On May 16 last year, 13-year-old Aarushi Talwar and 48-year-old domestic help Hemraj breathed their last. The two were found murdered — their necks sliced and heads injured — at the house of dentist Rajesh Talwar in Noida.
A year later, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is still to file its final report or chargesheet. It missed its 90-day deadline (that ended on September 10, 2008) for filing the report.
The three suspects arrested in the case — Rajesh Talwar's medical assistant Krishna Nepali and domestic helps Raj Kumar and Vijay Mandal — are out on bail for the last eight months.
The CBI also gave a clean chit to Rajesh Talwar, Aarushi’s father, and junked the honour-killing theory of the Noida police, which was previously investigating the case.
Senior investigators in the CBI, who did not want to be identified, had even claimed that though there was scientific evidence linking Krishna and Raj Kumar to the double murders and sexual assault on the teenaged girl, no “material evidence” could be gathered to prove their crimes.
Hindustan Times had reported last month that both Krishna and Raj Kumar had, during their interrogation, given “1.20 am on May 16” as the time when Aarushi was killed — a fact which indicates their involvement in the crimes. According to sources, Mandal had agreed to be a witness but changed his mind at the “last moment”.
Lack of evidence
CBI sources that requested anonymity since they were not authorised to talk to the media said: “The investigating team still does not have in its possession crucial material evidence, like the sharp-edged weapon used to kill Aarushi and Hemraj and the mobile phones of the victims, that held clues to the crimes.”
While Hemraj's phone was destroyed, it is suspected that the accused allegedly sent Aarushi’s mobile phone to Nepal.
CBI’s spokesperson Harsh Bhal said, “We will soon file a final report, which could be a chargesheet.”
The Missing Links
It is still not clear whether the probing agency has been able to link the three accused with a few forensic evidence the killers had left at Talwar's flat in Jalvayu Vihar, Noida.
According to a CBI investigator, they had found “a large palm-print and a few footprints, both soaked in blood, on the staircase that led to the terrace (where Hemraj’s body was found).”
The “palm-print” found on the wall near the terrace door has been preserved by the CBI.
Sources said the Noida police allegedly bungled the probe by not “securing the crime site from random visitors, not roping in sniffer dogs and forensic personnel to gather evidence, and delaying the arrest of Krishna and Raj Kumar who got the time to cover their tracks.”