The top two officers of the CBI’s special investigation team set up to investigate the Aarushi-Hemraj murders felt there wasn’t enough evidence to send Rajesh and Nupur Talwar to trial, the special court in Ghaziabad court heard today.
The admission came from A.G.L. Kaul, the CBI ASP who authored the CBI’s closure report on the case — evidently very reluctantly — because that report says the agency didn’t have the evidence required for a conviction.
Kaul’s stand could be something of an embarrassment for his superiors, SP Neelabh Kishore and joint director Javed Ahmad. Kaul told the court that while his seniors differed, in his judgment, the Talwars should have been charge-sheeted. Not just that, he would have also have liked to charge Rajesh Talwar’s brother Dr Dinesh Talwar and a NOIDA ophthalmologist called Dr Sushil Chaudhary as accessories to what he saw as the cover-up.
The CBI has made the convoluted allegation that Dinesh Talwar called up his friend Dr Chaudhary and requested him to ask a locally influential former cop, K.K. Gautam, to put pressure on the post-mortem doctor not to include the word “rape” in Aarushi’s report.
Gautam, a former deputy superintendent of police, whose family now owns a private university in Uttar Pradesh, has told the trial court he received a call from Chaudhary, but the CBI hasn’t been able to produce Chaudhary to confirm this.
In any event, the post-mortem doctor has himself told the court that he had ruled out rape, or any sexual assault.
Kaul’s superiors evidently felt that there were no grounds to charge either Dinesh Talwar or Chaudhary.
Kaul has his office at the CBI headquarters in Delhi’s CGO complex, but reports to Kishore who is based in Dehradun. Ahmed, who is in overall charge is Lucknow-based. The investigation on the ground was thus handled entirely by Kaul and his team.
It would have been on the basis of what this team presented to Kishore and Ahmed that the two rejected the idea of a charge-sheet. Kaul’s claim that his was the dissenting voice insinuates that his superiors may have had other motivations, but as usual, he doesn’t explain what these might have been.
The Talwars are on trial in part because they protested Kaul’s closure report; they sought a reinvestigation in order to clear their name. The closure report is odd in many ways, although it says the CBI won’t charge anyone, it lists the Talwars’ and their neighbours servants, Krishna, Rajkumar and Vijay Mandal as people “found innocent”.
Rajesh Talwar on the other hand is called an “accused, on bail”.
In January 2011, the report was placed before a Ghaziabad magistrate’s court, which also directed the Talwars to file their protest petition. On the 25th of the same month, the day the petition was filed, a mentally unstable man attacked Rajesh Talwar in the court premises.
Shortly thereafter, the same court rejected the Talwars’ petition, and the closure report, and ordered that the Talwars be tried. The prosecution now had to make a case — one that the prosecuting agency had just admitted it could not make.
Of the many reasons why, Kaul was forced to admit one on Monday. The CBI had claimed that the blood trail leading up to the Talwars’ terrace had been wiped on the night of the murders (15-16 May 2008).
A forensic expert based a whole theory around this and similar “facts” on how the scene of crime was dressed up. Kaul told the court today that the marks were in fact created when Hemraj’s body was being dragged down from the roof – by policemen -- after its discovery a day later.
In the coming days, Kaul will also have to explain how he and his team ignored a forensic report that had direct evidence against the servants, and then called it typographical error on the part of the laboratory.
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Where is the common sense?
Convicted in one murder, cop witness in another 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