EP. 01 | RUMOURS
Imagine if your life were to suddenly come under the scrutiny of strangers, fabricated with rumours and murmurs of dark family secrets. If every photograph, family vacation and neighbourly interaction were to become the subject of salacious gossip, echoed unthinkingly by the news.
The early days after the murders reveal how criminal investigation can be coloured by petty gossip. The Talwars’ reputation came under attack with an onslaught of titillating stories of adultery and casual sex flooding TV channels, the front pages of every newspaper, and oozing into living room chatter. This episode looks at what these venomous rumours were, where they came from, and how they tainted the investigation and trial.
EP. 02 | THE OTHERS
The Indian middle class has an invisible group of people wandering in and out of their homes: domestic help who work for us and often live with us, about whom we know little, but who are the first to be accused when something is amiss. When Aarushi was found dead, suspicion naturally turned to the Talwars’ missing helper, Hemraj. And when Hemraj’s body was discovered on the terrace, the case began to show symptoms of a ‘closed door mystery’.
Were there more than four people present in the house on the night of the murders? Was evidence of this ignored by investigators? And – if the Talwars are innocent — is it still possible to find out who killed Hemraj and Aarushi Talwar?
EP. 03 | TAFTEESH
Crime novels and films teach us that the answer to any murder lies in the smaller clues, in details overlooked by the murderer. We think of crime-scenes as rich maps that lead us to the culprit. But what happens when this map is misread by the first responders on the scene?
The Talwar home was in covered in traces left by the culprits: fingerprints on a whiskey bottle, a shoe print, and a bloody hand-print on the terrace wall: a wealth of information either overlooked, brushed aside, or botched by the police.
Was this a straightforward case twisted by the blunders of the first investigation team?
EP. 04 | CBI TEAM 1
As Indians our default reaction to the police is a sense of distrust, a belief that they are corrupt and inefficient. We place all our trust in the Central Bureau of Investigation, believing that they have the resources and commitment to get to the bottom of a mystery. The Talwars did too.
But what happens when the Noida double murders case is transferred from the UP police to the CBI tells a different story. How transparent is our top investigative agency? If they represent us, the people, the taxpayers, how accountable are they? Who are they accountable to?
And if the CBI’s first team couldn’t find any evidence against Rajesh Talwar, why is he still behind bars?
EP. 05 | CBI TEAM 2
When the new CBI director wants to change the public image of the agency, he puts a new officer in charge of the Noida murders investigation: the now late A.G.L Kaul. Kaul has to prove himself around the office by solving a high-profile crime at any cost. Under Kaul, saucy rumours start to reappear in the media, witness testimonies are suddenly and mysteriously adorned with new details, and an unlucky witness is left with a shattered eardrum.
So what do Kaul’s tactics from previous cases bring to the investigation? Is this a new way forward for the investigation, or is this simply a return to the UP police’s stance?
And what’s Rajesh’s golf hobby got to do with the murders?
EP. 06 | THE SCOOP
It goes without saying that the news industry in 2016 is little more than a theatre of the spectacular, of live shouting matches and sensational headlines. In 2008, amid the din and excitement of the IPL, the Noida double murders became the very first opportunity for the media to produce a tale that was part news, part torrid tabloid affair, and 100% entertainment. Tonight at 9, night after night.
Nupur Talwar inadvertently joins the media circus when she agrees to be interviewed on national television just days after Aarushi’s daughter: an interview that haunts the Talwars forever because of her onscreen stoicism.
But while all cameras are turned towards the Talwars, searching for bites and bytes of sultry rumours, how is the investigation shaping up away from the limelight? And why do the Talwars start to receive emails from beyond the dead?
EP. 07 | IN COURT
After the interference of a CBI magistrate, the CBI closure report of the investigation is transformed into a chargesheet that summons the Talwars to Ghaziabad District Court.
Very early in court proceedings it becomes clear that the odds are stacked against the Talwars. From a tug of war over crime-scene evidence, to witness coaching and a judgment ridden with warped logic and archaic language, the court case has every sign of a legal system eager to condemn. Who was the judge, and why was he letting this happen on his watch? And who is trying to meddle with the evidence found in the Talwar flat?
EP. 08 | TODAY
Eight years have passed since the bodies were discovered. The Talwars have been pronounced guilty in the Ghaziabad verdict and sent to Dasna jail. Justice has, formally, been served.
The conviction of the Talwars despite gaping holes in the prosecution’s theory tells of a disturbing pattern: that through the rocky course of events that have unfolded since the morning of May 16 2008, the Talwars have been guilty until proven innocent. Their trial is ridden with speculation, rumour, and error.
Is this tale really an anomaly to the usual smooth functioning of our police, investigative and legal systems? Can we be certain that another Aarushi case will never happen again?