“Innocent until proven Guilty”
This is the legal principle upon which the Indian judiciary is solely dependent on. Should this methodology be questioned or defended? Since the very inception of this principle, in which a person who is accused of a crime is treated as an innocent person until the prosecution provides favorable evidences to facilitate his/her conviction, it has been subjected to multiple criticisms. These denunciations escalated when the jolting news of a 14-year-old girl’s murder flashed as the headlines of every news channel in 2008. The Aarushi Talwar Murder Case, also informally called as the “2008 NOIDA Twin Murder Case”, revolves around the brutal murder of Aarushi Talwar, who was the daughter of Dr. Rajesh Talwar and Dr. Nupur Talwar, and Hemraj Banjade, the house help the Talwars had hired. This high-profile baffling case attracted a lot of media coverage and is till date an unsolved murder mystery. The Judgement delivered in the Aarushi Talwar murder case was one of the very few judgements which made the nation question the uprightness of the Indian Judicial System. Negligence on behalf of the Police department, inconsistencies in the statements of the witnesses, tampering of crucial evidences, contamination of the crime scene and Trials by Media were the crucial reasons why the nation refuses to agree with the judgement passed by the Judiciary. It is shocking to realise that even after 13 years of this terrifying incident, one vital question still remains unanswered, “Who Killed Aarushi Talwar?”
1.1 CASE HISTORY:
Fourteen-Year-old Aarushi Talwar was found dead during the early hours of 15th May, 2008 by her parents Dr. Rajesh Talwar and Dr. Nupur Talwar, both of them who’re practicing dentists. They found Aarushi devoid of her life with her throat slit and covered with a blanket. The parents were described to have been in great dismay by their house help, Bharathi. The neighbors were immediately informed and the police was alerted. As soon as the police arrived in the crime scene, the were taken aback to see the entire neighborhood inside the house of the Talwars. It was therefore concluded that the crime scene had been contaminated since the police had failed to secure it as soon as they received information. The forensics were called for and the house was scanned for fingerprints and other evidences. It was due to this carelessness of the police department to secure the crime scene; no fingerprints were found. The body of the deceased was sent for post-mortem and the house was inspected for other evidences. The police found the walls of Aarushi’s room to be stained with blood and on further inspection, it was found that the male house help of the Talwars, Hemraj was missing. This unexpected absconding of Hemraj was the reason behind him being treated as the prime suspect for the murder of Aarushi Talwar. It was a later discovered fact that Rajesh had earlier tried to bribe a police officer to arrest Hemraj immediately from his hometown. This although was initially ignored, turned out to be a crucial factor for consideration in the line of investigations. As the search for Hemraj continued frantically, the post-mortem reports of Aarushi stated that her death was caused due to an assault on her forehead. This resulted in a clot which turned out to be fatal for her. The reports also clarified that the slit on her throat was made after her death in a very professional manner. After running several tests, Aarushi was handed over to her family. Meanwhile the police noticed blood stains on the terrace door of the Talwars. This ignited suspicions in their minds and the key for the terrace was demanded. Since the whereabouts of the key was known only to Rajesh Talwar, who was on his way to Haridwar to fulfill the Hindu rituals, the matter was kept aside temporarily. It was due to this laxity of the police, the partially decomposed body of Hemraj was discovered on the terrace on 16th May. Forensics concluded that Hemraj had also been murdered the previous day along with Aarushi in the same manner. This disproves the theory of Hemraj being the murderer and the situation changed drastically. Since the initial investigations ruled out forcible entry, owing to the self-locking technique of the doors, the Talwars were now being held as prime suspects. And the entire course of the case changed when the CBI took control of it from the police.
1.2 CBI INVESTIGATION AND FINDINGS:
As soon as the CBI took charge of investigating this case, they found a lot of discrepancies in the statements of the witnesses. When they were recalled for an enquiry, it was discovered that few witnesses had recorded false statements which totally contradicted the factual evidences presented. This mishap was again blamed to be the fault of the police department since the initial interrogations are proven to be crucial for the investigation of the case. After the CBI started the case from scratch, they found the former house help of the Talwars, Krishna to be suspicious. After conducting a Narco-Analysis test on him, CBI released a formal statement convicting Krishna with the murders of both Aarushi and Hemraj. When these facts were presented before the court, the court refused to take the Narco-Analysis test into consideration. It stated that the test was unethical and inadmissible in the court. Since the CBI couldn’t provide any other evidence to support their theory, Krishna was acquitted from all charges on the grounds of insufficient evidence provided. The CBI requested this case to be closed since there were no leads present. But the request for closure was denied and the case was transferred to another experienced CBI team. The second team immediately worked on the pre-existing facts and concluded that the Talwars were behind these murders.
1.3 TALWARS AS SUSPECTS:
The CBI found it suspicious that the parent didn’t hear any noise from Aarushi’s room on the night she was murdered. When questioned about this, the parents defended themselves by stating that the disturbance from their Air-Conditioner made it difficult to hear anything outside their room. The CBI continued their pursuit for more evidences and discovered that the internet router which was placed in Aarushi’s room had been constantly turned on and off on the night of 15th May. Since it was a manual router, the person should have been in Aarushi’s room when he/she operated it. And the fact that the keys to Aarushi’s room was only available to the Talwars, escalated the skepticism of the CBI. After confirming that Rajesh had been online till midnight on 15th May, the CBI went forward and took the Talwars under custody. They were later produced before the Ghaziabad General Sessions Court.
JUDGEMENT OF THE COURT:
The Sessions court, after considering the facts provided by CBI, declared the Talwars to be guilty of the murders of Aarushi Talwar and Hemraj Banjade. The court ordered the officials to go forward with the imprisonment on the basis of circumstantial evidences. The court also declared that the Talwars had committed fraud by an act of forgery when they tried to tamper with the evidences in the crime scene. The Talwars who believed that they were subjected to false imprisonment, filed a challenge in the Allahabad High Court. They stated that they were not given a fair trial and demanded their case to be heard in a higher court. When their case was reheard by the High Court, it declared the Talwars to be innocent and gave them the benefit of doubt. Since all CBI findings were only theories and no factual evidence was provided, the court ordered to free the Talwars immediately. The CBI couldn’t also provide any reason to ensure the conviction of the Talwars. So, they were acquitted of all charges in 2014.
The Aarushi Talwar murder case is credited to have been one of the most paradoxical cases the Indian Judiciary has ever witnessed. The numerous flaws and inconsistencies present in this case, have made this an unsolvable enigma till date. Poor investigation and poor functioning of the law enforcing agencies, which were one of the main highlights of this case, let down the faith people have in the process of reinstating justice. The answer for the question ‘Who killed Aarushi Talwar?’ remains unanswered and the concerning factor is that no form of action has been taken to uncover the face behind these murders. We need to face the harsh reality that whoever was behind these murders has not been convicted yet and is still roaming freely out in the world. Law was definitely upheld by acquitting those who were believed to be innocent. But we need to ponder upon a quintessential question- Was Justice served?
ARTICLE BY PRIYA DARSHINI S
THE INDIAN EXPRESS, No presumption of innocence once a person is convicted by trial court, https://indianexpress.com/article/india/no-presumption-of-innocence-once-a-person-is-convicted-by-trial-court-supreme-court-7497739/ (12/11/2021, 22:12).
 Pragya Jain & Taniya Roy, Critical analysis of Arushi Talwar murder case, Indian Legal Solution Journal of Criminal and Constitutional Law (Oct. 15, 2019) https://journal.indianlegalsolution.com/2019/10/15/critical-analysis-of-arushi-talwar-murder-case-pragya-jain-taniya-roy/.
 Rajesh Talwar vs. CBI, (2014) 1 SCC 628.