Five years ago, in the night between May 15 and 16, 2008, schoolgirl Aarushi Talwar and her family’s domestic help Hemraj Banjade were murdered in an identical manner in their Noida flat. Their necks were slit with a sharp weapon and heads smashed with a blunt object, suspected to be a golf club.
Five years later, while there is circumstantial, but not clinching and direct, evidence against her parents dentists Rajesh and Nupur Talwar — they were charged as accused for the murders and destruction of evidence in February 2010 by a Ghaziabad-based special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court — the trial is stuck in a maze of legal battles between the Talwars and CBI’s prosecuting team.
There are fresh indications that the CBI’s first case probe team (special investigation team-1) allegedly goofed up in gathering key evidence.
The team, that had concluded that the murders were done by Rajesh’s medical assistant Krishna Thadarai and domestic helps Raj Kumar and Vijay Mandal, had allegedly ineptly done a mock sound-reconstruction test to find out if the Talwars’ explanation that they did not know of the killings since they were sleeping in an adjoining room holds water.
“Instead of using a heavy object and screams, they (CBI team) dropped a spoon to find if the sound could be heard in the adjoining room,” CBI case prosecutor RK Saini told HT.
In December 2010, the CBI had submitted its closure report in the case before the Ghaziabad CBI court, while listing an exhaustive range of allegedly crucial circumstantial evidence that suggested the Talwars were the main accused.
When asked by HT if the CBI has enough admissible evidence against the Talwars, Saini said, “In cases like this, where they were done inside a house with no eye-witnesses, one can’t expect direct, clinching evidence. There could be only circumstantial evidence and as per Indian Evidence Act’s section 106, in such scenario the onus is on the accused to prove they are innocent….”
What happened that night?
What the CBI says
The CBI says there is no direct evidence on what happened between 12.08am and 6am on May 16 2008, but circumstantial-evidence indicated the probable sequence of events.
Establishing that no “outsider” entered the Talwars’ flat between 11pm and 6am that night, the agency cited forensic evidence — striking dimensions of Rajesh’s golf stick allegedly identical with the dimensions of the injury on the heads of Aarushi and Hemraj. The crime scene was found to be “heavily dressed up” by the couple.
According to CBI, Hemraj and Aarushi were assaulted on Aarushi’s bed with a golf stick, allegedly by Rajesh. Later, Rajesh and Nupur allegedly dragged his body to the terrace, knifed him and hid his body beneath a cooler panel. They targeted Aarushi in an identical manner, the CBI claimed.
What the Talwars say
Talwars lawyer rejected the CBI’s allegations and accused the agency of framing them. Talwars’ lawyers maintain that both Nupur and Rajesh slept throughout the night.