Who killed Aarushi? CBI comes a cropper

September 9th, 2008 - 7:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Aarushi TalwarNew Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) Four months ago, when 15-year-old Aarushi Talwar from a high profile public school and her family help Hemraj were found murdered in their apartment in suburban Noida it created a big stir. A stir so big that an entire nation was riveted with every twist in the meandering probe fanned by a media desperate to feed its inquisitive audience. First Aarushi’s father, prominent dentist Rajesh Talwar, was charged with the murder. Then he was let off and his medical assistant, Krishna, was caught; and after that two domestic helps, Raj Kumar and Vijay Mandal.

But when investigators began to firm up evidence against them to be presented in court, the case began to fall to pieces. One by one, everyone began to be freed for the lack of material evidence.

For four months, the probe agency delved deep into the sewers and drains around the Jal Vayu Vihar house of the Talwars and in the temple town of Haridwar - sifting through mounds of sludge and thick bushes - to look for the murder weapon and the missing mobile phones of Aarushi and Hemraj vital to get a move ahead in the sensational case.

But except for the lie detector tests and truth serums injected in their suspects, the country’s premier Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) could come up with nothing tangible to nab the culprits and put an end to one of the biggest whodunit cases in recent memory.

On Tuesday, a day before it was to submit its chargesheet, the CBI said it was not charging anyone with the crime and would not oppose bail for Raj Kumar and Krishna - Vijay Mandal had received bail last week.

“I cannot recall a similar instance where an agency, especially the CBI, goes through all these arrests of a father (Dr. Rajesh Talwar), aides (Krishna and Raj Kumar), concocts a story and then finds it all coming to naught,” said former joint commissioner of Delhi police Maxwell Pereira.

So is this then the perfect murder where sleuths have to contend with bizarre conspiracy theories and narco-analyses tests conducted in labs across the country but come a cropper at the end? Can the real culprits ever be found?

The Aarushi case seems to have strong similarities to the famous O.J. Simpson case in the US in the early 90s.

One of the greatest footballers America ever produced was accused of killing his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her lover Ronald Goldman. OJ was the prime suspect as he already had a history of domestic violence with Nicole.

In a lengthy trial where the jury heard 101 witnesses over 41 days of testimony, OJ too came under unprecedented media focus. It was also big news in many other parts of the world. He was finally acquitted of the charges.

Till date, the case remains unsolved.

Is the Aarushi-Hemraj probe headed the same way? It could be with everything seeming to go wrong from the word go. The Noida police who initially took up the probe after Aarushi’s body was found on May 16 blamed Hemraj. A day later the bunch of policemen came back to find his body lying on the terrace of the apartment.

Besides, they were also charged with failing to procure material evidence from the murder scene that could have propelled them to take the probe ahead.

“The CBI has taken up a miserable case. Even the confessions of the accused during the narco-tests are not admissible in the court. Somebody has to come up to give clues in the case,” said former CBI chief Joginder Singh.

For an investigating agency that claimed till two months back that it was close to cracking the case and promised to bring the curtains down in a murder that had millions engrossed, the denouement is obviously a dampener.

But former CBI director Vijay Shankar, under whose tenure the agency took over the case, still holds out hope.

“Nobody has been let off. Investigations are on. We cannot sit on judgement just because we did not have any material evidence.”

The hunt is still on.

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