The idea of having ‘fast track’ courts for important cases is a really good one in theory. There are many cases where both the litigants and the public demands that justice isn’t delayed. However, this is India, and we are reminded, quite often, the slight difficulties of trying to run a bullet train on a narrow gauge line.
A murder trial in Ghaziabad that the country is watching can be delayed by a political rally in Lucknow; the debatable stretching of working hours; or, that wonderful word that is used on a monthly basis in Ghaziabad: ‘condolence’, which is to say ‘forget the murder for now, someone else has died’.
Where does that leave the CBI’s repeated assurances in the Supreme Court that the Aarushi-Hemraj trial will be over by year-end?
On Tuesday, 450 dalit lawyers from the Ghaziabad court struck work protesting the ruling Samajwadi party’s decision to cancel the state holiday on the occasion of the Bahujan Samaj Party leader Kanshi Ram’s death. Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati held a rally in Lucknow, which many of them attended. On Wednesday, an even larger group, cutting across caste and party lines, will strike against a proposal to have ‘evening courts’ for petty matters.
The man deposing in the Aarushi case right now is Deepak Kanda, a nodal officer for Airtel. He has said the Talwars’ internet connection showed sporadic activity through the night of the murders: as if someone was switching it on and off, at a time when only the accused, Dr Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, had access to it.
Kanda will be tested during cross-examination, because the CBI has already admitted that there isn’t any clear explanation for the internet activity. For instance, the router seemed to have been switched on and off through the day after the police had arrived on the scene on 16 May, even though no one was actually seen using the internet. The logs that Kanda appears to have depended on are also in dispute.
Kanda’s time in Ghaziabad seems to have had the stop-start, quality of many mobile phone connections. When he first came to court a couple weeks ago, trial judge Shyam Lal did not hear his testimony. Instead, (ironically) he heard Kanda speaking loudly on his cellphone outside the window of the courtroom.
The judge was hearing another case and didn’t fancy the disturbance. He asked a policeman to send Kanda in. The telecom professional stood before the Ghaziabad judge, who wondered aloud how such a man could have been made an officer. And then, the court said: “Get out!”More on Aarushi trial: The contentious letter both sides are fighting overDeath of a not so 'key' witness steals limelightAarushi Trial: How the court worksTrial games set to intensify as Nupur gets bailPeculiar development stumps CBI CBI's loss is Talwars' gainFriends of the Talwars give testimonyKiller's palm print lost due to a cop's negligence?The mystery of the bloodstained, locked terrace door
CBI's Teacher's Day
Currently a visiting fellow at INSEAD, France, Avirook Sen has been a journalist and writer for over 20 years. A former resident editor of Hindustan Times (Mumbai) and editor of Mid-Day, he has written with passion and insight on subjects as varied as sport and terrorism for top publications across the world. His first book, Looking for America, was published in 2010 to enthusiastic reviews. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org