TWO FACES OF THE AARUSHI TALWAR CASE

The “2008 Noida Double Murder Case”, popularly known as “Aarushi Talwar murder case” is one of the most controversial cases of India. The body of Aarushi Talwar, a 13-year-old girl was discovered in an apartment of “Jal Vayu Vihar” in Noida on May 16, 2008.

The parents, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, decided to notify the police immediately after discovering their daughter, Aarushi dead, with a major injury on her skull and a slash in her throat. The presence of the media, neighbours, family, and friends had greatly harmed the crime scene by the time the police arrived. Upon examining the crime scene and questioning Aarushi’s parents, it was discovered that Hemraj, the domestic helper, was missing. Immediately, suspicion fell on him.

However, the following day, Hemraj’s body was discovered on the terrace of the same apartment block, with the same kind of slit in his throat. After conducting forensic examinations on both bodies, the authorities concluded that the murder was done by the same individual.

Two people were murdered in one house in the night, and no one knows who did it. At this juncture, the Delhi police believe it to be an “Open and Shut” case, and without any proper investigation, blamed it on the parents of Aarushi Talwar, stating it to be a case of “Honour Killing” by the parents. The police found out about Krishna, who was Rajesh Talwar’s helper at his clinic, and when questioned he claimed to be present at the residence on the night of the murder. During interrogation, Krishna stated that Hemraj and Aarushi had an affair and that Aarushi and her father had a strained relationship. The police thus put it on the parents with a flawed investigation, overlooking several facts. The forensic team too overlooked gathering samples of a few critical pieces of evidence.

This resulted in a careless inquiry, and several speculations began to circulate in the media. Everything happened hastily, and the Talwars were being questioned such that they didn’t even have time to grieve their daughter’s death.

A few “high profile” individuals noticed that the police probe was flawed and demanded a CBI investigation. The CBI eventually intervened, but the damage was already done. This case was worked on by two CBI teams. When the first team led by Joint Director Arun Kumar began their inquiry, they were surprised by the unethical investigating procedures used by the police and discovered numerous loopholes in the police investigation.

The CBI investigated all of the material and statements but found little. The only significant key they discovered was Krishna's testimony, because, aside from the Talwars, he was the only one present who knew what occurred that night. He was promptly summoned for questioning. However, during questioning, it was alleged that Krishna was being very faint with his description of the night, which led the CBI to believe that Krishna was misleading everyone.

The CBI received permission to conduct a “Narco Test” on Krishna. It was allegedly revealed in the test that “there was no affair between Hemraj and Aarushi, and that Rajkumar was the one obsessed with Aarushi, and that he under the influence of alcohol insisted that they visit Aarushi’s room.

Krishna stated that when they were trying to peep into Aarushi’s room, she noticed them and started screaming, and that he hit her on the head to shut her up, and that they eventually ended up killing her, and also had to kill Hemraj because he was a witness to the act”.

However, the details of the Narco Test are not verifiable, as the test conducted was also botched. It was later revealed that the CBI did not have complete access to the video footage of the test, and that they received edited footage. Moreover, the test had to be stopped abruptly as Krishna’s pulse started dropping and risked his death.

Even though this test brought the CBI close to concluding the case, they had two major problems- that the test was not complete, and that the results of the Narco Test are not admissible as evidence in court.


As the first CBI team came close to concluding the investigation, they received information that Aarushi Talwar was sexually active from forensic experts, and were told that they made mistakes in their investigation. Following this, the CBI appointed a second team to reinvestigate the entire case, which then concluded that the parents were responsible behind the murder. However, this second investigation was also allegedly flawed. Nobody to this day knows if this was a plot by officials to blame it on the parents.

Aarushi Talwar’s parents were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2013, but were freed from jail in 2017 following an appeal. The CBI has since closed the case. However, no one still knows who has committed the murders.

The entire nation continues to ask one question- Was this Honour Killing by the parents, or a Botched Investigation by the authorities? People have conflicting opinions on this. Some people say that the parents did it, some say the house helps. No conclusion can be reached. However, no matter one’s opinion, it cannot be denied that the authorities failed to investigate the case properly. Had the police and CBI been more cognizant of the details, the case would’ve been resolved.

Aarushi’s grandfather in an open letter in 2015 revealed certain realities which had been hidden until then. In the letter, he stated that “UP Police had repeatedly warned us not to talk, as it would adversely impact their case, but their motive was otherwise.

They wanted to keep us away from the media to hide their incompetence”. The investigation of the case was thus severely flawed.

This case has exemplified the incompetence of the Indian Judicial System. Even though the CBI closed the case in 2017, it continues to remain unsolved. This was a case full of flaws. The entire procedure was defective, from gathering evidence to planning multiple variations of the murder scene. Aarushi Talwar was denied justice by India's judicial system. It was not the success of the killer, but Miscarriage of Justice to its entirety.


SOURCES

1) Arunoday Mukharji, Unanswered questions in Arushi Murder Probe Unanswered questions in Arushi murder probe - India News - IBNLive (2008), https://web.archive.org/web/20110128183946/http:/ibnlive.in.com/news/unanswered-questions-in-arushi-murder-probe/65827-3.html.

2) Devesh K Pandey, Aarushi's parents charged with murder The Hindu (2011), https://www.thehindu.com/news/national//article60551537.ece.

3) Shoma Chaudhury, Framed? The Aarushi-Hemraj Murder Case – An Investigation Web Archive (2013), https://web.archive.org/web/20131203020911/http:/www.tehelka.com/framed-the-aarushi-hemraj-murder-case-an-investigation/?singlepage=1.

4) Aarushi case: “footprints seemed to have been wiped” Rediff (2012), https://www.rediff.com/news/report/aarushi-case-foot-prints-seemed-to-have-been-wiped/20120911.htm.

5) ‘Outsiders Were Present at Talwar's Home on Murder Night’, Outlook India (2013), https://web.archive.org/web/20131202233846/http:/news.outlookindia.com/items.aspx?artid=816583.



This article is written by Aman Srivastava of Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad.

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