Aarushi Murder Case Could’ve Been Solved Within 12 Hours
The Aarushi-Hemraj case can now be counted among one of the major murder mysteries of the world. After the acquittal of Aarushi’s parents by Allahabad High Court, the question of her murderer remains. The other question is whether the case really is so complicated that neither the UP Police nor the two different CBI teams could crack it. CBI is credited with solving some of the biggest and most difficult cases in the world, but in this instance, the High Court ended up questioning the investigation.
It is worth pointing out that in the beginning, the case was much like any other murder or double-murder case. Today, this fact sounds a bit surprising, but it is very much true. I have been covering this case from day one, which is why I can say this with confidence. The mess-up happened during the investigation process, thanks to the way the UP police functions and the pressure to deliver at any cost.
If the UP police had changed the way it worked in just a few ways, cases like the Aarushi-Hemraj murder wouldn’t have ended up among the great unsolved mysteries of the world, and a mother and father wouldn’t have ended up behind bars for their daughter’s murder.
What’s Wrong With the System?
It is my belief that the biggest problem with the UP Police is that the responsibility for both maintaining law and order and investigations is given to the same officers. The other challenge is that they work primarily under the pressure brought to bear by the administration and the media.
If these two crucial issues are addressed, I am sure that a cock-up like the Aarushi-Hemraj murder case can be avoided.
16 May 2008 – Distracted Police
Now let’s talk about 16 May 2008, the fateful day on which Aarushi’s murder came to light. On the same day, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi were scheduled to visit communist leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet at the Metro Hospital in Noida’s Sector-11. Noida police was on VIP duty, and everyone from the SSP to local thana officials were occupied with it.
Hence, when the call was made about the murder of a doctor couple’s daughter at JalVayu Vihar in Noida’s Sector-25, only the chowki incharge and one or two hawaldaars got to the scene.
In all this, basic policing was forgotten. Aarushi’s house was never searched, nor were the surrounding areas looked at. Their domestic servant Hemraj was missing, so it was concluded that he must be the murderer. To search for him, apart from Noida and Delhi, a police team was even sent all the way to Nepal.
A Blasé Attitude
Now, let’s come to why this was like any other standard crime. If UP police had separate teams for law and order and investigation, then the team that got there on that fateful morning of 16 May 2008, would have focused solely on the murder investigation. They wouldn’t have had to worry about what was going on with the VIP duty.
If that had been done, the alcohol bottles, beedi, cold drink, and three used glasses in Hemraj’s room would have been found the same day, making it clear that he’d had visitors.
Secondly, if the kitchen had been looked at, they would have found Hemraj’s untouched dinner. Postmortem reports later proved that Hemraj had not eaten on the night of 15 May 2008, when the incident occurred. The discovery of his untouched dinner and the empty glasses and alcohol bottles in his room would have raised questions. If he had been involved in a conspiracy, why would he leave all that.
After that, if a dog squad had been used, it would have led them to the roof of the Talwar’s house, where they would have found Hemraj’s body. There had been blood on the stair railings leading to the roof, and dogs would easily have followed it.
Pages 226-227 of the high court verdict mention a pillowcase with Hemraj’s blood stains, which the CBI put down to a typing error; although the high court did not accept the typing error explanation. This means Hemraj’s blood did reach an individual’s pillowcase. It’s not as if the same mosquito that bit Hemraj went and died on that person’s pillow in the flat, hence leaving the victim’s blood there.
Procedural Update Sorely Needed
But none of this happened. Nine years later, there is still no murderer, no motive. This mystery will probably remain a mystery. Even now, if these systemic changes are made within the UP Police, going forward, cases like this will get solved with ease.
Former UP DGP Prakash Singh has spoken of a need to update the police’s modus-operandi for a long time. He has even submitted a report on the need to separate teams for investigation and law and order. But so far, nothing has happened. If these separate teams are formed, and forensic and dog squad support is provided to investigators, cases like this would never turn into enigmas.
(The writer is author of the book, 'Ek thi Aarushi' and can be reached @Don0305. This article was first published in QuintHindi. This is a personal blog and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)