Aarushi Trial: Are the CBI's witnesses lying?

Last Updated: Sat, Oct 26, 2013 02:04 hrs

On the second day of final arguments, defence counsel Tanveer Ahmed Mir substantiated the charge of "medical blasphemy" he had made against the two post-mortem doctors involved in the Aarushi-Hemraj murder trials. Not that there was much substantiation required. The pair of doctors had as good as framed the charges themselves in their testimonies as prosecution witnesses.

Dr Sunil Dohare, who had performed Aarushi's post-mortem was never able to explain in court the mystery of the expanding vagina. His report said there was no sign of sexual activity/assault on the teenager and that there was 'nothing abnormal detected' in his examination of the genitals.

More than two years after this report came, the doctor suddenly 'recalled' that the Aarushi's vagina was unusually wide. By the time of his next conversation with the CBI, it had expanded even further. In his final statement he told the investigating officer that it was so wide, he could see all of the canal. It was as if Dr Dohare had detected something abnormal, but filed it away for later use.

In court, he could not explain why he had left such an important fact out in the first place. He had another opportunity after the post-mortem: as a member of a specially constituted medical board, he put his signature on another 2008 report where he stood by his post-mortem.

Under cross examination, he explained the earlier omission of this afterthought by saying it was a "subjective finding". This is an absurd phrase: findings are by definition objective, empirical.

Dr Naresh Raj, who conducted the post-mortem on Hemraj's festering body (it lay exposed on the terrace of the Talwars' flat for nearly two days in 45 degree heat) then followed Dohare's suit. He too, gave a detailed account of the dead man's penis being swollen.

The CBI now had a wide vagina and a swollen penis. What remained was the suggestion of sex: the cause of the grave and sudden provocation to the Talwars' honour that is the alleged motive for the murders.

This came with the crime scene analysis of the Gandhinagar-based forensic scientist Dr M.S. Dahiya. Dahiya's October 2008 report, complete with the lie that Hemraj's blood was found in Aarushi's room, is something the CBI has continued to cut paste in the course of this trial.

In court, Dr Raj, a qualified pediatrician, went even further. He said that in the course of his conjugal experiences in his marriage he had discovered the fact that a man could sustain an erection two days after his death.

Mir argued today that this is something no court can allow a so-called expert to get away with. That whatever the outcome of the case, the oath witnesses take in court couldn't be trifled with--the doctors had to be held accountable for perjury.

There is a precedence. In another famous trial, the Jessica Lal case, the Delhi High Court has initiated perjury proceedings against two witnesses. One who lied that he did not know Hindi, and a ballistic expert who swapped a bullet.

In the Aarushi case, the list of likely perjurers is almost as long as the list of prosecution witnesses. Apart from the doctors, there have been cops who have come in and claimed they cannot smell; a government official who purportedly drove 56 km in order to take his morning walk; a forensic scientist who insisted he did not know where a crucial piece of evidence was recovered, even though he was part of the team collecting the evidence, and many more who suffered a particularly debilitating form of amnesia.

The question put to the court was this: could witness after witness just walk into court and lie?

Read more:

What is the integrity of the Aarushi case?

Aarushi Talwar case: The end is near

Aarushi case: How the CBI framed the Talwars

Why CBI is reluctant to handover DNA evidence to Talwars

Independent expert to re-examine DNA evidence

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