Noida double murder case, refers to the murder of 14 year old Aarushi Talwar and of a domestic help employed by her family, Hemraj, at her home in Noida on the night of 15–16 May 2008. The case received heavy media coverage and has remained unsolved despite considerable efforts by several law enforcement agencies.
On 16th May 2008, Aarushi Talwar, a 14-year-old Class IX student of Delhi Public School in Noida, and the only child of a successful dentist couple, was found dead with her throat slit in her parents’ home at Jalvayu Vihar in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. Her parents were sleeping in the same flat in other room on the same night and Dr. Rajesh Talwar accessed her room before sleeping while Arushi Talwar was reading a book.
Initially some newspapers came up with a story that on the night the murders were committed, the couple Dr. Rajesh and Dr. Nupur left their flat around midnight and came back around 5 AM. But later CBI clarified with the statement published on website as , “A section of media has reported quoting CBI sources that Dr. Rajesh Talwar and Dr. Nupur Talwar were not present in their house on the night of 15th May, 2008 and more than a dozen rooms were booked in a hotel in Delhi. It is clarified that the news item is speculative and not true. Investigation of the case is progressing diligently.”
Various activities like switching off the the router present in Aarushi’s room at 3:43am, bottle of alcohol having blood traces confirms the presence of murderer for a longer time inside Talwars’ flat. The police suspected insider involvement in the case as the Talwars’ flat had three-tier security, which was difficult to breach.. Suspicion initially fell on the family’s live-in manservant Hemraj, who was missing. Noida police declared him the prime suspect. However the following day, following a trail of blood in the Talwar home, police found the dead body of Hemraj on the terrace. On 23 May 2008, exactly after a week of disorganized investigation, Meerut Zone’s Inspector General Gurdarshan Singh told a press conference that Dr. Rajesh Talwar was arrested after enough evidence was gathered, including the ‘strenuous cover-up’ attempts by the dentist. Police came up with the story that Rajesh was having an affair with a colleague. Aarushi and Hemraj knew about Rajesh’s affair and Aarushi objected to her father’s affair while Hemraj started blackmailing Rajesh. The police said that Aarushi’s mother Nupur had helped her husband commit the murders.
Later on the same day Dr. Talwar got bail as there was no evidence against him linking him to the crime. His wife, Dr. Nupur Talwar (Arushi Talwar’s mother, who runs a dental clinic), accused the Noida police of framing him, and requested Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati to transfer the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The Central Bureau of Investigation took over the investigation into the murders of Aarushi and Hemraj on 1 June 2008, forming a 25-member team in an attempt to crack the case. Soon after the CBI took over the case, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati gave transfer orders to senior police officers who were part of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that had previously been in charge of the investigation, including the Noida Senior Superintendent of Police, Satish Ganesh, and Meerut Inspector General, Gurdarshan Singh.In addition, the deputation of CBI officer Arun Kumar, formerly a member of the Uttar Pradesh Police, who was in charge of the investigation also ended in July 2008.
Lie detector test including polygraph test and Narco Analysis were also conducted on various suspects including Dr. Rajesh Talwar , Kraishna (alias Kishan), compounder of Dr. Rajesh Talwar, Vijay Mandal, the domestic help of a neighbor of the Talwars but nothing could be clarified about the case.
Significance of the case
The case received nationwide attention, and has become symptomatic of what most people believe are recent unsavory tendencies in the Indian media, such as sensationalism, the urge to “overkill” and to carry out a public trial-by-media. The Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Renuka Chowdhury, condemned the police for what she called the “character assassination” of a child victim and called for a commission of legal experts to investigate whether specific legislation existed or needed to pass in order to allow filing of defamation suits against the Noida police, a government agency. In addition, the focus by 24-hour cable news on speculative aspects of the personal lives of the father and his dead daughter, and the media frenzy that compromised the privacy of the families involved in the case has caused comparisons to be made to the JonBenet Ramsey case in the United States. The case has also attracted a lot of public attention as a bizarre whodunit, with the CBI reporting that the agency had been receiving a large number of telephone calls from members of the general public, giving investigators ideas and advice on how to solve the case.
CBI investigators charged the Noida police with a shoddy investigation, which, it claimed, had resulted in the destruction of 90% of the evidence on the crime scene.
Aside from not capturing the finger prints on the whisky bottles in Hemraj’s room, the police allowed the media to freely roam the crime scene rather than restricting access to the flat.
In addition, the police allowed doctors, not specifically trained in forensic pathology, to conduct the autopsies of Hemraj and Aarushi. While it is established procedure to lift fingerprints (of both murderers and victims) from the skin of the victims. the doctors entrusted with the autopsies neglected to call forensic scientists to lift fingerprints from the cadavers. On 11 August 2008, the CBI reported that it had evidence pointing to the presence of a fifth person in the house at the time of the murders, as finger prints not matching any of the suspects or occupants of the house were found on the whisky bottles.
Sources in the agency emphasised that unlike in an “unoccurred case” where a closure report is filed because the incident under investigation was not found to have occurred, the report filed in the Aarushi case does not shut the possibility of renewed investigation if a new, strong evidence comes up. Pinaki Mishra, Dr Talwar’s counsel, strongly reacted to the closure report, calling it a pack of innuendos. “This is the most unfair verdict that could have been given. They (Talwars) are being pronounced guilty until proved innocent. Without having filed a charge sheet, the CBI is condemning them to live the life of a guilty. I have no doubt that the entire investigation is derailed by taking the line of UP police – just damn them without evidence,” he said.
The CBI does not debunk the defence of Talwars completely, with sources acknowledging that the probe failed to establish the motive behind the murder. They also said the dummy run conducted by them to verify Talwars’ claim that they could not have heard of what was happening in the next room because of noise from their AC, shows that they could have slept through the crime. It also says the narco tests run on the couple show only “minor deceptions”. But the report lists “circumstantial evidence” to say why they continue to treat Dr Rajesh Talwar as the prime suspect in the case. Sources claim the “circumstantial evidence” is so strong that Dr Talwar could have been charged had he not been a parent. The closure report says the crime scene was “dressed up” before the police was called—something that is not associated with a regular criminal.
Sources said that Noida police’s failure to secure the crime scene was another reason why the agency was left only with circumstantial evidence. Blood stain on the whisky bottle found in Talwars’ house did not match the samples of either Aarushi or Hemraj. The report asserts that both Aarushi and Hemraj died of injuries from a blunt weapon, and that the cuts on their neck were inflicted when they were already dead. On 24 July 2012, NOIDA doctor who conducted post mortem examination of Arushi Talwar deposed before the Ghaziabad court, that the body of the teenager had been tampered with. Partial male ‘DNA’ was found on Aarushi’s pillow as claimed by the CFSL expert P K Mahapatra during his deposition in the court on 7 August 2012.