Aarushi trial: Ashwani Kumar, the former director of the CBI (Aug 2008-Nov 2010) was copied in on some of the the e-mail exchanges that involved the creepy address ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ in the Aarushi-Hemraj murder case.
Documents accessed by this writer also show that SP Nilabh Kishore, the head of the CBI team investigating the murders, used the id several times. This publication had earlier reported that the investigating officer in the case, ASP A.G.L. Kaul, was the most frequent user of the address. His subordinates communicated through it at least once. The Hemraj mail-trail thus runs right through the ranks of the CBI: from inspector to director.
Hemraj and Aarushi, were killed on the night of May 15-16 2008 in the Jalvayuvihar (NOIDA) flat of Aarushi’s parents Dr Rajesh and Nupur Talwar. The dentist couple is on trial for the twin murders.
A trickle of admissions about the creation of the evocative e-mail id email@example.com has been forced out of the CBI in the last few days. The agency used the victim’s identity to communicate officially with the Talwars on a regular basis, issuing summons, seeking information and so on. It has relied on these e-mails to make its case against the Talwars in various courts, including the Supreme Court of India.
The CBI has admitted that the mail id was created for “special reasons” during the course of the investigation. It has not explained what these reasons were, nor has it clarified which officers received/sent/were ccd on the mails, and for how long.
The electronic trail, however, makes the involvement of CBI bosses clear. On April 2, 2010, Dr Nupur Talwar wrote to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ with a copy to ‘email@example.com’, then CBI director Ashwani Kumar’s official e-mail address. (CBI director A.P. Singh uses the address now.)
Nupur was requesting the agency for permission to rent out L-32, Jalvayuvihar, the flat in which Aarushi and Hemraj were murdered two years before. ‘Hemraj’ duly replied (this time as Nilabh Kishore) that the Talwars could go ahead. “However, any changes made to the premises should be carried out under intimation to this office”, Hemraj/Kishore added.
The previous day, April 1, Nupur Talwar had written another e-mail. This was addressed to Ashwani Kumar on his official address, and ‘Hemraj’ was copied. About a week before this mail was sent, the Talwars had met the CBI director. According to Nupur’s mail, he had advised them to keep him informed on any media leaks they felt came from the CBI.
This mail was an indirect complaint against Kishore/Hemraj. Nupur Talwar said that the couple had received a call from a journalist asking about “a bedsheet”. The previous week, investigators had put the “same query” to them.
This mail did not receive an acknowledgement or reply.
The Talwars, however, kept in touch with Kishore on ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. In May 2010 when they were asked to travel to the CBI’s camp office in Dehradun—where the investigation was headquartered—for questioning, they wrote to ‘Hemraj’. They began these mails with: “Respected Mr Nilabh Kishore”.
Meanwhile, the ‘main’ Hemraj, investigating officer A.G.L. Kaul, exchanged a slew of e-mails with the dentist couple.
Information that the Mirror has gathered suggests ‘Hemraj’ first mailed the Talwars on 24 September 2009, two weeks after Kishore’s team took over the investigation. At the time, Ashwani Kumar had held the director’s job for less than two months.
CBI officers stopped writing as Hemraj nearly three years later, in May 2012, well after the investigation was closed. By this time, the matter had moved to the courts and trial proceedings had begun.
The Hemraj mail trail demonstrates that the CBI man leading the investigation endorsed the use of the spooky e-mail address. Nilabh Kishore could have sent his mails from ‘email@example.com’, his official address, but chose not to. It also shows that there was no attempt to keep the CBI director in the dark about this.
This writer has has asked the CBI’s chief information officer Dharini Mishra to respond to this story. No reply has been received so far.