The question is back. Who killed Aarushi?
Over nine years after the sensational murders of Aarushi and Hemraj, investigation comes a full circle
NEW DELHI: Nearly a decade after one of the most sensational murders in India, no one knows for sure who killed Aarushi Talwar.
Neither does there is clarity on the death of Hemraj, the domestic help employed in the Noida residence of Aarushi’s dentist parents, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar.
Conspiracy theories have swirled around the twin murders – the bodies recovered a day apart from the same house – a bookselling book written and even a Bollywood film made on the incident that grabbed headlines for months and riveted the nation.
On Thursday, the Allahabad high court acquitted the Talwars in the murder of their 14-year-old teenage daughter and Hemraj, bringing the spotlight back on the same old question: who killed Aarushi?
The Delhi Public School student was found with her throat slit and stab wounds to her head, in her bedroom on May 14, 2008. The immediate suspect was Hemraj, from Nepal, who was missing.
But a day later, his body was found on the terrace of the Talwar’s apartment block.
Uttar Pradesh police, which probed the crime initially, then shifted focus to the Talwars, the only other people present in the house on the night of the incident.
Police were accused of shoddy investigation as they reportedly failed to collect crucial evidence and did not even seal the crime scene, the Talwars’ home.
Police then arrested Rajesh on charges of killing his daughter in a fit of rage when he allegedly saw her in an “objectionable position” with Hemraj.
“This is a classic example of a case where the crime scene, which provides vital clues to take the investigation forward, was trampled with,” said former CBI official NR Wasan.
The CBI’s first investigation team, led by UP cadre IPS officer Arun Kumar, however, gave Rajesh a clean chit and accused the Talwars’ assistant Krishna and two servants -- Raj Kumar and Vijay Mandal.
It, however, failed to prove its case and there were accusations the agency was trying to frame them by forcing confessions.
The second twist came when Ashwani Kumar took over as the CBI director in July, 2008.
Sources said he was not convinced with the first team’s assessment reconstituted the team with a mandate to look afresh at every aspect of the case.
The new probe led by AGL Kaul completed its investigation in 2010 and concluded that Talwar and wife should be chargesheeted in the case.
The agency’s lawyers also concurred with it, but still the top officials were not convinced that they had enough evidence to prove charges in court.
The probe team’s argument was, no outsider visited the Talwars when the murders happened and the others were innocent. It, however, claimed the crime scene was heavily dressed up, leading to suspicion it was the doing of Aarushi’s parents.
“But still there was no clinching evidence to show it were the Talwars who murdered their daughter and Hemraj,” said a former CBI officer wanting to remain anonymous.
“But we had no eyewitness. Murder weapon was also missing. There was no visible motive in sight for the parents to kill their daughter and servant. Therefore despite, the parents being prime suspect, the closure report was filed.”
The closure report was filed when AP Singh took over from Ashwani Kumar as the CBI director in November 2010.
But the Ghaziabad court found enough evidence in the closure report to convert it into a chargesheet and summoned the Talwars in the case.
After trial, the court found both of them guilty in the case on November 25, 2013. A day later they were sentenced for life.
And nearly four years later, the higher court acquitted them , giving the Talwars the “benefit of doubt” in the face of insufficient evidence.