Noida whodunit: family demands CBI probe (Roundup, combining different series)

May 27th, 2008 - 10:10 pm ICT by admin  

Noida, May 27 (IANS) Twelve days after teenager Aarushi Talwar and her family’s domestic help were brutally murdered, the mystery behind the killings seems far from being unravelled with even a cabinet minister questioning the police’s conduct in the investigations. On Tuesday, her family demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the murders and also objected to the manner in which her dentist father Rajesh Talwar, arrested for the killings, was sent to police custody for three days.

A central minister also joined the growing outcry against the manner in which the Noida police has probed the killings, saying its statements amounted to character assassination of an individual who could not defend herself.

“We take strong reservation, particularly to Aarushi’s character assassination by police who are supposed to be sensitive about such issues,” Minister for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury said at a press conference in New Delhi.

In other developments in the case that has transfixed the nation and become the talking point in most middle-class homes, a child rights’ body also asked for an explanation for the Noida police’s “objectionable” statements on Aarushi.

Her classmates from the Delhi Public School (Noida) also took out a march to protest the police’s statements in the case and to demand justice for the slain teenager.

Addressing a crowded press conference in an open ground near Aarushi’s apartment in the Jal Vayu Vihar neighbourhood, her father’s lawyer Pinaki Mishra said: “The police has not done the job that was expected of them and that is why we are demanding a CBI probe.”

“Please help us get an impartial enquiry,” added Talwar’s brother Dinesh, who was also present at the press conference.

“There have been grave shortcomings in the investigations and to cover up, Talwar is being made a shocking scapegoat,” Mishra maintained.

“Talwar is being made a scapegoat to prevent more egg on the face of the Noida police,” he added.

Mishra also objected to the manner in which a court here Tuesday granted the police Talwar’s custody for three days without giving him a chance to defend himself.

“We strongly fear and apprehend for his well being. Talwar is being made a scapegoat and the police might resort to tactics that are not necessarily legal,” the lawyer contended.

“There was a lawyers strike in court. The police lawyer was allowed to argue his case. Talwar was not allowed to defend himself even though we believe we have a very strong case,” Mishra maintained.

During Tuesday’s hearing, the prosecution had demanded Talwar’s police custody for seven days but Chief Judicial Magistrate A.K. Singh rejected the request.

But for the second consecutive day, a strike by lawyers prevented Talwar’s bail plea from being taken up.

Talwar has cited health reasons for seeking bail, saying he suffered from asthma and that the evidence produced by the police did not link him to the crime.

The Talwars - both husband and wife are dentists - have denied any role in the May 15 gory murders of Aarushi, who was found at their home May 16 with her throat slit, and domestic help Hemraj, whose body was discovered only the next day.

The police had bungled the initial investigation. They had claimed first that Hemraj was the killer - and were embarrassed when his body turned up the next day.

Talwar was arrested May 23 for the twin murders and initially remanded to 14 days judicial custody.

Inspector General of Police (Meerut range) Gurdarshan Singh had told a press conference May 23 that Talwar had killed his daughter to silence her over his extramarital relationship. Police also said that Aarushi was as “characterless” as her father, who had objected to her close relationship with Hemraj.

“The language used violates all norms of decency. Nothing has been established so far and yet they are speaking about the girl child, who is no more, as ‘characterless’. This is nothing short of derogatory,” Minister Chowdhury maintained.

“It is despicable to talk about a young child who is unfortunately dead and not around to defend herself,” she said, adding that police can be booked under sections 499 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code for their statements.

“We have expressed anguish over the language used by Gurdarshan Singh about the deceased girl. It is highly objectionable and we have asked him to respond in 15 days,” said Sandhya Bajaj, a member of the National Commission For Protection of Child Rights.

“We asked the police to explain the basis of remarks that she (Aarushi) was found in an ‘objectionable but not compromising position’ with Hemraj and that this prompted her father to kill them both,” Bajaj told IANS.

Waving banners demanding justice for Aarushi and lighting candles for her soul’s peace, her friends and classmates Tuesday took out a protest march here.

Reacting strongly to the allegations made by the police against Aarushi tainting her character, her friends said that they would fight for justice for their friend.

“On what basis are the police officials saying these things about Aarushi? How can they say that she was “objectionably” close to the domestic help (Hemraj)?” cried out one of the young girls during the protest.

Carrying banners reading “Justice for Aarushi” and “We miss you Aarushi”, the protesters said it was unfair on the part of police to question the character of a girl who was no longer there to defend herself.

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