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Law and behold: how not to crack a case

The ‘Aarushi-Hemraj’ case will only further undermine public confidence in law enforcement, in this country in general, and in the CBI in particular.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON JUL 15, 2008 08:37 AM IST

A man was held in custody for 50 days on suspicion of murdering his daughter. And then one fine day, after peppering the period in between the arrest and his bail with incremental information about his guilt, the CBI says he is the wrong man and can go home. Rajesh Talwar should now sue the law enforcement agencies that have handled the ‘Aarushi-Hemraj’ case. The CBI has finally spilled the beans: it has no evidence to convict him. It now transpires that the Talwars’ compounder, Krishna, and accomplices may have committed the crime. But will this be another wild goose chase? Does the CBI have valid evidence this time? Why should we believe what it says now?

It was bad enough that the Noida police, the first on the scene after the double murder of Aarushi and Hemraj, bungled the investigation proceedings by allowing all and sundry to trample on vital evidence. Nobody bothered to cordon off the crime scene. It was later in the day, after repeated pleas from Aarushi’s family, that the CBI entered the picture. For many, the CBI is the last resort in such complicated crimes. But the agency’s conduct has also resembled that of the Keystone Cops. Personnel freely went about doling out (most of the time conflicting) information to eager mediapersons, who, on their part, behaved like stenographers. Details on narco-analysis tests and blood samples appear to have been handed out with no thought to the final outcome of the case or whether they may prejudice a case under investigation.

The media unquestioningly lapped up everything that was fed to them by the law enforcement authorities. It’s strange that considering the CBI has an official spokes-man, there was a cacophony of information about the investigation that was being doled out almost on a daily basis. We saw this Babel of voices even during the case of murdered Briton Scarlett Keeling.

The CBI has a point that it was called in too late in the case. But there is no excuse for how it handled the case and turned glorified gossip into hardboiled information. The ‘Aarushi-Hemraj’ case will only further undermine public confidence in law enforcement, in this country in general, and in the CBI in particular.

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