Why wasn't LCN testing used in Aarushi-Hemraj investigation?

A petition that sought a reinvestigation of the case, registered by Rajesh Talwar on how the CBI had selectively ignored material evidence was rejected by a judicial magistrate. The protests in the petition however raise very important questions.

Pallavi Polanki January 20, 2012 12:48:08 IST
Why wasn't LCN testing used in Aarushi-Hemraj investigation?

Editor’s note: Firstpost is running a series on the bizarre contradictions in the official investigations into the Aarushi-Hemraj double murder case that has gripped the nation since 2008. The contradictions we highlight are based entirely on the CBI’s own reports, and applications submitted to the special CBI court during the course of the investigation. In this last story of the series we examine how clue after clue the CBI has selectively ignored material evidence . Read the first and second story in the series here and here. And the third story here

New Delhi: On 9 February 2011, when special judicial magistrate Preeti Singh converted the CBI’s closure report into a chargesheet and summoned Rajesh and Nupur Talwar to stand trial for the murders of their daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj, she rejected a protest petition by Rajesh Talwar on how the CBI had selectively ignored material evidence while introducing evidence that is “uncorroborated and unsubstantiated and even false.”

The 45-page petition by Talwar raised many crucial questions on the CBI’s investigation and highlighted how key clues and leads were overlooked or ignored. It questioned the basis of the CBI’s controversial conclusion that neither intruders nor servants could have been involved in the murders.

The most obvious piece of evidence about the involvement of an outsider, as the petition pointed out, was the presence of a shoe-print of size 8 on the terrace where Hemraj’s body was found. Rajesh’s shoe size is 6.

“..there is no investigation pertaining to a shoe-print found on the terrace near the door (size 8 or 9 as communicated to the petitioner (Rajesh) during the earlier part of the investigation…as against size 6 worn by the petitioner) creates doubt whether all possible angles of investigation were aggressively pursued by the CBI,” stated the petition, which had also sought a re-investigation of the case.

Why wasnt LCN testing used in AarushiHemraj investigation

AFP

When there is a live-in domestic help, is it not possible that someone known to him could have gained friendly access into the house? It is a known fact that on the morning that Aarushi was found dead in her room, Hemraj’s food was found in the kitchen, served on his plate but untouched. Did Hemraj have an unexpected visitor that night? Did the CBI investigate what Hemraj was doing between dinner and 12 midnight?

The petition highlighted the CBI’s puzzling reluctance to go in for what was perhaps the only hope for finding new evidence in the case. Despite repeated requests by the Talwars to send exhibits collected from the crime scene for Low Copy Number (LCN) testing — an advanced scientific technique which can be used to obtain DNA evidence from objects that have been touched by the perpetrator — the CBI chose to close the case without exploring that option.

DNA, as is well-known, can last a long time – years, even centuries. LCN testing, which has been used to solve many high profile cases in West, helped the UK police in 2000 convict a man for a murder committed 23 years ago.

Given the availability of such a groundbreaking technology, why has the CBI refused to send exhibits such as the blood-stained scotch bottle or samples from the bloody hand-print from the terrace wall for LCN testing?

An important lead, the petition pointed out, that was ignored by the CBI was a call received on Hemraj’s phone on the night he was murdered. The telephone call records collected by the police, the petition pointed out, showed that Hemraj had received a call made from a neighbourhood PCO at 8.27 pm on May 15, about four hours before he was murdered.

Who made this call? This unresolved aspect becomes important as Hemraj’s phone had been picked up on the morning of 16 May (when Nupur had called his phone at 6.01 am) and it was picked up by someone who was in the range of the mobile tower which covered the neighbourhood in which the PCO is located.

The petition also questioned the basis on which the CBI had disregarded the Narco analysis tests, which the CBI admits is the only evidence that is available against the servants – Krishna (Rajesh’s compounder) Raj Kumar (domestic help of family friends of the Talwars who lived in the neighbourhood) and Vijay Mandal (who also worked in the neighbourhood).

“The validity of such reports or its admissibility is to be decided in a court of law only but the investigating agency cannot rely on its subsequent inadmissibility for not taking leads from these tests for the purpose of solving the case.”

One such lead from the Narco test being a reference to a certain t-shirt. One of the servants while undergoing the Narco analysis test referred to a blue and grey T-shirt worn by him at the time that the crime was committed. The existence of such a t-shirt was confirmed by his employer. Has the CBI tried to find this t-shirt?

And so it goes on. Clue after clue, abandoned without further investigation for reasons unexplained by the CBI.

Yet, questions raised in the protest petition remained unheard and unanswered. With a scandalously faulty investigation declared complete, it remains to be seen what the trial will bring.

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