Aarushi case fraught with shoddy investigations

December 30, 2010 12:00 am | Updated October 17, 2016 10:58 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

‘Police failed to collect, preserve crucial pieces of evidence'

Investigations into the mysterious Aarushi Talwar-Hemraj murder case was fraught with shoddy work right from the beginning with the police allegedly failing to collect and preserve crucial pieces of evidence.

Pinaki Mishra, lawyer of Aarushi's dentist father Rajesh Talwar, on Wednesday said investigations were completely botched up by the Noida Police. “They botched up the crime scene in terms of collection of forensic evidence during the first crucial 48 hours. Then they messed up investigations in the first week after the murders,” said Mr. Mishra.

It is alleged that the local police while investigating the crime scene ended up destroying or distorting important forensic evidence, including fingerprints, that could have helped crack the case. Most fingerprints proved to be of no consequence as they were allegedly not lifted properly. Some articles at the scene of crime that could have played a major role in deciphering the mystery were allegedly not preserved.

By the time the CBI took over the case, Aarushi's body had been cremated and chances of finding conclusive evidence from the crime scene had become slim. Dr. Rajesh Talwar had by then been arrested by the local police.

Within a fortnight, the CBI arrested Dr. Talwar's servant-cum-assistant Krishna and subjected him to scientific tests. The next person to be arrested was Raj Kumar, domestic help of the Talwars' family friend Durranis, and the third was Vijay Mandal, domestic help of the Talwars' neighbour. The other two accused were also subjected to scientific tests.

While Dr. Talwar was granted bail, the CBI claimed to have cracked the case. Describing Krishna as the main accused, then CBI Joint Director (Special Crime) Arun Kumar said a couple of days before the incident, Dr. Talwar had scolded him for something and he had publicly expressed his anger over the “insult”.

“After the (scientific) tests, Krishna confessed to having committed the crime along with Raj Kumar and Vijay Mandal,” claimed Mr. Kumar, adding that Raj Kumar confessed to his involvement during the second narco-analysis test.

The CBI claimed that as per disclosures by the accused, Krishna, Raj Kumar and Vijay gathered in Hemraj's room and consumed alcohol on the night of May 15-16, 2008. “They talked about Aarushi and under the influence of liquor went to her room. She woke up and tried to scream, but was gagged and hit in the head with a hard blunt object. The accused then tried to sexually abuse her,” said Mr. Kumar.

This led to an altercation between them. Aarushi had by then lost consciousness. Fearing that the Talwars might wake up, they went to the terrace, where Raj Kumar and Krishna had a scuffle with Hemraj and allegedly murdered him. They then returned to Aarushi's room and slit her throat, said Mr. Kumar.

The CBI came up with the story but could not gather sufficient evidence to nail the three accused. The murder weapon also remained untraced. The three accused were finally released on bail, forcing the agency to reconstitute another team for fresh investigations.

However, as it turned out, there were several glaring and fatal lapses in the case. Forensic investigators at the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics in Hyderabad had in 2008 concluded that the vaginal swabs drawn from Aarushi's body were substituted with samples from an unconnected and unidentified woman, indicating a conspiracy to destroy evidence.

In a new twist to the case, the Crime Branch of Delhi Police in September last year claimed to have recovered Aarushi's missing mobile phone. However, no breakthrough could be achieved.

The Talwars' were also subjected to scientific tests.

Expressing shock over CBI's decision to file a closure report in the case, Mr. Mishra said: “It is a measure of incompetence. The case could have been solved had the CBI, as requested on several occasions by the Talwar family, opted for touch-DNA technology for examining the articles lifted from the crime scene. The technology is available in some countries,” he said, adding that he would advise the Talwar family to file an application in the court concerned to be heard while taking up the CBI's report.

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