The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is blaming the Noida police for its failure to get to the killers of teenager Aarushi Talwar.
In its closure report submitted to a Ghaziabad court, the investigating agency -- now under attack from the Talwars -- has said that police in Noida were responsible for the lapses in the probe that undid the case.
The investigation team was handicapped by the inability of the police -- "first responders" -- to examine the scene of crime properly and collect all possible evidence that could be available only to them.
The murdered girl's parents, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, who are both doctors, have slammed the CBI for shoddy investigation and for suggesting that they, in particular the father, may have had a hand in the murder.
The inference is that when the CBI stepped in, the evidence had all but disappeared.
These, according to the CBI report, were many.
Aarushi's body was found covered with a white bedsheet, and the bed linen was found undisturbed.
There was also evidence to influence the autopsy and cleaning of Aarushi's private parts.
The body of Hemraj, the Talwars' domestic help who too was killed, had been dragged to a corner of the terrace and covered by a panel of a cooler.
The police had originally thought that Hemraj was the killer and began to look for him, only to find his blood-soaked body on the terrace.
The door to the staircase was locked, and blood stains and drag marks were wiped from the stairs.
The presence of a Scotch bottle without glasses on the dinning table of Rajesh Talwar with blood of both victims on it indicates the involvement of inmates as it was unlikely that an intruder would return to the flat to consume liquor.
The CBI says it was baffled that no blood of Hemraj was found on the bedsheet and pillow of Aarushi. There was no evidence to prove that Hemraj was killed in her room.
Dragging marks on the steps only indicated that his murder had taken place somewhere other than the terrace.
Rajesh Talwar's clothes had traces of Aarushi's blood but was no trace of Hemraj's.
The clothes Nupur Talwar wore in the photograph taken by Aarushi on the night of the incident were seized by CBI but no blood was found during forensic examination.
The murder weapons were not recovered immediately after the offence.
One of the murder weapons, a sharp edged instrument, could not be recovered till date and experts could not find any blood stain or DNA of victims from the golf stick to directly link it to the crime.
Scientific tests on the Talwars did not conclusively indicate their involvement in the crime.
Even the exact sequence of events between (00.08 a.m. to 6 a.m.) on May 16, 2008, was not clear.
No evidence has emerged to show the clear role of the Talwars, individually, in the commission of crime.
Experts had earier opined that the possibility of the girl's neck being cut by khukri could not be ruled out. But doctors who conducted the post-mortem have said that the cut was done by a surgically-trained person with a small surgical instrument.
The offence occurred in an enclosed flat, hence there are no eyewitnesses.
The blood soaked clothes of the offenders and cloth used to clean the blood and the sheet on which Hemraj was carried to the roof could not be recovered.
Worse, there appeared to be no clear-cut motive. There was also an incomplete understanding of the sequence of events leading to the double murder.
In view of these shortcomings, it was felt that sufficient evidence was not available to prove the offence against the Talwars beyond doubt under sections 303 (punishment for murder) and 201 (destruction of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code.
Fourteen-year-old Aarushi was found murdered under mysterious circumstances in her parents' Jalvayu Vihar apartment in Noida, Delhi's suburban town in Uttar Pradesh, May 16, 2008. The family's domestic help, Hemraj, was also found killed on the flat's terrace a day later.
The CBI Wednesday moved a Ghaziabad court seeking its permission to close the Aarushi murder as an unsolved case on grounds of lack of conclusive evidence. It has named Rajesh Talwar as the lone suspect in the murders. The Talwars have vehemently denied any hand in the crime.