AARUSHI WAS AWAKE WHEN HER MOTHER ENTERED THE ROOM
May 15th, 2008 was a bright, booming summer day. Nupur Talwar worked at her Delhi clinic from 9 am to 1 pm, picked up Aarushi from school at 2 pm, had lunch with Aarushi and sister-in-law Vandana Talwar at home, and worked at Fortis Hospital in Noida from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Rajesh Talwar took classes at the ITS Dental College in Greater Noida from 8:45 am to 3:30 pm and then attended patients in his Delhi clinic till 8:30 pm.
Krishna Thadarai was an assistant in Rajesh’s Noida clinic. Yam Prasad Banjade, aka Hemraj, was the Talwars’ 45- year-old domestic servant at home who’d also help at the clinic from time to time. Some reports say Hemraj had previously worked in Mauritius for a few years and had driven an auto rickshaw in Delhi. He was a grandfather whose family was in Nepal. He lived in a room inside the Talwars’ flat, just off the main door.
Raj Kumar was a domestic servant with Drs Praful and Anita Durrani, close friends of the Talwars who lived nearby. Raj Kumar and Hemraj were friends. All three — Hemraj, Krishna and Raj Kumar — had been recruited through the Talwars’ previous domestic help, Vishnu. All four were of Nepali origin.
As per the CBI, Rajesh and Anita, two days before the murders Rajesh had publicly scolded his clinic assistant Krishna for making an incorrect dental cast, which had infuriated Krishna. Rajesh’s driver Umesh Sharma adds that later he heard Krishna and Hemraj exclaiming loudly in Nepali in the car. When Umesh enquired, Krishna told him that he’d deal with Rajesh.
On the night of the 15th, Umesh dropped Rajesh at the house and went to park the car at Nupur’s parents’ house nearby. When he returned to the Talwars’ house to deposit the car keys, he saw Nupur and Aarushi near the dining table and saw Rajesh coming out of his bedroom. Umesh says the clothes Rajesh was wearing the morning after the murders were the same as the ones he saw him wearing the previous evening when he came to return the keys. This opens up a line of enquiry. If Rajesh had committed the murders under sudden provocation, as the CBI says, where was the blood of both victims on his clothes the next morning?
If the Talwars had tampered with the crime scene, why didn’t they hide the whiskey bottle with the prints?
When he arrived home on the night of the 15th, Rajesh noticed that the digital camera he’d ordered for Aarushi’s upcoming birthday had arrived. Hemraj cooked dinner for everyone. After dinner, Nupur insisted they give Aarushi the camera right away, and so the indulgent parents surprised her with the early gift. Aarushi took several photos in her excitement, after which the parents retired to their bedroom. The photos Aarushi took of herself and her parents with her new camera were at 10:10 pm. At around 11 pm, Rajesh requested Nupur to switch on the internet router in Aarushi’s room so he could access the internet. Aarushi was awake when her mother entered her room. She was reading Chetan Bhagat’s The 3 Mistakes of My Life and told her mother she loved it. (Much later, after they moved house, Nupur discovered the book and found some bloodstains in it. The Talwars submitted it to the CBI). After switching on the internet router, Nupur returned to her bedroom and went to sleep, while Rajesh worked some more on his laptop and went to sleep around midnight.
The CBI says Aarushi’s friend Anmol rang the Talwar landline around midnight to speak with his friend, but no one picked up. The Talwars say Aarushi would sometimes turn off the ringer on the landline at night because her friends would call late, and perhaps she did this on the 15th too. Insinuations have been made out of this failure to pick up the call. This is the kind of minor, illogical detail of family life that can be turned into damning evidence in the right hands.