One of the biggest gaps in the case against Dr Rajesh and Nupur Talwar in the Aarushi-Hemraj double murder, is the fact that there were no traces of Hemraj’s blood found in Aarushi’s room.
On Tuesday, the forensic expert Dr B.K. Mohapatra, deposing for the prosecution, effectively told the trial court that this was not the case.
He claimed that the CBI had provided him a pillow cover from Aarushi’s room from which he could generate a partial male DNA profile.
His earlier reports do not say that the DNA from this particular sample came from Aarushi’s room. But they make it clear that this profile is consistent with the male profile found on the bottle of whiskey on the Talwar’s dining table, and with the unclear palm print on the terrace wall — most likely caused by the bloody hand of the killer as he stumbled in the dark having killed Hemraj.
In its closure report of 2010, the CBI had clearly said that its investigation found no blood from Hemraj in Aarushi’s room.
Given that the prosecution’s claim is that the manservant and Aarushi were together in her room when the murderous assault allegedly began, this is hard to explain, and the CBI admitted as much.
A few specks of Hemraj’s blood in Aarushi’s room, however, changes the complexion of the case dramatically — the CBI’s version of the sequence of events suddenly falls into place.
But what is the basis of Mohapatra’s claim? And why did the CBI neglect to mention this crucial fact in its closure report?
To answer these questions, you have to go back to the recovery of this vital piece of evidence. The contents of ‘parcel 21’— the pillow cover — was part of a CBI seizure from the Talwars’ home on June 1, 2008. The item listed just above it is a bedsheet with dried bloodstains found in Hemraj’s room, displayed in the trial court on Tuesday.
The pillow cover was not actually produced — this will likely happen on Wednesday — but it is said to match Hemraj’s sheet. Pieces of evidence from Aarushi’s room — her bedding etc — were collected by the UP police much before the CBI entered the picture.
The CBI inspection in June yielded only scrapings from the wall and door of Aarushi’s room — the rest of the evidence collected was from other parts of the flat.
What is inexplicable is why Mohapatra would make the claim that the pillow cover came from Aarushi’s room. He told the court that he was going by what the CBI told him about the sample he had to test. This was apparently done through a letter. The letter isn’t on record, but the defence has filed an application pleading it be produced.
But why would Dr Mohapatra have to depend on a letter from the CBI to know where the samples were collected from when he was a key member of the team that conducted the June inspection?
In fact, the June memo says all the items were seized “under the guidance of forensic scientists” (including Dr Mohapatra), and the forensic scientists who “minutely” inspected the scene.
On Wednesday, when this piece of evidence was produced, it will become clear whether it came from Aarushi’s room or Hemraj’s.
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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