Monday, July 14, 2008

Aarushi Murder Case : The Truth Locked In

After months of capturing the media headlines, the Aarushi murder case has finally seen some answers. Dr Rajesh Talwar has been released and the three accused arrested. Despite the many versions of truth making its way to the media, the real truth is still at large and the motive still remains hazy, the answers provided merely serve as a launching pad for more questions.

From the day this tragic murder came to limelight it has been a whodunit that would not feel out of place in an Agatha Christie thriller. A young girl murdered in her own bedroom, parents sleep through the murder, man-servant missing only to be found dead two days later on the terrace of the same home and father arrested as a prime suspect. Unfortunately in the three month handling of the case both the Noida police and CBI have more than proved they are no Hercule Poirots. The case has seen one goof-up after the other. And even as the proceedings near a close there is no Poirot style neat tying up of the facts. Only a presentation with many dangling loose ends.

For those who grew up on a staple of Enid Blyton books, Mr Goon of Five Findouters is a memorable character. The bumbling village constable who always is beaten by the children in solving the crime. The buffoonery of Noida police in the recent past has been of Mr Goonesque proportions, only the gravity of their blunders is far from the realm of children's fiction. In their over zealous drive to crack the case, they first jumped the gun by naming Hemraj as the prime suspect, only to shamefacedly admit two days later to the discovery of his corpse on the terrace. Obviously, the terrace is too far placed from the scene of crime to need checking. Soon after they made another breakthrough by arresting Dr Talwar and coming up with a cock and bull story that would put all C-grade Bollywood pot-boilers to shame. Father has affair, daughter does not approve, daughter has affair with servant to spite father, father catches them in an "objectionable but not compromising position" and murders both of them in a fit of passion. While all this drama unfolds, mother sleeps peacefully in her bedroom. In true Bollywood tradition, Noida police's crack at the case begs you to leave your brains behind.

The lack of sensitivity and accountability in our current world is all pervading. The Noida police's pot-boiler script was lapped up instantly by the electronic media and made into a complete tear-jerker film, replete with dialogue-baazi and songs. Anyone who has caught the coverage of the case on TV would have cringed at the cheap manner in which the media 'bollywoodized' this human tragedy.

The serious aspersions that the police cast on the character of the child started another circus. The police comes up with a theory, the media adds their own colourful yarn, the blogosphere intellectualizes it and soon there are reports of Arushi being a nymphomaniac and the parents being a part of a wife-swapping cult. Where is the dignity for the dead? If it takes a procession of school-children (from Aarushi's school) to shake the adult world to its senses, it is indeed a sad situation. Freedom of press is a powerful tool, but when that power crosses the line, it is time to sit back re-consider our liberties.

The CBI, admittedly has handled the case with far more restraint. They have succeeded to a great degree in keeping the media circus at bay, yet their deconstruction of the events leaves a lot of loose ends. Did Krishna and Raj Kumar murder Arushi merely to get back to Dr Talwar for his high-handedness? Is that a motive enough? Do these individuals have a history of violent behaviour? Not all people commit murder merely because they got a dressing down from their boss. There has been no mention of the sexual assault angle before. Did Aarushi's post-mortem reveal any such assault?

The stand vis-a-vis Dr Talwar is even more intriguing. The CBI, to note, does not absolve Dr Talwar of the crime, it is merely letting him off for the lack of evidence. What does that mean? If they do not absolve him of the crime where does he fit into their reconstruction of the event? CBI is mysteriously silent on that one.The position of the parents in this case is truly tragic. To have slept peacfully as their child was murdered in the next room is something that will haunt them for long. Yet, based on what has been made public, there are certain sub-texts that are slightly disconcerting. Going through the details of the case, a small seemingly innocuous fact suddenly pops out.

"The CBI had stated during Rajesh Talwar's bail hearing that Arushi's bedroom was locked every night....Dr Nupur had the keys"

The bed-room was locked every night? Provided that is true, doesn't it seem a little strange? Modern homes are cosy apartments where safety within the house is rarely a concern. Yet in that cosy apartment a girl is murdered as her parents in the other room have no clue. Did the Talwars fear such an eventuality that made them lock their daughter up in her room every night? Did their actions have any other motivation other than (fatefully justified) paranoia for their child's safety? If parents need to lock their children into the bedroom every night, it is a scary reflection on the level of security in our society.

With CBI coming out with the arrests, this case is on it's way out of the public domain. Quite like the earlier Nithari murder cases, the media and the world will soon move on to more exciting things. The victims however, will only get justice when the truth comes out from under the lock and key.


  1. Let annoying and trashy Indian TV and print media handle such sensational stories.

  2. Hi there ,

    I was just reading about this case and find almost same story eveywhere ....but this one is word to word copy of your / or may be vice versa of your blog :

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. ufff.... Indian police can't even solve a mystery for 4 years...shame on you....