Talwar's begin their defence against CBI

Last Updated: Fri, Jun 21, 2013 02:48 hrs

Their list of witnesses cut to less than half by the court, the Talwars began mounting their defence in Ghaziabad on Thursday. Two witnesses appeared on their behalf: a family friend and a dentist colleague of Dr Rajesh Talwar.

Dr Amulya Chaddha, a man with over 20 years of experience as a dentist answered a critical question for the court: it had to do with the size a a dental scalpel. Prosthodontists (the people who craft dentures and so on) like Dr Talwar occasionally use a scalpel. It is the 'no 15' scalpel, and the instrument has a cutting edge of less than a centimetre.

According to the CBI, the throats of the two victims, Aarushi and Hemraj, were slit after their 2008 murders by a surgical instrument. Aarushi's parents being doctors, it must have been a scalpel. Elementary, isn't it?

Perhaps a little too elementary. Despite loud objections by the CBI counsel R.K. Saini, DR Chaddha was able to produce a no 15 scalpel in court--its size telling the story better than any words would have; it was hardly the kind of 'weapon' you could associate with the slitting of two throats.

Saini's objections had to come--because of the non-investigation that had led the CBI to the scalpel theory in the first place. The investigating officer in the case, A.G.L. Kaul is on record in the trial court as saying that he:

* Never seized any of Dr Talwar's instruments

* Never bothered to procure a scalpel from elsewhere to understand how it might be ised in a murder such as the one that he was investigating.

* In fact, he had never seen a dental scalpel.

Saini, therefore, didn't want the court to see one either.

It was suggested to Kaul that he didn't bother with the basic diligence in the case of the scalpel because he knew very well that his case would fall apart: it would have been obvious that the throat injuries to the victims could not have been caused by an instrument so small.

And in all this, there was something critical being missed. Three CBI experts and a team of doctors from AIIMS are of the opinion that it was the blunt injuries to the heads of the victims that caused their death. The allegedly "surgical cuts", according to the CBI's own admission were administered later, to "dress up the scene". (Why a pair of doctors would dress up a crime scene by using surgical instruments to inflict wounds, precisely to help investigators of the outstanding calibre we have in the CBI to jump to the conclusion they have, is beyond reason. But then, a lot of things in this trial are.)

The doctors who conducted the post-mortem and analysed the crime scene all agreed that the blunt injuries may have been caused by a Khukri. Following the narco analysis of one of the Talwars' employees, Krishna, two critical pieces of evidence were recovered from his room in the same housing complex. These were a khukri, and a blood-stained purple pillow cover.

DNA tests on the khukri said there was blood on it, but that it wasnt of "human origin", and its source could not be determined. It could, in theory, have come from a platypus.

But the critical thing here was that investigators had a possible murder weapon. The scalpel or a sharp instrument, was used later--and this weapon was never found.

Not just that, the CBI didn't even bother to inspect a likeness of it. In the trial, it insists it was used in the murders. And also that it remain 'invisible'--out of sight of the court.

The court has rejected the Talwars' plea that documents relating to the khukri and Krishna's narco-analysis, be placed on record. This takes away a critical piece of exculpatory evidence from the Talwars: those documents would have suggested the involvement of others in the crime. It would have helped them answer the question: if not you, then who?

One of the other 'pillars' of the CBI case is the constant harping on the lack of grief on the Talwars' faces on the morning Aarushi's murder was discovered. Rajendra Kaul, a friend of theirs testified on Thursday that he did, in fact find them grief stricken when he visited their NOIDA flat on the morning of 16 May.

During his cross examination, it was suggested that he was trying to save the Talwars because they were his friends. And that he had played golf with Rajesh Talwar. He had. So there was the CBI case: a golfer using a club as a blunt weapon; a doctor putting the finishes touches with a scalpel.

 All the while, a blood-stained khukri, a pillow cover with Hemraj's blood on it recovered from Krishna's room, a block of wall with a bloody palm print on it lie in the CBI's custody, waiting to tell a story we may never hear.

Read more:

Aarushi trial: Exposing CBI's double standards

Will the CBI give the Talwars a fair trial?

Could one of the servants have killed Aarushi Talwar?

Aarushi Trial: Talwars in the dock

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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