the article and the comments. One thing that is clear is the writer has done her homework well. She has gone through documents and also compared one against the other. That is responsible journalism. I would like to see more such researched pieces as compared to sensation hankering trp collecting breaking news reports.

  • Monty June 25, 2013 - 5:10 pm Reply

    This clearly is a sponsered story of Talwars. All evidence point against them…however using their clout they have messed it up so much..that now everyone is confused. Open and shut case – Rajesh found Aarushi in compromising position with hemraj…lost his cool and killed both.

    • Vidhya Kumar June 25, 2013 - 6:38 pm Reply

      Did you even read the story? Clearly there’s not much evidence against them at all. No proven motive, no proven murder weapon, no proven chain of events. It’s all conjecture and logical leaps (and sometimes logical cartwheels, pirouettes and good number of logical face-plants).

      Speaking of evidence, do you have any to back up the claim of the article being sponsored? I didn’t think so.

    • Samir Thapa June 26, 2013 - 1:46 pm Reply

      @Monty, it is more of a ‘misplaced sympathies’ of Tehelka for Talwars rather than a sponsored story. I am a big fan of Tehelka and read it regularly, but in Aarushi’s case either Tehelka is not telling us everything they know about this case OR they are protecting the people who should be in Tihar. Or simply they intend to influence the court proceedings …. which is totally unacceptable.

  • radhika June 25, 2013 - 10:34 pm Reply

    This story is unfortunately as biased as other stories floated around by the media. While I appreciate Tehelka’s efforts in presenting the other side of the story, the writer seems to be playing the role of lawyer and judge deciding who is innocent and who is not. “Framed?” is a nice headline but at the end of the article you seem to have arrived at “Framed.”

    • Kurien V June 30, 2013 - 12:21 pm Reply

      Radhika: Unfair to criticize the common-sense observations as biased and not cite examples. “Framed” is the writer’s opinion and for that she has presented her reasons. Now for “Bias” what are your reasons?

  • saurabh June 25, 2013 - 10:58 pm Reply

    I don’t know and comment what really happened that night but I have one very simple question. Shoma wrote a very good article but why doesn’t she or her media showing this story on TV. Usually media sensationalize everything, THEN WHY MEDIA NOT SHOWING THIS ON TV. Why they are only accusing CBI of unfair trail, isn’t media itself is unfair to Talwar couples. Or this article is just another story to fill up empty web pages. Its media who should be fair on first place, common public in not going to CBI office and courts to know the truth, we make our assumptions based on what we saw on TV and read in newspapers. Fuck this media shit…bunch of assholes, they are more entertaining then WWF 🙂

  • Santa_Singh June 26, 2013 - 12:21 am Reply

    May CBI AG Kaul suffer the same way in this or next birth the way the Talwars have suffered.

    Kaul…Enjoy your rein while it lasts. KARMA is a bitch. It will come back to you. Neither will you have time to hide nor run.

    You will bite the dust.

    I hope Tehelka can still track Krishna even if he is in Nepal. Clearly, he is the rapist and murderer.

    Hopefully, Arun Kumar’s true investigation will see the light of the day. Someday

  • SJ June 26, 2013 - 7:56 am Reply

    The only thing i can say – CONFIDENTIALITY is most important things in any investigation. We needs to respect people in all situations. But unfortunately we Indians like to make stories and broadcast in public which makes things alter its main course. And this is true for educated class as well. Media is just thrives on these stories……..

  • Murty June 27, 2013 - 1:30 pm Reply

    Unbelievable. Why don’t you get this article transalated and distribute it amongst the general public? Cause I am sure not many would find it here. This article and the previous ones published on Tehelka clearly show massive loopholes in the investigation. But what has Tehelka or anyone else done about it till now? Is this article going to achieve anything for the Talwars? If the answer is NO then I am sorry to say Shoma Chaudhury you are only wasting your time. If all the painstaking research you have done for this article is never going to see light outside of this website then you could as well have chosen not to write this. I am now going to tweet this to the stalwarts in Media journalism like Arnab Goswami and Rajdeep Sardesai and ask them what they are doing as ‘fearless journalists’ of modern India. Instead of covering lousy stories of our incorrigibly corrupt netas it would be great if all the powerful media houses took this up and fight for the Talwars. It need not be believed that they are innocent but certainly such a sham of an investigation cannot be allowed to continue.

  • JAS June 28, 2013 - 7:11 am Reply

    As per the version, 3 servants sneak in for a booze session , drink and then murder 2 persons, clean up all the evidences and sneak out while the sahibs sleep. Its an act of such an audacity from three servants (who have no reported crimes of the past) specially with the sahibs present , though sleeping, that it’s too hard to believe. (And who was drinking the expensive “Ballantine?” ) Either the sahibs were dead drunk too or they were not present in the house. Its also hard to believe that the Talwars would murder their only child. So what happened that night? Only Arushi or Hemraj, if either could speak, could tell! Either way there was no presentable evidence found to convict either side. If Shoma’s article is to point out that the CBI should have closed the “blind case” long ago and not harass either party without any credible evidence, she’s right. I like her researched approach to expose Talwar’s harassment by the justice system merely on hunches. What’s shocking is the utter callousness of some officials of institutions, forensic as well as police, when they somersaulted on their own findings under the second investigator, Kaul. Arun Kumar had done a reasonably good job in investigating the case inspite of entering the case at a time when crucial evidences were absent but he finally came to a dead end and the case should have been closed. And on hindsight, the Talwars should’ve accepted the closure instead of appealing to reopen.
    p.s: On the Hemraj’s blood-stained purple-pillow found in Krishna’s room, there again can be two stories. One were Krishna is the accused and the second where he is an accomplice of his master.

    • vinjax June 28, 2013 - 4:39 pm Reply

      So this man Krishna kills somebody in another house and carries the weapon back to his own pad to wipe it on his own cushion? Or he carries a cushion from the scene of the crime back to his own house?

      Or, if your hypothesis is correct, he is asked to take the offending cushion away by his master and he takes it home instead of destroying it.

      Any way you look at it, a bloodied cushion leaving the scene of the crime to move to one of the alleged murderer’s houses is too outlandish by any logic.

      • intrigued observer June 29, 2013 - 1:44 am Reply

        Hemraj’s blood on the cushion cover could have come from Krishna’s body. he could have got it while murdering/carrying the body upstairs.

  • 4thaugust1932 June 28, 2013 - 3:08 pm Reply

    fMRI will solve the case

  • WHEN WILL THIS COUNTRY BE be June 28, 2013 - 11:25 pm Reply

    IF YOU GUYS HAVE SEEN THE MOVIE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION…U WILL THINK THAT WHAT IF IT WAS AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT THIRD PARTY (WHO IS A MASTER MINDED SICK MURDER) WHO HAS MURDERED BOTH OF THEM ……. AND THAT HE HAS ERASED ALL THE EVIDENCE MAYBE I AINT SURE ….I MEAN THINK OF IT OKAY THE DAD WAS ANGRY AT HER BUT HE WOULD HAVE CHOOSEN TO HIT HER WITH A BOTTLE OR THE GOLF CLUB…WHY SHOULD HE DO SURGICAL KNIFE CUT ON HIS OWN DAUGHTER

  • fahim June 29, 2013 - 3:09 pm Reply

    There are loopholes in system but based on them you cannot be judgemental..there are reasons which could be very well known to the investigating authorities but could not be made public due to some political reasons………..

  • Guest July 1, 2013 - 2:25 pm Reply

    Great work Tehelka. Can’t imagine position of Talwars. I am not saying the are inncocent bec I dont know, but to read the bias of the country’s TOP INVESTIGATING AGENCY is soul wrecking. I pray that God will put an end to this ordeal in His own time.

  • Reena July 2, 2013 - 12:50 am Reply

    This is an excellent article on the case. I have been astounded by the lack of logic surrounding this, and am glad someone put it out in such a detailed manner there. I cannot even imagine the kind of anguish the parents must be going through. The people who label them guilty are nothing but narrow minded, prejudiced and unthinking folks who probably feel that a girl having a boyfriend causes “shame” to the family. I once had an argument with an idiot over this case, and he asked me “ok, tell me honestly..what would you have done if your own daughter was talking to guys and having boyfriends at the age of 15”. I don’t even have words to reply to such astonishing absurdity. The UP police guy who initially floated this theory should be the one who is jailed. He brought his sick khap panchayat mentality to a legal forum when he said “father was as characterless as the daughter”. How sickeningly judgemental? And for what – just because she, being a normal 15 year old in a cosmopoliatan city, used to chat with guys? The fact that the entire judicial system has accepted this as a possible motive without a shred of evidence shows how backward the system still is.

  • Samir Thapa July 2, 2013 - 3:55 pm Reply

    I think this article is confusing between ‘Haves’ and ‘Have nots’.
    Ruchika Girhotra, Priyadarshini matto, Jessica lal etc were the ‘ have
    nots’ with no political or media connections. In these cases Tehelka has
    done a commendable job. To the contrary Talwars are very well connected
    people and appear to be using their media muscle to escape the crime of
    murder. Was Jessica Lall case able to go Supreme Court the way Talwars
    go every other month? Was articles of Jessica Lall case published by
    Toronto Star ? Is this article suggesting that the servants are bribing the UP
    police, the courts, the CBI to frame Talwars? Yes our courts are
    not corruption free, but everybody is not up for sale, there ARE judges
    and magistrates who deliver Justice.

    I feel that Shoma Chaudhury has published this article as a personal
    favor to Talwar, rather than for a quest for Truth or Justice. There is
    no merit in this article.

  • Vinod July 23, 2013 - 10:16 am Reply

    I support the just cause around supporting innocent parents who have lost their child to a heinous crime. Inhumane Offenders should be brought to justice.

    Shame on incompetent and corrupt media hungry heartless officers of CBI and Police – who have caused a double blow to the parents.

  • rn October 31, 2013 - 10:23 am Reply

    it is one thing for stupid police officers to have a theory and another for a wanton media to certify the theory in the name of sensation and viewership TRPs. it may not yet be too late for a better investigation to occur. that said, the question is, who is clear or authoritative enough to order a fresh probe? the courts and the police are just too ashamed to accept that they could be wrong. and too many personal biases have entered into too many theories. justice is one of the primal needs of a society. i hope that someone is divined with the need to bring justice to the whole story

  • Samir Thapa December 16, 2013 - 5:15 am Reply

    Ruhi Naaz

    Honestly I never heard Justice Ganguly participating in Aarushi’s case. Parents have approached the Supreme Court many times , I remember Justice K. G. Balakrishnan, Justice B. Sudershan Reddy and Justice P. Sathasivam but never heard of Ganguly. We cannot neglect the fact that even Allahabad High court did reject the parents plea … and in Allahabad there was no Ganguly.

  • Samir Thapa December 16, 2013 - 5:21 am Reply

    When you have nothing to say, it is best not to say anything. If Shoma & Talwars think that the trial was flawed, well there is the Allahabad High Court and then there is Supreme court. Nobody can stop them to approach them …

    • Agyaat December 16, 2013 - 7:30 pm Reply

      “When you have nothing to say, it is best not to say anything.”

      Makes one wonder why you’d say things at all then. LOL!!

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