The Allahabad High Court’s order acquitting Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, giving them the benefit of doubt in the Aarushi Talwar murder case, nearly nine years after their teenage daughter and domestic help were killed, has further strengthened doubts that were raised initially over the investigation of the case and the 2013 judgment that had sentenced the couple to life imprisonment.
The benefit of the doubt, which came to the couple’s aide, was present in the case from Day One, but was neglected by all authorities, be it the trial court, the Uttar Pradesh Police or the CBI, which gave contradictory versions on the case. All of which highlights that there were several loopholes in the case, which if prevented would have not only shortened the trial but also ensured swifter justice to Aarushi, something that now seems unlikely. Here’s a look at some of the loopholes:
File image of Aarushi Talwar. Image courtesy: Facebook
The evidence was only circumstantial
AGL Kaul, the CBI investigator who had submitted a closure report in the case, had said in his report that no evidence was found against the culprits in the case, and the only evidence that was available was circumstantial. The Ghaziabad trial court, which sentenced the Talwars to life imprisonment, not only ignored this but also several other doubts raised by the report.
Where were the murder weapons?
In a report published in NDTV, Avirook Sen, who wrote the book Aarushi, cited several reasons as to why he felt the Talwars might have been framed. “The CBI never seized any of the Talwars’ dental equipment that it claimed was used to kill Aarushi. In fact, the investigators had no clue what a dental scalpel looked like, leave alone understand what kind of cuts it could inflict; they didn’t even bother to buy one to check. As for Rajesh Talwar’s golf club — the one that had supposedly been ‘cleaned’ (and was, therefore, the weapon of offence) — was not the one that the prosecution presented in court as the weapon. After having said all along that the Talwars wiped the stains off one club, the prosecutors told the court that it wasn’t that club, after all, it was another club — one like all the rest, with no evidence of having been wiped clean,” he wrote.
Complete disregard for procedures
Sen cited several other reasons in this article, such as complete disregard for forensic science and record-keeping by presenting unsealed evidence, manipulation of photographic evidence, etc, all of which suggest that the investigation was compromised.
Judgment was formed before the trial began
Sen found out during his research that the judgment was written long before the Talwar’s defence counsel Tanveer Ahmed Mir had completed his final arguments. Writing about Judge Shyam Lal, who presided the case, Sen says that much of the 2,010-page long judgment which convicted the Talwars was “was cut and pasted off other judgments”.
Witnesses were coerced
In 2015, an hour-long video surfaced on YouTube showing Krishna, assistant to Aarushi’s father Rajesh, purportedly saying that the then CBI joint director Arun Kumar had asked him to own up the crime on the promise of getting his sentence reduced.
Ghaziabad court ignored lapses of the agencies
The trial court, while ignoring the lapses on the part of the investigators, put its complete faith on the testimony of Talwar’s maid Bharti Mandal to arrive at the conclusion that “no outsider came inside the house on the fateful night (the intervening night of 15-16 May, 2008). This was despite the fact that Mandal, who had testified that the door was locked from the inside when she arrived, told the court in no uncertain terms that she had been tutor