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Aarushi-Hemraj Murder: A Textbook Example of How Not To Investigate a Case

The question that still remains unanswered is: Who killed Aarushi and Hemraj?

Arunima | CNN-News18Arunima24

Updated:October 15, 2017, 3:50 PM IST
Aarushi-Hemraj Murder: A Textbook Example of How Not To Investigate a Case
(Image: CNN-News18)

New Delhi: Two murders happen. The murderer leaves blood-stained palm prints at the crime scene and blood-stained finger prints on a scotch bottle. If you have read detective novels or watched crime movies, you would think this is enough for the police to nab the culprits. But in Aarushi and Hemraj murder case, Central Bureau of Investigation failed to produce any credible evidence nine years after the crime. Last week, as Allahabad High Court acquitted Aarushi’s parents, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, who were jailed by a local court purely on the basis of circumstantial evidence, it also pulled up CBI for a botched-up probe.

On May 17, 2008 when Noida police reached L 32, Jalvayu Vihar, there were the following evidence to gather and secure — a scotch bottle with blood stains, bed sheet, mattress, pillowcases of the bed where Aarushi’s body was found, blood stains on the roof where Hemraj’s body was found and the paint with which Hemraj’s body was covered. Then there was also a cooler with bloody water, blood stains on the staircase leading to the roof, Aarushi and Hemraj’s mobile phones.

Here’s what Noida police did with the incriminating evidence. They collected the bed sheet, pillow cases, etc. and labelled them in such a way that the forensic results were totally confusing. They collected the scotch bottle, but could not get a clear finger print on it.

Later, it was established that the blood on the bottle was that of Hemraj. But was he drinking? Nobody knows. The mattress on which Aarushi’s body was found (which is what the Noida police’s case diary says) somehow made it to the roof of the neighbour. Police have failed to explain how this happened.

Later, Noida Police said the same mattress was used to cover Hemraj’s body on the terrace. Another bedsheet was found in the partition between the terrace of Talwars and the neighbour. Police failed to find out who did it.

Hemraj’s body was found a day after Aarushi’s. The story of how his body was discovered on May 18 is a saga in itself. Talwar’s neighbours and many journalists who were present there pointed to blood stains on the staircase leading to the roof. Initially, police dismissed those as ‘paan stains’. The ‘paan stains’ could have been his blood or that of the murderer(s), but those stains were cleaned and wiped.

No questions were asked as to why the roof was locked and where the keys were. When Hemraj’s body was discovered on the roof, Noida police had already reached Nepal looking for him. And Talwars had left for Haridwar to perform their daughter’s last rites. Rajesh Talwar had to be called back to identify Hemraj’s body. Soon after the body was discovered, Noida police allowed many journalists, including me, to walk all over the roof, click photographs, stand there and watch the police do their job — basically, they allowed us to trample with evidence on a crime site. The palm print on the area was contaminated beyond scientific recovery.

No questions were asked about why the terrace was locked, who had the keys. Cementing the inability and callousness of the police department in investigating the case, the CBI was brought in.

A month after the crime, the bureau went about opening water tanks on the roof. The CBI team was hoping to find the murder weapon and/or the phones of the accused. They collected bloodied water from the water cooler too. Next up, they scrapped the blood stains on the roof. All these clues were missed by Noida police earlier. The CBI said Rajesh Talwar had discouraged Noida police from going to the roof when he was asked to give keys to the lock. What, when and how that happened and why the police didn’t insist on having it then and there is something that was never explained.

In case of the pillowcases in Aarushi’s room, Noida police initially claimed the blood stains matched Hemraj’s. The defence said the pillow cases were from Krishna’s room. The forensic scientist, however, clarified that the pillowcases with Hemraj’s blood were actually from his own room and because of a ‘typo’, they were wrongly marked.

Dr Dahiya, the forensic scientist from Hyderabad who was brought in later, also clarified that only Aarushi’s blood and DNA was found in her room. The Allahabad High Court order almost indicts CBI’s Additional Superintendent of Police AGL Kaul for pressurising Dr Dahiya to ‘clarify the error’.

Dr Sunil Dohre in his post-mortem did not mention any sexual assault on Aarushi. The High Court, however, noted that in his testimony, Dr Dohre added the bits about the open vaginal cavity. The HC also noted that Hemraj’s post-mortem doctor — Dr Naresh Raj — presumed that ‘his penis was swollen because he was in the middle of or about to have a sexual intercourse’. The presumption of the doctor was not based on medical knowledge, but from his ‘personal experiences’. The HC calls the deposition of both doctors ‘medical blasphemy’.

The CBI also collected the clothes that the Talwars were wearing on the intervening night of May 16 and 17. The prosecution contended that the parents never hugged their daughter upon finding her dead and hence their clothes were devoid of any blood. What’s interesting, however, is that the Noida police never collected their clothes.

Then there was the question of why how the Talwars, sleeping just a few feet away from their daughter, did not hear her screams when she was being killed. Various theories were floated around that: the air conditioner being too loud for them to hear. The argument also circled around how Nupur Talwar had heard the doorbell ring on May 17 when the maid came. With the segregation of the two rooms being such an important aspect to the case, shouldn’t the police have taken a sample section of the wall?

The narco analysis of Krishna and Raj Kumar was something that the CBI did not work on much. In narco analysis apparently, they confessed singing the same Nepali song that was being aired on TV at the time of the murder. But the CBI never tried to gather evidence based on their narco analysis. The CBI team said Krishna and Raj Kumar killed Aarushi and Hemraj but failed to gather strong evidence.

The files were then sent to another CBI team. This team's findings were in complete contrast to what their predecessors found. Just like Noida police, this new CBI team put the onus on the Talwars. What happens when the investigating agency has two contrasting theories about one case? The HC in its order has observed that prosecution has to stand on its own leg and cannot expect a weak defence to provide support.

The question that still remains unanswered is: Who killed Aarushi and Hemraj?

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| Edited by: Puja Menon
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