OPINION

Dr. Rajesh Talwar - Still In Custody

July 03, 2008
Shantanu Dutta

Dr. Rajesh Talwar, one of the accused in the now famous NOIDA double murder case was arrested on May 23rd and has since then been in custody. Although he is produced in court every now and then, bail is always denied on the pretext that further questioning is needed or various tests still need to be done. Guilty or not, even before anything is conclusively pinned on him, he has spent a month and more in jail and who knows how long he will have to stay.  

What is worrisome is the manner in which he has been detained for so long a time. Dr. Talwar’s situation is not a tangled web full of complexities and spanning counties and continents like say Charles Sobhraj. Till the day of his death, he was living a very typical normal and middle class life. There is no criminal record that he had from past days that needs looking into.  Dr. Talwar is no hardened criminal who would have learned the art of handling tough interrogation – as police clients go, he would have been among the softest they would have handled, and yet between the NOIDA police and the CBI, his questioning and interrogation seems to be dragging on forever.

We have been fixated on mostly on the human rights violations that the police and other Paramilitary forces supposedly carry out in the form of encounter killings of terrorists and under world dons. These have been even glamorized in ways with Bollywood basing many of their scripts on real life police “encounter specialists” with very little attempts at disguise. Closely related is the phenomenon of torture, custodial deaths and sub human treatment. Largely this happens to people for whom there is little public sympathy or to the anonymous and impoverished delinquent; again some one who has no one to defend them. Dr. Talwar’s case is an interesting one where he has no criminal record, no hardened criminal, not much of a likelihood of him absconding or scooting off to another country. Even so he continues in jail seemingly forever. Even the CBI who are supposedly the wizards in crime investigation are sweating and struggling to question and make sense of the answers of a man like Dr. Talwar who probably had never even seen the inside of  a police lock up till now beats reason.

A recent campaign that originated in Mumbai and is now aiming to spread else where to expose inappropriate practices in the police including corruption was started by I K Chuggani. A retired man himself, he began harnessing the potential, energy and the connections of many other retired people in Mumbai to start a campaign against rogue elements in the police. They have a web site, a very strong Facebook presence as well as the infrastructure of a registered non profit based in Mumbai. It is truly a citizens’ movement and one that is looking not merely for money but active involvement and volunteerism, more actively on their Facebook group. Do look them up and join in.  Looking at the predicament of Dr. Talwar, I for one paused to wonder for a moment as to what my coping mechanism might be if I were in a situation similar to his and sadly enough, I found none.

Shantanu Dutta is a medical doctor by training and a development professional by vocation. His writings mostly deal with change, complexity and conversion and tries to look at a changing world through heaven's eyes.
eXTReMe Tracker
Keep reading for comments on this article and add some feedback of your own!

Comments! Feedback! Speak and be heard!

Comment on this article or leave feedback for the author

#1
Ritu
URL
July 3, 2008
01:46 PM

What you say makes sense Shantanu, but could this be because they are still not anywhere close to a breakthrough and they be apprehensive that if freed, Rajesh Talwar could tamper with evidence they are yet to discover?

When it comes to the Arushi murder case and inappropriate behaviour by the Police, the point that I think needs to be raised is the speculation and implying slander on the character of the child. I am glad organizations raised this issue. But Noida police have got away too easy on that one. One needs far more accountability in that matter. Unless they are 100% sure, they CANNOT make conjectures of this sort. We need to see some action in that respect. Some head rolling. Only then will the gravity of their action dawn upon them and they might understand how much sensitivity is required to approach such issues.

My two bits!

#2
Shantanu Dutta
July 3, 2008
02:01 PM

Sure Dr Talwar could have done every thing and can do every thing. But even if the accusation is true, Dr Talwar is a novice at crime; he is no Charles Sobhraj or Dawood Ibrahim and the CBI is supposed to be a crack unit at investigating crime. To me it looks odd that in the 30 + days that the doctor has been in custody, the CBI hasnt been able to complete its investigation and needs to keep extending the remand again and again. Besides I am sure the doctor does not to be around himself to tamper with evidence; if any evidence needs to be tampered with, his wife could do the job for him. She is free and quite able to do the job

#3
Heemal
July 3, 2008
03:14 PM

Shantanu,
I am amazed at the sorry state of affairs in this case, and what I find even more horrifying is the nonchalance with which the courts keep denying this guy bail. I live in the US and used to sometimes criticize the handling of cases in this country, but looking at Dr. Talwar's case I am just appalled. The CBI doesn't have any proof against Dr. Talwar and yet the court keeps denying him bail. In the US the prosecuters first build a case and make sure that they have a solid case, or else the courts have to go by the law and grant people bail. I didn't have much respect for the police force in India, but had a lot of respect for the Indian Judiciary...Now I've started having doubts...A man is innocent till proven guilty and the law should safeguard the rights of citizens, which it doesn't seem to be doing in this case. I don't know if the man is guilty or not , but the CBI has NO proof, I just don't quite understand how/ why this man can be denied bail.

#4
temporal
URL
July 4, 2008
01:31 PM

What is worrisome is the manner in which he has been detained for so long a time. Dr. Talwar's situation is not a tangled web full of complexities and spanning counties and continents like say Charles Sobhraj. Till the day of his death, he was living a very typical normal and middle class life.

a corpse detained? why?

#5
Prashant
July 5, 2008
01:23 AM

I just hope that we never are in such a situation. I don't know if Dr. Talwar is involved or not but its been a month and both the police and the CBI have not been able to prove anything... it is a citizens fult if the officials can't do their job properly? Look at Vikas Yadav on the other hand, though he has been involved in many murder cases, yet he was not ordered the death penelty by the courts. Law is not for the common people in Inida, you need to know people higher up to be able to save you if at all something went wrong.

#6
M A Samad
July 5, 2008
06:36 AM

Dr. Talwar is a scapegoat for both Noida Police & CBI becuase till now they are not sure who is the killer and who killed Aarushi & Hemraj. According to CBi, Aarushi has been raped before she died. If Dr. Talwar iis involved in the double murder, do you think any father will allow and tolerate to rape his own daughter infront of him. This is unbelievable theory of CBI, Inobody will beleive this theory.

#7
M A Samad
July 5, 2008
06:38 AM

Dr. Talwar is a scapegoat for both Noida Police & CBI becuase till now they are not sure who is the killer and who killed Aarushi & Hemraj. According to CBi, Aarushi has been raped before she died. If Dr. Talwar iis involved in the double murder, do you think any father will allow and tolerate to rape his own daughter infront of him. This is unbelievable theory of CBI, Inobody will beleive this theory.

#8
Anand Swain
July 5, 2008
06:40 AM

Concerns of the middle-class highlighted well. In India, police have always enjoyed unfettered rights to hold someone in custody, without sustainable evidence. That has been their most horrible as well as powerful weapon to terrorise the educated, law- abiding middle -class. Till to-day , there has been no effective uproar against this unfettered right of the police. Indifferent attitude of the Indians is the prime reason of such draconian law being practised without being challenged in the court. These laws were made by the British to rule their subjects with heavy hand. While in Britain, 28 days, is the maximum period, a suspect can be held in custody till the investigation is going on. At the end of 28 days, either he is made an official accused with sustainable evidence or released from the custody. But tragically, the Victorian laws, made by the British rulers with complete disregard to human rights, continue to weild its brutal power in the erstwhile British colony. Police in general use it to their maximum advantage, sadly though. Gandhian type revolution is necessary to bring out the changes. My heart goes out to the Talwar family. I only pray that good sense prevail upon the investigating agencies and the judiciary; the dr. couple are atleast able to mourn thier only daughter's tragic death together, outside the jail

#9
ND Jain
July 5, 2008
06:42 AM

I do not disagree with Anand. But we need to keep in mind that the agency here is C.B.I. an agency with reasonable good track record and who treat accused with more human way than others. I am certain that C.B.I. can not be equated with & accused of being a terrorising police. I also do not agree that all police force in this country behave in this manner(exceptions, of course can not be denied) . I repeat ... change in CRPC is the only solution in these cases. Now the question is ...are we ready and prepared for the change keeping in view the terrorist threats? Or do we need seperate provisions for terrorits and general accused, and if we are , who will classify them....i think it will creat more issues than the present system

Add your comment

(Or ping: http://desicritics.org/tb/7927)

Personal attacks are not allowed. Please read our comment policy.






Remember Name/URL?

Please preview your comment!