On The Aarushi Talwar Murder Case

If you think that sentimentalists are motivated by good intentions, remember their judgment when someone stands his trial before them, when they have the sentence of death in their pockets.

It is hard for most people to believe that parents can murder their own daughter. But, if this is true, what is bizarre is not that many believe that Aarushi Talwar’s parents didn’t murder her daughter. In fact, it is surprising that many believe that her parents did it, and are quite defensive about it. Because the investigators themselves had acknowledged that there is no forensic or material evidence against them. They relied on much of what they call circumstantial judgment to reach this conclusion. But, much of it is laughable. It is obvious to me that it was their socio-economic background that worked against them.

Think about this. If her parents, Nupur and Rajesh Talwar had indeed murdered Aarushi, it is surprising that the investigators were not able to produce any forensic or material evidence against them in five and a half years. Either they did such a terrible job, or the Talwar’s were very good at the game. Now, whatever you think of the facts of the matter, anyone who has followed the case knows that their performance was ridiculous. But, if the parents were really good at the game, would they have been pushed around for many years, only to be convicted in the end?

The CBI had closed the case years ago. It was the parents who asked for a re-investigation. I think I have enough experience dealing with dishonest people. In my experience, they—and this means all of them—avoid a dialogue, altogether. Criminals are very unlikely to push for a re-investigation. When the parents said that they were not really satisfied with the way the CBI has handled the case, they must have decided: “Okay, let us screw them, together.” Coalition politics can be pretty nasty.

Consider the argument that the router worked intermittently through the night in which Aarushi was murdered. Is it plausible that the parents were surfing the web after murdering their daughter? The investigators themselves had admitted that the router went on and off the day after the murder, even though no one was using the internet. But, the Judge Shyam Lal’s reasoning was that, “Since the couple is educated and have special knowledge about the mode, manner and functioning of routers, they should explain the details of the router activity to the court.” They failed to do so, he said.

In any technologically literate society, the judge would have been hooted down without delay. It is not clear that who murdered the child, but it is obvious that the judge is prejudiced against the educated couple who is supposed to have “special knowledge about the mode, manner and functioning of internet routers”.

The honor killing story is purely a speculation, as they themselves have admitted. There is no reason why one should believe that it is true. The investigators relied too much on introspection, and their own experiences and world view. Many things can happen, but there is no reason why we should NOT believe them when the accused and their defenders claim that they find all this sick. Why should a 14 year old girl have a consensual relationship with a 45 year old servant? Again, many things can happen, but there is nothing in it for her.

The court even used a defense witness’ statement that “if the male partner had undergone a vasectomy, his discharge would have no trace of sperm”, to explain why no sperm was found in the vaginal swabs sent for forensic testing. What is going on? It is as if they are trying to prove that her parents did it, by hook or by crook.

Read the whole judgment. This is how it begins, and this tone is maintained throughout:

“The cynosure of judicial determination is the fluctuating fortunes of the dentist couple Dr. Rajesh Talwar and Dr. Nupur Talwar, who have been arraigned for committing and secreting as also deracinating the evidence of commission of the murder of their own adolescent daughter — a beaut damsel and sole heiress Ms. Aarushi and hapless domestic aide Hemraj, who had migrated to India from neighbouring Nepal to eke out living and attended routinely to the chores of domestic drudgery at the house of their masters.”

Of course, this is an attempt to “stun”, to impress. The judge knew that this will be his claim to fame. But, now, even the newspaper smarties find him a laughing stock, and the contempt is instant. “Beaut damsel”? This is sloppy. This is pathetic. It is as if he was enjoying himself. How can many journalists and legal experts read this judgement, and congratulate him, on his integrity, for delivering justice? They have no respect for reality. Whatever the facts of the matter, it is scary that such dimwits deliver the judgment in complex cases.

A former CBI director praises the judgment in The Hindu:

“I feel it would be unfair to stop with such a clinical and cold analysis of a judgment that would be discussed for many years to come. I feel I should dwell a little on the misfortune of a couple, who not only lost their only child but have also to languish in jail for most of their remaining lives. My heart goes out to them. However heinous their acts may have been, they are not common criminals to be hounded or despised. There is already information that they are going to be usefully occupied in prison: the husband treating inmates who need dental attention and the wife imparting education. In this process, it is hoped they will imbibe values which perhaps did not govern their lives until they erred grievously five years ago.”

Reading this, do you feel that they are motivated by a love for the truth?

Do read these passages in Patrick French‘s essay, Worse Than A Daughters Death:

‘The cops thought we were an “immoral” family because Aarushi made 300 calls a month to her friends and went on Orkut and Facebook. These people are backward. They are not fit to do their job.”

‘Before my court appearance, I was put in a prison van with the other three accused.’ He was referring to Krishna and the young men who were detained with him, who worked locally as domestic servants. At this point, Rajesh had no way of knowing whether they were guilty or were being framed too. But their behaviour made him believe the worst. ‘Krishna didn’t say anything at all to me. He had no reaction. This man had worked as my own dental assistant. He looked as if he was relaxed. One of the others pointed at him and made a sign with his hands, as if to say, “It wasn’t me who did it—it was Krishna.” I panicked. I was in the police van, knowing this man might have done this thing to my child. They handcuffed me with Krishna. I was begging them to not do it, but they said they had only one handcuff. They removed the handcuffs when we reached the court. The heat was terrible. When I was attached to Krishna, I was literally begging, I was saying, “This man has killed my child.” The policeman said, “I don’t have another handcuff.” That was the worst moment I have ever had. I felt I was dying.’

‘Over the weeks, people melted away. On the day he was arrested, Fortis Hospital, where he was working, threw him out. A lot of our dentist friends didn’t want to know once Rajesh was in jail. People don’t like to come close to a tragedy. I would sit alone. I only cried for Aarushi when her father came home.’

The tone of investigation changed.“Why was Aarushi reading this book?” police asked. “What mistakes had she made?”“What’s a sleepover? Did it involve adults?”“No,” said Nupur. “They didn’t want adults around.”“Ha. Why not? Why would she not want you there?”

After the press conference and all the allegations by the police, Nupur Talwar decided to break her silence and give a long overdue interview to the media. Her interview to NDTV unleashed a media backlash from rival channels that they did not expect. Says Radhika, “I remember getting calls from senior people in rival channels soon after Nupur went on NDTV. They said there better be an interview on their channel that night, and watch out for their coverage if the interview didn’t happen.” Senior mediapersons from reputed channels, she says, would sit in the drawing room, refusing to leave till Nupur spoke to them.

Dinesh recalls instances of mediapersons incessantly ringing the doorbell. “If one person had a soundbyte, others would go to the extent of threatening us with, ‘I will speak against you. I will write against you.’ Those were harrowing times.”

Shree Paradkar writes

“As the whispers grew louder, the well-to-do professionals morphed into extravagantly wealthy deviants who, if allowed, would buy their way out of murder. How the Talwars, middle-class professionals, got labelled extravagantly “elite” I will never know. They lived in a flat in Noida, not some big mansion. They earned enough that money was not a source of constant worry, but they still needed to put some aside every month to save for their daughter’s education.”

I never understood this either.

From Avirook Sen’s piece in Sify:

In arguing why a scalpel could never have been the murder weapon, defence counsel Tanveer Ahmed Mir offered that the CBI already knew it was impossible to cut through the carotid artery with a dentist’s scalpel. The instrument is far too delicate–it has a cutting surface of about a centimeter, and would probably break while negotiating tough cartilages. Kaul claimed that he confirmed with faculty at Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC, where both Rajesh and Nupur Talwar gained their degrees) that dentists were taught surgery; the prosecution brought in a witness to say this, but he wasn’t a dentist. Kaul admitted that he had indeed interviewed a dentist from MAMC, but this man was never asked to testify. Why? Asked Mir. The obvious inference is that any reasonable dentist would testify that it was near impossible to inflict the slit wounds with the delicate instruments of his trade. And, why, asked Mir, were the Talwars’ scalpels never sought by the CBI. Surely, if one of them was a murder weapons, they needed forensic scrutiny? And then, the coup de grace: Had Mr Kaul ever seen a dental scalpel? He hadn’t. Not the Talwars’, not anything he’d procured from the market. What he had seen in his mind’s eye, were two murders with a scalpel in them.

Sounds like a nightmare.

But,If you think that sentimentalists are motivated by good intentions, remember their judgment when someone stands his trial before them, when they have the sentence of death in their pockets.


  1. Y. R. Palia.

    Have not gone through the judgement, or the details of the proceedings, but from your very detailed description, it does look like a botched up investigation and a shabby proceeding. Wonder if the case will stand in higher courts. Doubt it.

  2. LALIT

    It is 100 % impossible for a male and female to drag a dead body on terrace in bedsheets.

    If doctors has did this job than no need to hide a dead body on terrace. They can just open all doors and hide key just like all other weapons missing

    and than can call to police on morning at 6.00 am which look some one has done this job when they come to know and than they inform police

    No need to lock inside or outside or Even no need to lock terrace door from out side too

    No one can doubt on couple in such a event.

    No need to drag body with bedsheets first on middle of terrace and than drag to corner without bedsheets.

    Even No need to separate body from bedsheets and they can directly drag to corner. No one can see.with or without bedsheets if it was in corner with bedsheets

    Most of honour killings with “KRODH on MInd” so it cannot be planned. This murder look likes a planned murders. Same type of injury in both cases cannot take place with ANGER in Mind.

    Why servant not ate anything on that night till 12.00?

    This is also strange.

    Some other planning like a drink party by servant if he really not ate anything. In most drink case, you find when you take a drink than you not ate before drink.

    For a life imprisonment to father and mother for their daughter require clear motive and full evidence.

    I 100 % disagree with opinion that a 45 aged servant and a 13 year aged daughter have some illegal relations with 45 years servant while same time she having many boy friends too and no one from family has stopped them for talk or chat and If both servant and daughter have than they never take a chance in night in presence of mother-father while whole day they remain alone without mother-father.

    Some one others finger prints on bottle in a living room also tell other story

    Hand Palm print on terrace was not look like it accidental happened If it was accidental than it will not be straight. It was clearly created by some one to mislead investigation

    No need to hide both persons mobile for a mother and father if they have killed both. If they hide with a intention to hide mobiles than you never found any of them and they surely destroy both of them but in this case, daughter mobile found after 2 years

    Call in morning at 6.01 to servant mobile phone cannot be a planned one. It’s impossible to hide mobile within few minutes

    It’s a simple knowledge for doctors that dead body cannot be hide on terrace for more than 24 hours. Neighbors will surely complain within 48 hours regarding some bad smell

    They also know this thing very well that after news regarding daughter murder, there will be no chance for them to disposed off in next 7-15 days.

    They have enough time. 4 to 5 hours is enough to hide servant body elsewhere or other place before anyone came to know regarding her daughter murder.

    I strongly believe that Something wrong still in case.

  3. George S.

    “Okay, let us screw them, together.”

    The stance of judiciary in this is worthy of notice. Note that, although the police are the ones who first accused the Talwar couple, they did also say that there was insufficient evidence to charge them, and did not initiate the charges. Instead, it was the court which regardless ordered prosecution and finally ordered the life imprisonment.

    So much power in the hands of the one man in the seat with unquestionable power(contempt of court) …. Moments like this pushes one in favor of implementing Jury System in Indian law too.

  4. Yes. I have not read more about it, or thought much about it. I can say that the courts should be privatized, but, again, it is not likely to happen in our lifetime. I am not sure how it works. There is a way in which groups decide too. For instance, in the UK, where there is a monetary policy committee, it almost never happens that the members of the committee disagree with the governor. An economist once told me that there is a large body of academic literature on why giving more people voice in the decision will be an improvement. He himself said that India is a feudal country,and you cannot imagine an economist disagreeing with the RBi governor. Perhaps it is an improvement, but not much.

  5. kishore.shetty

    From the judgment copy
    That the door of Ms. Aarushi’s bed-room was
    fitted with automatic click-shut lock. P.W.-29
    Mahesh Kumar Mishra the then S.P. (City),
    N.O.I.D.A. has deposed that when he talked to
    Dr. Rajesh Talwar on 16.05.2008 in the
    morning, he had told him that in the preceding
    night at about 11.30 P.M. he had gone to sleep
    with the key after locking the door of Ms.
    Aarushi’s bed-room from outside. Both the
    accused have admitted that door of Ms.
    Aarushi’s bed-room was having automatic-clickshut
    lock like that of a hotel, which could not be
    opened from outside without key but could be
    opened from inside without key.

    At this point in time the talwars are alleged to have killed their daugther and hemraj, hemraj’s body has not yet been found..and talwars are trying to prove that hemraj has killed aarushi and fled. They have cleaned evidence …and out to prove hemraj killed aarushi …then why would they give a statement that hemraj can not excess aarushi’s room at night. They could have easily said aarushi does not lock her room at night…she is scared of ghosts… They say so because they just do not know what happened that night.

     judgement copy.1) The accused persons have nowhere taken a plea that someone had come to meet them or their servant
    Hemraj after 9.30 P.M. on 15.05.2008. 2) It is also possible that Sula wine may have also been 
    taken by the accused when he was extremely and intensely 
    in tension after committing the crime or it was partly
    made empty to show that Hemraj and his friends
    had consumed the liquor. It is not the case of the
    accused that Hemraj used to take wine or liquor.

    Now for some one who created evidence by placing beer and wine glass to take a plea that no one came at night does not add up. They could have easily taken a plea hemraj had visitors.  
    They say so because they just do not know what happened that night.And it also says hemraj did have visitor’s

            If talwars are not guilty ,why did anybody hide hemraj’s body…The only explanation i have is the actual target was Hemraj…and aarushi was killed either for being a witness or attempted rape victim. And hemraj’s body was hid because….the killer did not want somebody they both knew  ie: hemraj and killer, to find out hemraj is dead…  maybe he was his next target.

  6. Sivasankar Chander

    You’re absolutely on the mark, the Talwars *were* framed. The only DNA evidence that implicated one of the other suspects, Krishna, in the murder of Hemraj, was nullifed by falsifying the evidentiary record to show that it came from Hemraj’s room, not Krishna’s. There are numerous other grounds for appeal, and I hope they succeed on appeal. The only problem is that it could take years for the appeal to be heard.

    There’s also one key detail that seems to have been ignored by almost everybody: several witnesses in the initial group that found Hemraj’s body on 17th May reported seeing hair in his mouth (which is consistent with a violent scuffle in which Hemraj probably bit one of his assailants on the hand, scalp or some other hairy portion of the body). None of the Talwar family – Aarushi, Rajesh or Nupur had a bite injury that was consistent with a bite from Hemraj. Ergo, there was at least one outsider involved in Hemraj’s murder, and all the prosecution’s fairy tales have to go into the dustbin.

  7. Siv, I liked this comment very much. I think it takes an IIT-ian to crack a case. I have read almost every mainstream piece on this, and I did not see this being emphasized enough. I think it is pretty obvious that there must have been at least an outsider. That is what I felt, from the beginning. I do not know how anyone can evade this. I think that is evident from that they had kept a whisky bottle with the blood stains(To which the Talwars drew attention) of both, boot and palm prints. And think about this. Why would they slit the throats of both? That is perhaps to ensure that they are both dead, or out of anger. Somewhat symbolic. Very improbable that the parents did it. They are also dentists, and can easily know whether someone is dead or not. The honor killing story is obviously nonsense. I too hope that they succeed in the appeal.

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