All that reflected a certain pre-conceived mindset of the agency.
In an interview with Shweta Singh, senior advocate Rebecca John spoke about how the probe was tailor-made to implicate the Talwars, loopholes in the investigation, and how a purple colour blood-stained pillow cover changed the entire case.
As the Talwar couple has been acquitted by the Allahabad high court, what do you have to say about the nine years of the battle fought and the probe?
I don’t think this was the case, which should have gone for the trial in the first place. I think the investigation went through many twists and turns starting with the Noida police, and their crazy theories, without a shred of evidence. Then the first CBI team took over the investigation. There was a period in June 2008 when Rajesh Talwar and his three domestic helps were in custody at the same time. And in July 2008, the CBI released Rajesh Talwar stating that there was no evidence against him, and that he is not an accused in the case. In 2009, a new CBI team replaced the first one, and things began to change dramatically. Within a few days of the second CBI team taking over, most sensational shifts happened in medical and forensic evidence as well as the statement of witnesses. All that reflected a certain pre-conceived mindset of the agency. It was a mindset that would even want to fabricate evidence.
What do you have to say about the closure report filed by the second team of CBI?
It was not a closure report but a chargesheet where the CBI team wanted to implicate the Talwar couple, which was filed in the court in Ghaziabad in 2010. It was really not a closure report. It was a document accusing the doctor couple, drafted in a way that the court had no option but to summon the couple. It was really a chargesheet, masquerading as a closure report. Let’s be very clear about it as there is an ill-informed narrative out there, which says that they were closing the investigation then why didn’t you let that happen? Why did you have to ask for further investigation? There are two answers for this. They weren’t closing the investigation. It was a mischievous report filed with an intention to get the Talwars summoned. They followed their superiors’ instructions and called it a closure report.
In law, when a closure report is filed, the first informant has the right to oppose the closure report. And in this case, Rajesh Talwar, being the first informant, was given a notice regarding what he had to say about this. As he had to say many things, Rajesh Talwar moved a 100-page protest petition giving the version to the best of his knowledge and ability. The couple had gone to several laboratories and was in touch with the investigative agency.
Were the pleas of Talwar couple for Touch DNA and other evidence during the probe not acknowledged?
The couple got in touch with several laboratories after filing the protest petition. They said that there were critical pieces of evidence in the case, including the bloody palm prints on the wall of the terrace, footprints, bedsheet and the clothes of Hemraj that could be sent to laboratories abroad. They said all these exhibits should be sent to laboratories for purpose of Touch DNA analysis in order to ascertain if it showed up the DNA of any outside people. This was what they had been asking. This is the process of elimination routinely used in America to solve the old cold cases. Initially, the CBI seemed inclined to their request of Touch DNA but later, for some strange reason, it decided against it. The Talwars did everything they could under the circumstances to help the investigation agencies crack the case. There were mysterious flip-flops with this case. The statements of the witnesses were fabricated. How? The doctor who had examined Hemraj came to court and said his penis was engorged because he was about to have sex or was in the act of having sex. When confronted with medical jurisprudence, where it was clearly written that in a putrefied body, one of the signs of putrefaction is an enlarged penis, he said that is correct and that he made the statement because he was a married man and was making that evidence on personal experience. Now, what is the quality of this evidence?
Do you think that the second team of CBI was formed to implicate Talwars as the first team, headed by Arun Kumar, had found no evidence against them?
Yes! The second team from the CBI was brought only to implicate the couple. The botched-up investigation done by the CBI and the tailor-made theories to get them summoned shows this. It was an investigation based on no concrete piece of evidence; an investigation based on conjectures, innuendos, insinuations and medical fabrications. Even at that stage, there was material within the CBI chargesheet, which could have led the CBI to the actual killers but it was ignored. The flip-flop of two doctors in this case is also worthy of attention. After having documented in the first instance that enough evidence was detected with respect to the private parts of the child, these doctors changed their version, two years later, on the basis of some memory and stated that her hymen was torn and vaginal orifices were enlarged. What kind of witch-hunt was this? How were the Talwars to defend themselves when each single evidence was overturned in this fashion?
The key evidence of missing out the purple blood stained pillow cover by the CBI team turned the case 360º around?
The most critical piece of evidence in this case, in fact, the only evidence of any substance in this case, was a purple pillow cover, which was recovered from the bedroom of one of the domestic helps, Krishna, who was arrested. But this pillow cover missed the attention of the CBI in the chargesheet filed by them. When the same was highlighted by the defence in front of the court, the case changed at its head 360º. When it was sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Delhi, it had found blood stains on the pillow cover, and, when it was sent to a DNA laboratory in Hyderabad, the only specialised laboratory for DNA tests in the country, it was found that the blood on the pillow cover matched with the DNA of Hemraj, the servant who was killed.
This meant that Hemraj’s blood was found on Krishna’s pillow cover. What better evidence did you need to pursue the leads? Now instead of pursuing the matter, the CBI missed this point completely. When we brought this aspect to the knowledge of the court, the then investigating officer, late A.G.L. Kaul, wrote a letter to the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD), Hyderabad stating “is it possible that this part of the report is based on a typographical error”. He put in that word as a leading question and they responded saying, “yes it is a typo” despite it being a 100-page report. Only that was a typo, everything else was fine. The deliberate attempt to get the Talwars summoned and the dishonesty of the investigation can be seen clearly here.
Who are the real killers of Aarushi, if not the Talwars? Do the Talwars plan to reopen the case to ascertain the real culprits?
Well! That’s the job of the police to find out. We, as individuals, can’t do so. The question will haunt the parents forever as to who killed their daughter. What will Talwars get now even if they plan to reopen the case? After nine long years, the probing team will not find anything. It’s closed doors for the parents, sadly. It would be a futile exercise for them. What I hope now for them is that they find time and peace. I want them to go in their homes, rest, process what has happened and set-up what they had thought they would in remembrance of Aarushi.