As the Allahabad High Court acquitted Rajesh and Nupur Talwar on Thursday in the murder case of their teenage daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj, the question about who is the real culprit in the double murder case has resurfaced again.
Here's a look at the key characters in the Aarushi and Hemraj murder case over the nine years of the investigation:
Aarushi Talwar: On 16 May 2008, Aarushi Talwar was found dead with her throat slit in her Noida. Aarushi was a Class 9 student of Delhi Public School (DPS) Noida.
Hemraj Banjade: A citizen of Nepal, 45-year-old Banjade was initially suspected to be the culprit behind Aarushi’s murder. However, he was found dead on the terrace of the Talwar’s Noida flat a day later.
Bharti Mandal: As a temporary domestic help at the Talwar residence in Noida, Mandal's testimony recorded in the CBI court in Ghaziabad was treated as a crucial evidence against Aarushi's parents. In her testimony, Mandal said that the Talwars weren't locked in the flat from the outside, but instead, they had locked the room from the inside, thus leading to a clue of circumstantial evidence against the Talwars. Mandal, however, had clearly admitted in the trial court hearing that she was coached. Judge Shyam Lal, however, had justified this coaching, explaining in the judgment that there is nothing wrong in tutoring witnesses who are from a lower class and uneducated.
Umesh Sharma: One of the crucial pieces of evidence in the case was the golf club that was allegedly used as a murder weapon. Sharma, who worked as a driver for Talwars, in his testimony was supposed to identify the gold club as a possible murder weapon. However, he later testified for Talwars saying that he was allegedly beaten in the CBI office.
KK Gautam: Retired deputy superintendent in Noida Police, KK Gautam was responsible for discovering Hemraj's body on the terrace. In his first testimony in 2008, he claimed that Hemraj had visitors in his rooms. However, his 2010 testimony brought in the honour killing motive in the case, when he denied his previous testimony and said that the Talwars had asked him to manipulate the post-mortem report.
Apart from Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, during the course of CBI investigation, there were three other prime suspects whose narco-analysis was conducted. At the crux of the narco-analysis as mentioned in Avirook Sen's book, even though the statement may pose contradictions, it had one converging point that all three were at the Talwar residence on the night of the murders.
Krishna: He worked as an assistant in Rajesh's dental clinic and lived only a few houses away from the Talwars. In his narco analysis test, Krishna said that Hemraj and Aarushi both were killed with the same murder weapon and accused the other two suspects — Rajkumar and Vijay Mandal — for the double murder. He also claimed that Rajesh was not involved in the murder.
Vijay Mandal: He worked for Talwar's neighbour Puneesh Tandon and lived in the garage below Talwar's residence. In his narco- analysis test, Vijay alleged that Krishna and Rajkumar had a spat with Hemraj and killed him. He also alleged that Aarushi was raped.
Rajkumar: A domestic servant with Drs Praful and Anita Durrani, close friends of the Talwars who lived nearby, Rajkumar, in his narco-analysis admitted that Hemraj was his friend. He claimed that Krishna was drunk while he entered Aarushi's room. He panicked when she woke up and killed her. Rajkumar claimed that Hemraj confronted Krishna and during the confrontation, Krishna killed Hemraj.
Arun Kumar: Deputy Inspector General and former joint director of CBI, Arun Kumar, who headed the initial CBI investigation, said in an interview to NDTV, that he believed that Aarushi's parents Rajesh and Nupur were innocent. Kumar said that he believed that the Talwars were innocent of the crime because there was no way they could have foreseen subsequent consequences, that their domestic help Hemraj's body would not be found on the first day of the investigation.
AGL Kumar and Arvind Jaitley: Additional superintendent of police, AGL Kumar became the investigating officer after Arun Kumar left the investigation and inspector Arvind Jaitley assisted AGL Kumar. Kumar had submitted a closure report in the case to the Ghaziabad CBI court in December 2010, where he cited the inability to close the case due to lack of evidence against the culprits. However, he managed to secure the conviction of the Talwars.
Vijay Shanker: He was the CBI director when the case broke in 2008 which was also the year of his retirement. The investigation carried out by the team led by CBI joint director Arun Kumar had several loopholes and his role along with Shanker came under severe criticism from courts. A fresh team was instituted which probed the case, while Kumar was also repatriated to his parent cadre.
Ashwani Kumar: The investigation took a massive u-turn after 31 July 2008, when Shanker retired as CBI director. Ashwani was Shanker's successor. He disbanded the Arun Kumar team and its findings. He appointed a new team under AGL Kaul, which then spent the next two years securing the conviction of the Talwars.
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Updated Date: Oct 12, 2017 22:38:10 IST