Aarushi trial: Killer's palm print lost due to a cop's negligence?

Last Updated: Tue, Sep 11, 2012 19:50 hrs

Two dentist colleagues of Dr Rajesh Talwar appeared in the special CBI court hearing the Aarushi murder trial on Tuesday. Arriving at the Talwars’ flat the morning after Aarushi’s murder, one of them discovered blood stains on the locked door of the Talwar’s terrace, from where the Talwars’ manservant Hemraj’s body would eventually be discovered.

Dr Rajesh Talwar and his wife Nupur are accused of murdering their daughter and their servant.

Dr Rajiv Varshney and Dr Rohit Kochar were the first to inspect the stains on the lock, door and stairs to the terrace. Varshney had come upon them by chance, having taken the stairs to the roof by mistake. According to Dr Kochar, after he and Varshney went upstairs, a policeman named Akhilesh Singh joined them.

Both doctors have testified that Dr Talwar took a few steps towards the terrace after being told of the blood stains, but that he turned back and went into the flat immediately.

It is the CBI’s case that the Talwars were deliberately trying to prevent the terrace door from being opened as it would lead to the discovery of Hemraj’s body. On, 16 May, 2008, the morning of these events, Hemraj was the main suspect — Aarushi was dead; he was missing.

During Kochar’s cross examination, Kochar also said that Dr Talwar was weeping “uncontrollably” when he had arrived. This is the defence’s way of trying to establish first that the accused was grieving (the CBI has repeatedly tried to establish that the parents showed no grief); and that he may have disoriented.

Both witnesses had said the police was asked to break the lock, but did not do anything about it. Kochar told the court that when he urged Akhilesh Singh to break the lock, the policeman replied that it was “very old” and “dirty” and that there was no point opening it.

According to the witnesses, Singh was the first policeman they saw on the scene. Kochar said he saw no policemen in the flat till about the time Varshney arrived — probably around 9 am.

The blood trail in the area around the terrace wasn’t limited to just the stains on the door and the lock. Kochar told the court that he had also seen a footprint that appeared to have been wiped.

The following day, when Hemraj’s body was discovered, a bloody palm print was found on the terrace wall. The killer had thus left impressions of both his hand and his shoes at the crime scene. However, nothing of substance has been come forensically from either piece of evidence.

During briefings, the prosecution has claimed that the palm print was smudged and on a rough surface, it therefore didn’t yield any credible information on the lines or size of the palm in question. And after two DNA tests, the sample was now “exhausted”. (The actual piece of wall with the print on it is very large and heavy, it is stored in the CGO complex. “Exhausted” refers only to the small amount of material lifted off it, and sent in a vial for forensic testing.)

So there was a footprint on one side of a bloody door, which, if it had been unlocked or broken on the morning of 16 May, would have revealed a palm print of the killer and the body of a victim on the other.

More on Aarushi trial:

The mystery of the bloodstained, locked terrace door

Aarushi Trial: CBI's Teacher's Day

Aarushi trial: Did the CBI dictate witness' statement?

Maid's testimony adds to the mystery

What happened in the flat?

CBI 1.0 versus CBI 2.0

CBI’s (pillow) cover blown

Suspicious servants, blood stains and a reckless typo

The forgetful forensics man

Screaming advocates and a media-friendly lawyer!

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 avirook@gmail.com