No end to justice: The Aarushi-Hemraj murder verdict

The verdict is out. But this is only another beginning. Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, parents of 14-year-old Aarushi have been pronounced guilty of her murder and that of their domestic help, Hemraj, in the early hours of May 16, 2008. There is also the charge of destroying evidence and filing a false FIR.

They issued a statement saying they will fight for justice. For themselves. Aarushi, even in death, was treated with disdain. Every bit of her for public consumption. No one was concerned about her reputation. Dead people don't have reputations. No one was concerned about Hemraj. I include myself in this group of people who treated his death cursorily.

This is what the death of the poor mean. What is even more astonishing is that after the verdict, there is sadness. People have short memories. The media that enjoyed the spectacle of conjecture now talks about probity. The media that sensationalised the case now thinks in terms of giving respectful space and not judging. Who were they to judge, to begin with? But not only did they judge, they decided on the 'turn of events'. Reporters were posted in Noida and acted as detectives. The change was quite evident.

I have written quite a bit about the case and following are excerpts.

June 2, 2008

Her father Dr. Rajesh Talwar is under suspicion for having killed her and their servant because he found them in a compromising position; other reports suggest that the girl knew about her father’s extra-marital affair. Whatever it is, I do find it surprising that the mother, Nupur, is appearing on several television channels to save her husband. She should be in the lawyer’s offices, with the police. Not giving sound bytes to the cameras. I am afraid I feel no sympathy for her when I watch her. Besides, they say she was in the house when the murders took place.

[I mentioned today that she was on TV a day after the murder. There were cameras covering this, so I did think in terms of a soundbite. Now, it appears she gave an interview to NDTV a week later. Apparently, that is fine. Also, I am told to remember that she was "stoic". That is not the point. It is whether you want justice for your daughter or for your husband and yourself?]

Now comes the part about the media. Aaj Tak channel had a story in the initial days titled, “Papa yeh tu ne kya kiya?” (Papa, what have you done?) What is this? Some soap opera? And when the mother was mentioned they played the track of the song “Maa…tu sab jaanti hai…” from the film Taare Zameen Par.

July 13, 2008

Criticising the UP police once again for their alleged irresponsible handling of the Aarushi murder case, Union minister for women and child development Renuka Choudhary said that the family should sue the police. “The family should sue the state police and those responsible for bungling the case must be suspended,’’ she said.

This isn’t mere concern about how the case was handled and the character assassination of Aarushi’s father Dr. Rajesh Talwar. It is about party politics.

This is a way to make the Mayawati government accountable.

It is true the police was most shabby in how they went about getting evidence, but why did the Talwars not mention their compounder Krishna’s name right then? Now he is the prime suspect. The question also remains as to where the parents were when the murder took place and how soon did they inform the police.

And just for the information of the minister, it wasn’t merely the cops who tarnished Aarushi’s name; the media went haywire. There was no need to report all that and no need to show all those teachers and students certifying the girl’s reputation. All this only draws attention to something that may be untrue but gives enough scope for rumours.

Dec 30, 2010

The CBI can’t solve a case. Aarushi... has left enough traces. But those traces do not seem to find their way to the source.

The Central Bureau of Investigation came into the picture soon after the Noida police made no headway. Perhaps, the entry of the CBI was the big mistake. Big people need big people to get mouths shut.

They found the weapon, they have a reasonable motive – “immediate provocation”, they know of missing files and the swapped vaginal swab, they know that someone was tampering with evidence. Then, why is it so difficult to find out who and why?

It is impossible that the findings reveal absolutely nothing. What did the DNA sample show? What did the brain-mapping reveal? Who cleared the room before the police came in? It need not be one person. These are people in different places doing different things. Who was calling the shots? And why?

Instead, the CBI has washed its hands of the case:

“The agency has filed a final report for the closure of the case on grounds of insufficient evidence in the competent court.”

It has been only two and a half years. There are cases that are pending for decades. I would like to see what Aarushi’s parents do next. It must surely be tough on them to have a daughter raped and murdered in the next room and the place cleaned up while they were around just a few metres away, isn’t it? They should file a case against the Noida police and the CBI and the hospital authorities for shirking their duty and making a mockery of justice.

They have the power, being educated and relatively better-off than many who do not have the means. Let this be a fight for the silent Aarushis and the silenced ones.

I don't know what to add except that there are silenced Hemrajs too.

There cannot be closure for facts change over a period of time because perceptions of them do.


  1. FV, This is a country where people still take money for their families and serve prison time on behalf of some richer, more influential person, as happens in Tamilnadu to this day. Cops will shutdown ATMs when crimes are committed at ATMs rather than do the more obvious and correct thing to do, i.e., ask for better lighting and CCTV coverage of all ATMs, so that more criminals can be prosecuted. How many FIRs are being filed on a daily basis for serious crimes committed against poor people? The Indian "justice system" has to be one of the most unfunny long-running jokes on reality non-TV.

  2. I think we tend to selectively rubbish the justice system, and it is only natural. In high profile cases, justice goes beyond the courts.

    I am shocked that celebrity media-persons are openly supporting the Talwars. A reopening of the case is most definitely on the cards.

    Am not sure what precedent this will set.

  3. :"I think we tend to selectively rubbish the justice system, and it is only natural."

    FV, just to clarify, was not selectively rubbishing the justice system. It is well known that the number of law enforcement officials per 100,000 people is a fraction of what it needs to be. Laws are archaic and have not been written to reduce contradictions between different laws. Judges are moving into the domain of the legislature and legislating laws. The executive/legislature corrupts the rule books for political reason. Would you actually report to the police if your house was robbed? I wouldn't -- usually tends to make things worse.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.