Being tried for the murder of the daughter Aarushi and servant Hemraj, the dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar on Wednesday submitted a list of 13 witnesses they want summoned in defence. On Thursday, the CBI's special prosecutor R.K. Saini let the court know what he thought of the witnesses in writing: none of the 13 were relevant to the case, and all of them would waste the court's time. The Talwars should not be allowed to call any of them.
Saini went on to add that should the accused approach the court with any further list of witnesses, that list should also be rejected, because its only purpose is to delay the trial.
Saini had 39 witnesses case. (Including: a cop who could not smell; another cop who couldn't remember anything; a bureaucrat who drove 56 km each day to take his morning walk; a doctor who revised his post-mortem findings five times; another doctor who memorably said it was possible to sustain an erection even if death interrupts coitus, among a host of other colourful characters.)
What the CBI now wants is the witness scoresheet to read Prosecution 39: Defence 0.
The CBI doesn't want a respected independent forensics man from AIIMS to testify because he hasn't seen the corpses. His opinion, according to Saini will only cause confusion. The independent gynaecologist is similarly dealt with: she didn't see the vaginal discharge that issued from Aarushi, so her opinion was irrelevant. (Incidentally, the doctor who saw the alleged discharge, couldn't determine exactly what it was, even after five revisions of his post-mortem report.)
Dr S.L. Vaya, of FSL Gandhinagar, who conducted the narco tests on the Talwars, and one of the servants, Rajkumar, should also be prevented from testifying says the CBI. Dr The 2008 Gandhinagar report clears the Talwars and advises investigation of the servants, but the CBI says such tests are inadmissible in evidence so Dr Vaya's testimony is irrelevant. What the agency keeps quiet about is the fact that recoveries of two crucial pieces of evidence in the case, a khukri, and a pillow cover recovered from the servant Krishna's room (in a different flat in the same housing complex as the Talwars) on which a forensic lab found traces of Hemraj's blood took place on the leads that these tests generated.
Witnesses like Masuma Jha and Rajinder Koul, friends of the Talwars (Ms Jha's daughter Fiza was one of Aarushi's closest friends) who arrived at the crime scene early on the morning of 16 May 2008, are dismissed summarily by the CBI with the suggestion that there is no evidence they were there. Come to think of it, there is nothing on record to show that the mysterious 56 km morning walker Sanjay Chauhan, was there either. But he merrily testified that the Talwars just looked guilty.
And yes, Richa Sharma, the doctor who examined Aarushi's vaginal slides need not be called either. She is, of course, the prosecution witness and erection doctor, Naresh Raj's spouse. The CBI had, late last year, told the Supreme Court it desperately needed her testimony. They then told the trial court, they couldn't find her. Now, Saini writes, that the prosecution has reliably learnt that she is out of the country. What is the point of calling her in and wasting everyone's time?
So who can the Talwars summon in defence? If the CBI had its way, no one. Now isn't that a really 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 firstname.lastname@example.org