After five years of maintaining that a khukri was recovered from one of the suspects initially held for the Aarushi-Hemraj murders, the CBI told the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday that the possible murder weapon wasn't taken from Krishna, an employee of the accused couple, Dr Rajesh and Nupur Talwar. The agency suggested that the weapon belonged to Krishna's brother-in-law, who shared a room with him.
The provenance of the khukri has become important because of the Talwars' appeal to the High Court to allow the reports of the scientific tests conducted on the servants to be placed on record. The trial court had rejected the plea, and the CBI has fought fiercely to prevent the documents from being considered in the trial: its case against Aarushi's parents would collapse if the contents of the documents were revealed in court.
What weapon dealt the fatal blows that killed the teenager and the Talwars' Nepali servant Hemraj? The CBI says that it was Rajesh Talwar's own golf club. But in the initial phase of the investigation, Krishna talked about a khukri during his narco analysis. This led to its recovery from his shared home; specks of blood were found on it, but nothing definite could be determined, according to the CBI.
In its 2010 closure report, ironically meant to implicate the Talwars, the CBI says "The khukri in possession with Krishna had no traces of human blood or fingerprints."
In the High court on Tuesday, the CBI counsel submitted that a police officer, Vijay Kumar, "has stated about the recovery of one khukri from the house of Bhim Bahadur Thapa..." and that this weapon was found unconnected with the murder.
A number of other false claims about the recovery followed, but these were so blatant that they were dealt with instantly:
- The CBI claimed that Krishna never confessed to the crimes before any police officer, that no statement from him to this effect existed. But every application for remand the CBI filed (Krishna was being questioned in custody at the time) pleads that he had indeed told Vijay Kumar in some detail about the murders. In fact, a magistrate's order from June 2008 refers to the perusal of the case diary where Kumar has put down on paper that Krishna had confessed.
- If the CBI's closure report reference to the "possession" of the khukri was to be disregarded, then why wasn't this Bhim Bahadur Thapa, who the CBI now suggests was the owner of the knife, ever questioned?
- The CBI also claimed that the khukri was never considered the weapon of offence. The instances where the case documents say the exact opposite are too numerous to list. Krishna was an employee of the Talwars and knew Hemraj well; had access to their NOIDA flat. The khukri, all doctors whose opinions are on record have said, could have caused the fatal blunt injury on the skulls of the victims. It was considered a weapon of offence till the time someone thought "golfer".
Murder mysteries in India almost always have the simplest solutions: the murderer confesses (or an accomplice does). The most preferred type of confession is one that's made before a magistrate, under section 164. In court, it carries more weight than a simple statement to the police. In this case, the CBI had 90 days to extract such a confession from the servants. The agency failed, the suspects were let off, went back to Nepal, and, for all practical purposes, disappeared.
They were gone, but the case remained open. And there were only two other people left: the parents. One played golf. Both could use a scalpel. Case solved.
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