Nine years ago, the cruel killing of a young girl Arushi shook the world which is still fresh in our memories. The accused of murdering her were none else but her parents according to the investigating agency CBI. The CBI is supposed to be the best investigation agency in the country and it left no stone unturned to prove her parents Dr. Rajesh Talwar and Smt. Nupur Talwar as guilty of murdering their daughter.
This murder case was being reported by media on day- to- day basis which occupied the headlines of the newspapers & the primetime of Electronic media which not only influenced the working of the police but touched the sentiments and senses of the Judicial Authorities. The media, a powerful instrument leading to form the opinion of the people also influenced the investigation and muffled the voice of Talwars. I am not here to discuss the case but the vital issue related to the judicial system, responsibility of media, duty of police, pain, agony and sufferings of innocent accused and the loop holes, failure of the system as a whole.
Right from the day of arrest of Talwars, the police did not find any direct evidences against them nor any other strong link leading to their involvement in the killing of Arushi. When media started showing the case on day today basis by adding their own ideas and corroborating their views, the people got influenced and started asking for justice to Arushi. They then wanted to see the Talwars hanged.
Further, the T.V. channel persons and the reporters of newspapers started showing the ideas, opinions, voices of the friends and neighbours of Talwars who factually did not know anything and the media also presented the stories in the manner condemning Talwars as the real culprits.
When police couldn’t reach to any conclusion even after the deep investigation, the case was handed over to C.B.I. though this was not a very deserving case for the CBI probe as it was not of mass killing or of any serial killer, terrorism and not pertained to any disturbance to National security.
Even after going into every minute detail, the C.B.I. couldn’t gather sufficient evidences against anybody to prosecute. The prestige of the most specialized, powerful police agency, known for achieving tasks was at the stake. It was difficult for CBI to say that it couldn’t solve the murder mystery; therefore somebody was to be caught. Unfortunately Talwars came into their net.
Year and year passed on, CBI remained busy with its work. The reputed doctors of the society who did not have any past record of the crime could not even get the bail since CBI opposed it tooth and nail. Even the regular criminals succeed to get the bail within normal course.
Everytime Talwars bail application was rejected as if after coming out of the jail they are going to kill more people or will destroy the evidences even though all the evidences were already in possession of the CBI. After hearing all the parties and going into each and every evidence on record and in the light of Indian Penal Code, the Allahabad High Court found that Talwars are innocent. If the CBI could not prove anybody guilty and lost the case or its prestige was dented for prosecuting the innocent Talwars, it should introspect rather than thinking to go to the Supreme Court in appeal particularly when High Court did not find any truth in the evidences submitted by CBI against Talwars, there was no propriety for the appeal. If CBI, files an appeal and the Supreme Court also endorse the views of High Court declaring Talwars as innocent, the whole expenditure of the case should be recovered from the concerned officers for wasting the courts time and for torturing the innocent couple since Talwars are not criminals and didn’t have any such past record.
The question arises that those who are responsible to keep a respected couple in jail for nine years without any direct evidences should go escot free or must get some punishment. The culprits are caught everyday and accuted by the courts in the absence of proper evidences. After losing in the High Court it looks meaningless for the CBI to go to appeal in Supreme Court. This was not the matter of a professional killer or National Security, etc. Any appeal looks like a crime in this particular case and an excess exhibition of Police Power.
But, this case has raised many important questions for the Civil Society, Government and the courts. Whether all type of criminals be kept in the same category and under the same treatment in the jail. The criminals, facing more than two trials and are allegedly dangerous to the Society or are capable to destroy the evidences being anti social elements or the professional killers, have to be categorised from those who have just been prosecuted in one case and have a clean record in the past otherwise a great injustice would continue with the innocent people of the society.
It is beyond to understand why the Talwars were not granted bail in spite of the fact that there was no danger to anybody from them. If the High Court found the Talwars as innocent, the CBI should not consider it as its defeat and must honour the judgement. It should not waste its time in appeal.If still CBI go to appeal in Supreme Court and looses there too then the recovery of all expenses be made from the salary of concerned officers and also of 9 years of agony and sufferings of innocent Talwars.
The High Court should also introspect in its functioning as why the Talwars afer being declared innocent by the court were kept illegaly in jail for two more days. When Police station, railways, hospitals and other important offices are working on holidays why not the jail also. What was the problem with jail authorities to release Dr. Talwar and his wife on the day of judgement. It was better for the court also to issue orders to release them right from the court premises itself after completing all the formalities with the jail authorities.
By Dr.Vijay Khaira