Everybody killed Aarushi Talwar

The law considers one as innocent until proved guilty. But not the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) whose closure report in the Aarushi murder case is a scandal. It names the victim’s father, Rajesh Talwar as a suspect but wants the case closed in the absence of clinching material evidence.

Consider the following: Aarushi’s parents, especially her father Dr Rajesh Talwar, are now destined to lead a life of infamy as suspects in the murder of their own child. For them the closure of investigations opens possibilities of social ostracism from which—given the kind of milieu in which we live–there is no acquittal or respite. It’s worse than being sent to the gallows or condemned to a life in prison.

The CBI would have done better to leave the matter to the Court by chargsheeting the suspect and his accomplices. That would have afforded Dr Talwar a good chance of acquittal — honourable or otherwise. But the probe agency deemed it fit to assume the powers of a Court by declaring him a suspect (which for people at large means guilty) purely on the basis of circumstantial evidence.

By leaking the closure report to the media, the CBI also negated the benefit of doubt it gave to Aarushi’s father for want of material evidence. In fact, the report to the Court explains at considerable length the dressing up of the crime scene, denial of information and attempts to manipulate forensic tests.

If that’s the case, then why have Dr Talwar and his wife Nupur not been booked for destroying evidence? That by itself is a criminal offence. The conduct of Aarushi’s uncle, Dr Dinesh Talwar who wanted a forensic report sans any reference to rape, also falls in that ambit.

It was in May 2008 that Aarushi was found slain in her bedroom together with Hemraj Banjade— a domestic help whose body was discovered a day later on the terrace of the Talwars’ Jalvayu Vihar flat in NOIDA. The public outrage over the tragedy and the subsequent shoddy investigations have kept the case in the headlines. The murder mystery has rankled Urban India no less than the Jessica Lal, Priyadarshini Mattoo, Shivani Bhatnagar, Vidya Jain and the Chopra children murder cases.

The acquittal of politically well-connected accused in the Jessica case by a lower Court had triggered unprecedented middle class opprobrium so tellingly reflected in a newspaper headline — “Nobody Killed Jessica Lal” that has since become the title of a Bollywood film. It wouldn’t be wrong to conclude in the instant case that EVERYBODY KILLED AARUSHI — the real accused, the parents and policemen — and let the tragedy fester as wound that wouldn’t heel. Not anytime soon.

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