CBI officer's cross-examination raises the subject of Aarushi's 'virginity'

Last Updated: Wed, Apr 17, 2013 18:00 hrs

The man who led the investigation into the Aarushi-Hemraj murders told the court where the dentist couple, Dr Rajesh and Nupur Talwar are being tried, that he stood by the closure report he had authoured on the case in 2010.

The contradiction is obvious: that report said the CBI did not have enough evidence to convict the Talwars. In effect, A.G.L. Kaul, the CBI officer spearheading the investigation was telling the court: ‘I agree that there isn’t enough evidence to convict the Talwars, but please convict them’.

Why isn’t there enough evidence against the Talwars? Two reasons could come to mind. The investigation might have been poor; or they may not be the perpetrators after all.

Kaul’s cross-examination offers the most lucid description of the first reason. He began by admitting that the case against the Talwars wasn’t good enough, and then unwittingly told the court why.

The ‘sex angle’ in this story is its most mouth-watering part. During my reporting at the Ghaziabad court, I have eavesdropped on many conversations around it. Prosecution lawyers calling hacks aside, speaking in innuendo, occasionally slipping into the language and gesture of the gutter, and leaving questions like ‘so why was Aarushi’s vaginal opening so wide?’ for their attentive listeners to ponder upon and write about.

Was it really ‘abnormally dilated’? Kaul depended on the opinion of Aarushi’s post-mortem doctor for this, now widely disseminated, piece of information. What is less known—or ignored—is that the doctor didn’t include this gravely important ‘fact’ in his post-mortem report and gave three statements to investigators which said nothing about this. And then he met Kaul.

When he appeared in court last year, the doctor said something absurd about his afterthoughts on the 14-year-old’s genitals: his ‘findings’ about her vagina were ‘subjective’. Findings cannot be subjective, they have to, by definition, be objective, verifiable.

Much time has also been spent on the quiet about whether Aarushi was a virgin or not. Her ‘ruptured hymen’ according to the same post-mortem doctor, insinuated that she was not. There is an abundance of medical literature on the subject, and all of it says that a “fimbriated” (fringed or frayed) hymen isn’t necessarily the result of coitus. Hymens rupture for a variety of reasons—including even a gynaecological examination. And some elastic hymens don’t after repeated intercourse. A ruptured hymen does not mean “non-virgin”.

Kaul, whose case is built around the fact that a teenager was having sex with the servant and the parents got mad and killed them both, placed his ignorance on the subject of hymens on record. He admitted that he didn’t know how to spell fimbriated (the CBI has used ‘fibriated’ consistently), which indicates he doesn’t understand it either.

Fimbriated is a scientific word, and in the context of a murder, would be expected to be used with diligence and knowledge. But how much science can you expect from a man who claimed he conducted a scientific experiment with some paint, a sheet and a few unfortunate constables?

You might have expected the lead investigator in such a high profile crime to at least know something about the alleged murder weapon. But Kaul didn’t know what a dentist’s scalpel looked like either. And worse, he admitted he didn’t even try and find out. Dentists use scalpels that have a cutting edge of just about a centimeter, because they must operate on very small areas. Kaul had no clue about this, and never asked the Talwars to hand over the surgical equipment they possessed.

Kaul’s other point was the ruling out of intruders: four people were in a flat, two died, two lived, ergo, the two that lived must have done it. Fact is there was a report on footprints found at the scene of the crime. The CBI collected all of the Talwars’ shoes, but they didn’t match.

Kaul said he didn’t hide the report: he annexed it with submitted documents. But he could not explain the presence of a different set of footprints. So he did what the CBI has so often done: he chose to ignore the fact.

So was there someone else? The rest of Kaul’s cross-examination should provide some answers.

Where is the common sense?   

Convicted in one murder, cop witness in another

A case full of holes

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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