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Then who killed Aarushi?

 Editorial |  2017-10-13 16:22:42.0

Then who killed Aarushi?

Almost a decade after one of the most talked-about cases in the history of crime and punishment in India, that is Aarushi Talwar's gruesome murder and many years after remaining behind the bars in Dasna Jail for killing their teenaged daughter, dentist couple Nupur and Rajesh Talwar finally got a relief from the Allahabad High Court. Though after facing dishonour for this alleged 'honour killing'of their only child, they won some free air to breathe on the basis of benefit of doubt rather than getting absolved completely– the sensational murder case remains far from closure. Like a classic cliff-hanger, where the true know-how of investigating agencies and their scientific support systems were tested and where they miserably failed, Aarushi murder case is one worst example of slapdash investigation in India. While the investigation of this case was missing the mark from the word go, the TRP-oriented sensational media trial brought multitudinous pressure on the police – who ultimately succumbed to it in no time. While the media's intention was clear—get every minute detail possible if it is the parents; if there isn't, enough meat in the police theory, even the butcher it outright, the number of goof-ups by the CBI in this matter completely spoilt the case. Fuelled by sensational media leaks and as the accused belonged to India's thriving mobile middle-class, this double murder quickly became the country's most talked-about crime. From the beginning, there were doubts about the way the investigations were conducted, first by the local police and then by federal detectives of the haphazard, absurd, and defamatory CBI. And, what virtually bulldozed all the investigations was the 'bureau-pathological dystopia' of UP. As the pressure on the Noida police to solve the case was intense, they had to find the murderer, and fast. As Noida fell in the jurisdiction of Uttar Pradesh, where police had a reputation for being criminals in uniform who did nothing unless they were paid a bribe, poorly trained and badly paid officers good a 'good chance' to show the infamous Kafkaesque form of investigation in Noida. Their investigation was haphazard, absurd and defamatory, targeting those who were closest to the murder scene. There was a complete lack of professionalism even in the CBI's probe. In December 2010, CBI submitted a closure report on the grounds of "insufficient evidence". Giving a clean chit to the servants, it named Rajesh Talwar as the prime suspect. In December 2010, CBI submitted a closure report on the grounds of "insufficient evidence". Giving a clean chit to the servants, CBI named Rajesh Talwar as the prime suspect. However, due to lack of evidence, CBI did not charge him. But, the court said that the case could not be closed. In November 2013, the designated CBI judge Shyam Lal awarded life imprisonment to the Talwar couple for of both murders and destruction of evidence, observing philosophically in his flowery language, "The parents are the best protector of their own children and that is the order of the human nature, but they have been freaks in the history of mankind when the father and mother became the killer of their own progeny. They have extirpated their own daughter who had seen 14 summers of her life and the servant, without compunction from terrestrial terrain in breach of commandment that 'thou shall not kill' and the injunction of the Holy Quran 'take not life, which God has made sacred'." Interestingly, the Allahabad High Court Bench comprising Justices B. K. Narayana and A. K. Mishra chided the trial court for acting like a 'film director', stating, "Like a film Director, the trial Judge has tried to thrust coherence amongst facts inalienably scattered here and there but not giving any coherence to the idea as to what in fact happened." And, if the observations of both the courts are any indication, the 'trial-and-error' methods of investigation by the media-savvy officials have virtually left no stone unturned in making the criminal judicial system of India questionable. One must not forget that acquittal of Talwar couple, who not only lost their only child but remained incarcerated for over nine years, had given a larger message to the society that all the agencies involved from prosecution to execution in dealing with the crimes, must keep their minds and eyes wide open before reaching to any conclusion – as happened in the gruesome killing of Aarushi. Nevertheless, it is not the first incident of prosecution losing the case in appeal, but the High Court's verdict has made it clear that much more reforms are needed in the system to save the victims of crime from falling prey to 'shoot first and ask questions afterward' approach of police.


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