Even as Allahabad High Court on Thursday acquitted Rajesh and Nupoor Talwar, the prime suspects in the 2008 murder of their daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj, citing “benefit of doubt”, Crime Bureau of Investigation (CBI)’s role in botching up the dual-murder investigation has been severely criticised by the court.Some of the key loopholes noted by the HC in its judgment, included CBI’s “manipulation” of a pillow cover, which the HC said was “the clinching piece of evidence” in the couple’s favour.In 2008, two pillow covers were recovered from Hemraj’s room and one from another servant Krishna’s room but both were sent to CDFD (Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics) Hyderabad for DNA tests. Based on the CDFD report filed on 6 November 2008, which claimed that the purple-colored cover seized from Krishna’s house carries the DNA of Hemraj, HC ruled that – “it unequivocally establishes presence of Krishna in the house of the Talwars on the night of the occurrence”. However, in 2011, a CBI investigator revealed that a “typographical error” had led to mixing up of the reports on the two pillow covers and Hemraj’s DNA was in fact found only on his own pillow cover.
The HC questioned why no CBI officer noticed any discrepancy or error for three years after the CDFD submitted its report before investigating officer AGL Kaul, who flagged the same in 2011. HC said CBI could offer “no satisfactory reply” on what led to Kaul to doubt the correctness of the 2008 CDFD report.
HC also noted the testimony of a CDFD scientific expert, SPR Prasad, before the trial court in which he said seals put by CDFD on all exhibits sent by the CBI seemed to be tampered. Among other discrepancies, the HC noted that cross examination of the primary testimony of Bharti Mandal, another servant in the Talwar household, revealed her to be a “tutored witness”, relying on which the CBI had attempted to prove the impossibility of anybody else being in the Talwar home.
The CBI had said that a golf club was used by Rajesh Talwar to strike the heads of Aarushi and Hemraj, after which their throats were slit using a surgical scalpel. But the bench said: “There is evidence on record showing that the golf club, which was handed over by appellant Dr Rajesh Talwar, was neither properly sealed nor kept in Maalkhana and the same had been tampered with.”
The High Court also dismissed the theory that Hemraj’s body had been hidden. The court added that the CBI had “miserably failed to lead any evidence which may even remotely suggest that Hemraj was murdered in the bedroom of Aarushi and then his dead body was wrapped in a bed sheet and dragged from Aarushi’s bedroom up to the terrace”.