Aarushi trial: Expert exposes post-mortem doctor's lies

Last Updated: Tue, Jun 25, 2013 18:52 hrs

In a case that people have followed because it has the scent of sex, some science and some sanity returned with the testimony of an octogenarian gynaecologist. Dr Urmil Sharma, an expert witness, was summoned in defence on Monday, primarily to disabuse the court of some of the absurd statements made by Aarushi`s post-mortem doctor.

Dr Sunil Dohare, the man who had signed off on Aarushi's post-mortem saying 'nothing abnormal detected' in May 2008, was persuaded into making several "improvements" to his original report. The most evocative of these was his observation that Aarushi's vaginal opening was unusually dilated. At one stage, he even said that it was so wide that he could even see her cervix. The suggestiveness of this belated 'subjective finding' wasn't lost on the repressed middle-classes that lap up the Aarushi-Hemraj murder story daily: wide open vagina must mean loose girl.

The type of girl who might have gotten caught having sex with the servant, and driven her parents to murder for honour. The post-mortem doctor's improved findings weren't about Aarushi's body. In an insidious way, they were about her character.

Dr Sharma told the court that Dohare's many afterthoughts were gynaecological impossibilities. Because the vagina is a potential space (not a 'hole', which seems to be the prosecution's somewhat unlettered understanding of this body part). Its walls have to actually be separated in order to see the canal. Medically, this is done with great care, because the soft tissues suffer damage very easily. The application of any force, even on a freshly deceased person, would leave the vagina with tell-tale injuries.

Nothing of the sort was found on Aarushi. Dr Sharma wasn't asked directly about Dr Dohare' statements, but her deposition made it clear that the post-mortem doctor had lied repeatedly. Quacks with common sense would not have said the things he had: they were plain 'non-science'. But consensual sex between the 45 year old servant and the 14 year old Aarushi is one of the cornerstones of the CBI's circumstantial case.

So its counsel R.K. Saini soldiered on nevertheless. There is a crassness in Saini's approach that is on display almost every day of this trial. (For instance, during CBI investigating officer A.G.L. Kaul's deposition, as Kaul described what he believed was the scene being played out just before the murders, Saini had loudly insisted that the record say that Aarushi and Hemraj were "having intercourse", even though Kaul didn't say this.)

On Monday, Saini was at it again. This time, turning up with yet another suggestion: the reason why none of Hemraj's sperm was found anywhere, Saini threw in the possibility that he may have had a vasectomy. He also went on to repeatedly accuse the veteran lady doctor of lying. Dr Sharma was the picture of silver-haired dignity through all this.

At one point she told Saini to speak with more respect: she could be his mother. Dr Sharma is still in practice, and is associated with top Delhi hospitals, but she suffers from a serious knee problem. The court granted her permission to testify seated. However, she insisted on standing as she took oath.

Read more:

Aarushi trial: Exposing CBI's double standards

Will the CBI give the Talwars a fair trial?

Could one of the servants have killed Aarushi Talwar?

Aarushi Trial: Talwars in the dock

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 avirook@gmail.com

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