CBI diluted evidence of Krishna’s presence: HC
The bench methodically took apart the entire line of investigation followed by CBI ever since it was roped in by the Uttar Pradesh government to probe the Aarushi case in 2008. The bench cited a string of circumstances which considered collectively did not lead to the “irresistible conclusion” that no one but Nupur and Rajesh Talwar could have committed the crimes. It noted that the presence of an outsider in Talwar’s Noida flat on the night of the crime “cannot be ruled out.”
“Certainly two views are possible; one pointing to the guilt of the appellants; and the other to their innocence and in view of the principles expounded by the apex court, we propose to adopt the view which is favourable to the appellants,” the judgment stated.
The HC highlighted how CBI’s lead investigator A G L Kaul diluted the worth of a damning report of Hyderabad forensic lab on Krishna Thadarai’s pillow containing Hemraj’s blood by extracting a “clarification” from the lab that Krishna’s link to the item was a “typographical error”.
The court viewed the report as “a piece of clinching evidence on record indicating that Krishna was present in the appellants’ flat when Hemraj was murdered and it is on account of the aforesaid fact that Hemraj’s blood got embossed on the hair of Krishna which in turn got embossed on his purple pillow cover which was admittedly seized from the Krishna’s premises.” It cited the testimony of forensic experts and a Noida police DSP to note that the “possibility of presence of other persons and outsiders besides Hemraj having accessed the apartment in the fateful night cannot be ruled out and the clear and credible evidence of alternative hypothesis available on record substantially demolishes the prosecution’s theo- ry that the crime was committed by the appellants alone as there was no proof of any outsiders having accessed into the apartment.” The judges noted that CBI had “failed to prove by any reliable or cogent evidence, the motive suggested by the prosecution for Talwars to commit the double murder, that is, the deceased being caught in the midst of a sexual act on the fateful night by Rajesh Talwar who suddenly got so gravely provoked that he committed their murder.”
The court chiefly held three doctors — Sunil Dohre, Naresh Raj and M S Dahiya — responsible for introducing the sexual intercourse theory as the main motive for the crime at the instance of CBI, without an “iota of evidence”.
The testimony of a Noida administration official Sanjay Chauhan claiming that he was one of the first to reach the crime scene in the morning when he saw blood stains on the terrace was also called out by the HC. Describing Chauhan as a “planted witness”, the court said CBI had brought him only to contradict the Talwars on hearsay evidence.
HC also faulted the CBI for being unable to prove that the dentist couple was awake on the night of the murders and punched holes in its much touted claim that the internet router remained active due to manual usage. Despite “tutoring” maid Bharti Mandal, the CBI was unable to bring out from her testimony that when she reached the flat next morning, the outermost iron grill door was latched/locked from inside, HC noted. It led the court to question the probe team’s next premise — that Aarushi and Hemraj were assaulted by the Talwars in her bedroom after which they dragged the body of Hemraj to the terrace after wrapping it in a bed sheet.
It said CBI discounted the strong possibility of outsiders having entered Talwar’s flat and left after committing the double murder and in the process latched the middle iron mesh door from outside and left the outer grill door of their flat open. “While examining the theory of alternative hypothesis of the double murder covenanted in the prosecution case itself, we have already held that there is sufficient evidence on record suggesting entry of outsiders into the flat… Moreover, during the course of investigation the CBI had arrested and interrogated Krishna Thadarai, Rajkumar and Vijay Mandal who had remained suspects of the double murder for a considerably long time during the investigation,” it noted.
Referring to botched up forensic results, the court said the CBI couldn’t establish that injuries found on Aarushi and Hemraj were inflicted by golf club number no. 5 and a surgical scalp. Quoting from a Supreme Court ruling — “graver the crime, greater should be the standard of proof”— the HC said the life sentence awarded to the couple by Ghaziabad CBI special court judge Shyam Lal could not be sustained.
The court also said there was enough evidence on record showing that the golf club, which was handed over by Rajesh to the probe team, “was neither properly sealed nor kept in maalkhana and the same had been tampered with.”
Rajesh and Nupur Talwar