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Evidence tampered, witness tutored: HC

NEW DELHI: The Allahabad High Court, in its 273 page judgment on the Talwar couple's acquittal in the Aarushi Talwar-Hemraj murder case, has detailed the account of instances of falsification of evidence by investigating agencies from "subjective findings" by medical and forensic experts to tutoring of a witness and planting of another, evidence tampering to "deliberate concealment" of evidence.
The Bench said that the Talwars' maid Bharti Mandal's testimony during cross-examination indicated she was a "tutored witness". Based on her testimony, the CBI attempted to prove the impossibility of anybody else being in the Talwar home. However, the Bench said that her testimony during cross-examination indicated she was a "tutored witness".
Mandal had arrived at the residence on the day of the murder at 6 am. As a Prosecution witness, she told the trial court that she "put her hand on the outer grill door but it did not open". The CBI said that this indicated that the door had been shut from inside. The Bench, however, pointed to a statement in her cross-examination where she said, "Whatever was taught, explained to me, the same statement I have stated."
"The aforesaid piece of testimony of Bharti Mandal clearly indicates that she is a tutored witness and whatever incriminating facts were stated by her in court for the first time were taught or explained to her," the Bench said. Moreover, the court, relying on the statement of CBI Investigating Officer M S Phartyal, concluded that Sanjay Chauhan, who was then the staff officer of the Gautam Budh Nagar District Magistrate, was planted by the probe agency.
It opined that his testimony could not be trusted as the CBI has not been able to come up with any cogent answer to the query of the Defence as to how the CBI came to know about the visit of Chauhan to L-32 Jalvayu Vihar
The court also pointed to the testimony of S P R Prasad of CDFD who, in his deposition to the trial court, said that all 56 pieces of evidence were properly sealed. "He has also categorically deposed before the trial court that 'all his seals have been broken, all his envelopes have been torn open and he cannot say who broke these seals, who tore open the envelopes, when this was done and why this was done'," the Bench said.
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