The Talwars were acquitted for the murder of Aarushi and Hemraj. There is something rotten in our investigation system with so many unresolved murders. Sunanda, Gauri, Dabolkar, Kalburgi are classic examples.
The Allahabad High Court on Thursday acquitted Rajesh and Nupur Talwar in the 2008 Aarushi-Hemraj murder case. And with this, the list of murder mysteries is getting longer. There is something rotten in the investigation system. Is it lack of efficiency or political and pressure from influential people?
Coming to the present case, the Allahabad High Court overturned the CBI court verdict in 2013 which sentenced parents of Arushi – Rajesh and Nupur — to life imprisonment for murdering their 14-year-daughter and domestic help Hemraj in their Noida home.
A two-member division bench of the High Court, comprising Justices B K Narayana and A K Mishra, gave the “benefit of doubt” to the Talwars, saying the prosecution’s hypothesis that the parents were the “only” members in the house at the time of the murder could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
Aarushi Talwar was found with her throat slit in her Noida residence on May 17, 2008. The 45-year-old help Hemraj, who was missing, became one of the primary suspects till his body was recovered from the terrace of the house two days later.
In the case of Aarushi murder, the Noida police should be punished for not reaching the spot on time and preserving evidence. The whole area was so botched up that it was next to impossible to gather evidence.
With this case, the murder mystery list is just getting longer and worrisome. It all started with the murder of Jessica Lal on April 30, 1999. She was a model in New Delhi, who was working as a celebrity barmaid at a crowded socialite party. At around 2 am, she was shot dead and dozens of people saw the crime being perpetrated by Siddharth Vashisht, also known as Manu Sharma, the son of Venod Sharma, a wealthy and influential Congress-nominated Member of Parliament from Haryana. However, in the ensuing trial, Manu Sharma and a number of others were acquitted on 21 February, 2006.
But following a hue and cry and intense media and public pressure, the prosecution appealed and the Delhi High Court conducted proceedings on a fast track with daily hearings conducted over 25 days. The High Court overturned the trial court verdict and Manu Sharma was found guilty of having murdered Lal. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on December 20, 2006.
What about the murder of Sunanda Pushkar, the wife of high profile Congress MP Shashi Tharoor? Despite the court tweaking at the ears of the Delhi police and setting deadlines, the police have not been able to crack the case. Evidence was sent to Scotland Yard, but the Delhi Police seems to be running in circles.
Of late, the murder of journalist and publisher Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru seems to be going the same way. She was killed after four unknown assailants fired seven rounds at her in her home in Rajarajeshwari Nagar.
Or the earlier cases of the murder of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, MM Kalburgi and Govind Pansare. All the investigations seem to have reached a dead end. A shame on our skills, rather the lack of it.
Activist Narendra Dabholkar, who was at the forefront of a campaign to persuade the Maharashtra government to pass an anti-superstition and black magic bill, was shot dead by unknown assailants in August 2013. Two attackers fired four rounds at him from point-blank range and then fled on a motorcycle parked nearby.
Similarly, senior Communist leader Govind Pansare was shot and killed in February 2015. Two men on a motorcycle shot five times at Pansare and his wife at close range outside their house. His wife survived but Pansare succumbed to his injuries.
Former vice-chancellor of Hampi University MM Kalburgi was shot dead at his residence by unidentified gunmen in August 2015. He was also shot in the head and chest by two unidentified men who had come on a two-wheeler. He was a renowned Kannada writer, research scholar and rationalist.
Karnataka seems to be taking the cake for unresolved murders. Apart from Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh, there have been no arrests in the suicide of police officer Ganapathy despite him naming the people who pushed him to end his life. The suicide of IAS officers DK Ravi and murder of Anurag Tiwari too have a similar ring of coincidences.
Last year Kerala was rocked by the murder of Jisha, a law student. News television channels ran it almost as a crime thriller. Again, nobody was brought to books.
In many cases, one can get away with murder easily.