Eliminating the Intruders

ONCE THERE was a policeman in called Gurdarshan Singh. Merrily did he sew salty strands into the story of and Banjade’s murders. Among other things, Singh claimed that Aarushi’s father Dr committed the murders when “he found Aarushi and in an objectionable, though not compromising, position”. Then there was the ’s closure report, which took Singh’s insinuation just a bit further and flatly quoted the UP Police as saying that Rajesh had found “his daughter in a compromising position with ”. And now there is the 9 February order from the special court in Ghaziabad, which has accused not only Rajesh but also his wife Dr for the murders. Inch by inch, the ground has been slid out from under the parents’ feet.

But how do such theories end up becoming a crime theory? The court order grounds its judgment on the conclusion that there couldn’t have been any outside intruders who entered the Talwars’ apartment on the night of the murders, 15 May 2008. It bases this on the finding that the house was secure from all sides without any signs of forcible entry and no robbery accompanied the murders. Since that only leaves the parents in the house when the was committed — QED.

However, there are several missing links here. While the order says lived in the servant quarters inside the Talwars’ apartment, it doesn’t mention that his room had an independent door to the outside world. The order also quotes the maid’s testimony that she found the house latched from outside the morning after the murders — so someone must have exited the house and locked the parents in their home. And within the same order, one finds the maid’s description of the clothes Rajesh was wearing on 16th morning matching what the driver Umesh Sharma stated he was wearing on 15th night — so the fact that there wasn’t any blood of the on Rajesh’s clothes gathers significance. Why not credit these servants’ testimonies a bit? Or can we not credit the underclass with an independent mind?

TEHELKA’s cover story (The House We Blew Down 19 February) debunked many of the ’s feverish suspicions against Rajesh and , including some that show up again in the court order: how the post-mortem doctor Sunil Dohre and his assistants’ statements to the contradict their own original report. How experts at the All Institute of Medical Sciences, , contradicted the ’s theory and concluded that the were killed with a sharp-edged knife rather than a surgical instrument. How the theory about Rajesh’s golf club being the weapon defies logic. How the servants’ alibis were flimsy at best (Krishna) and seemingly false at worst (Raj Kumar’s then-employers told TEHELKA he was free by midnight on the 15th). How, contradicting the ’s account, Dr Rohit Kochar told TEHELKA that he and his friends did not inform Rajesh about the bloodstains they spotted on the terrace door on the 16th nor ask him for the terrace key — belying the ’s belief that Rajesh ignored such requests. Kochar also told TEHELKA that the group did call a policeman called Akhilesh Kumar to the terrace door, but the police left the door alone because its key was untraceable.

Now, the court has focused on four more sources of suspicion against the Talwars:

1. The Internet router was used for the last time at 12:08 am on May 16th, then showed activity in small intervals till 3:43 am when it was switched off. Then it was switched on at 6:01 am again. The ’s experts say this switching on and off only happens if a person does it or if the electricity to the house falters. The electricity was found to have been constant that night, so a person must have been doing it on 15th night. The order leaves it at that, without mentioning the ’s own strong caveat that this information is “not fully reliable” since the router was “switched on and off on a number of occasions with long gaps, even when the police and visitors were in the apartment” during the day on 16th.

First published here.