Noida – The Crimes that Haunt Us

A New York Times reporter asked me yesterday: “Hey Mr. Sunil, how does it feel living a stones throw away from two of the most notorious crime spots of India?”

You could have guessed my reply: “Shooo!!! Let me sleep.”

Noida – My city

She is the mother of two of the biggest, fattest and ugliest crime babies of India.

#1 Aarushi Murder case a.k.a. ‘Who dunnit?’

Aarushi Talwar! A sweet and pretty young girl aged 14 years is unhappy somewhere but not in this real world. Her ‘right to live’ snatched away by a barbarian on May 16, 2008 who still remains elusive. ‘Who dunnit’ is a question that is yet to be answered.

Nailing the barbarian has remained a shameless episode of goof-ups, not just by the local cops but also the premier investigating agency of the country, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The twists and turns of the case are so very baffling.

Aarushi, the daughter of a dentist couple Rajesh Talwar and Nupur Talwar is found murdered inside her 2 bedroom apartment. I have seen these apartments, definitely not palatial bungalows where any commotion will go unnoticed. Her parents were present on the night of the murder. They were sleeping in their room, apparently unaware of what happened that night because of a noisy air conditioner.

Cops are called the next morning. Parents indict domestic help Hemraj who is allegedly missing from the murder site. Flippant attitude on the part of local police disturbs the scene of crime. Parents show haste in performing the last rites of the child. Hemraj’s body is discovered the next day, right on the terrace of the apartment building where the murder of Aarushi took place. Four housemates-2 dead and 2 living. You still want to know: “who dunnit?”

Local police held a press conference in which they made some startling revelations. It was alleged that Dr. Rajesh Talwar (father of Aarushi) caught Aarushi and Hemraj in an “objectionable but not compromising position’. In a fit of rage, he murdered both his daughter and servant. National outrage followed because of an open character assassination by a high-ranking police officer under full media glare. The case was subsequently transferred to the CBI.

Here arrives the CBI, India’s ace institution when it comes to investigation. What followed next bamboozles me till date.

Rajesh was arrested. His compounder Krishna and two other domestic helps in the vicinity were rounded up, stories concocted and the despicable media frenzy with ‘Crime Reconstruction’ followed.

June, 2008 – In only 25 days after taking over CBI declares it as a ‘blind case’.

After a relentless pursuit of justice and making all the possible suspects undergo Narco test and lie-detection polygraph test, Hemraj/Aarushi murder case closure report is filed by the CBI on December, 2010.

Mother of Rebecca John, attorney for the Talwar couple is found murdered in her home.

I am sick of this horrific tale by now.

I am sick of why the barbarian is still on the loose.

Unfortunately, this double murder is made out to be like a Rubik’s Cube in the hands of an infant that will never be solved.

Latest on Aarushi-Hemraj murder case: Honourable Supreme Court has cleared the deck for trial of the parents to commence. Another glimmer of hope: It appears the answer to ‘who dunnit’ looks in sight?

#2 Nithari Killings

There is an old turn of phrase – “skeleton in the closet”

Year 2007: Skeletons of innocent children were not tumbling out of any closet but from the drains of a village called ‘Nithari’ in Noida.

It all began with an alarming rise of missing children cases reported in a span of two years (2005-2006). Mounting pressure from the locals resulted in the snail-paced machinery finally waking up from their slumber in October, 2006.

Police started investigating the missing case of a girl named ‘Payal’ when they stumbled upon perhaps the most damning evidence in the case. Payal’s cellphone was still in use. Cops began to knit-together the jigsaw and finally traced all evidence to house number D-5.  Number D5 that soon turned into a circus for many residents of Noida and neighbouring cities for months to come. Everyone wanted to visit this ‘landmark’ as if it was a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Adding insult to injury, insensibilities rose to an all-new level when pictures on Orkut and Facebook with captions like ~ ‘Me standing outside D5’ started appearing. Oh lord!! Give me a break.

Back with the case: Domestic help Surinder Koli working in the house was apprehended. Owner of the house Moninder Singh Pandher summoned. The plot finally revealed:

19 skulls found, 12 deaths unsolved, 31 casualties in total.

Owner of the house Moninder, it turns out was a womanizer. He used to occasionally visit the house and use it primarily to satisfy his thirst for lust. Surinder, the protagonist of this evil plot used to have a field day once his master was away. He would allure young children to D-5, kill them, perform sex with the corpse (necrophilia), brutally dismember the body into pieces and dispose the remains in a nearby drain. A psychopath, Surinder was also alleged to be a cannibal. 

Latest on Nithari Killings: Surinder is serving a death sentence and waiting for the gallows. Moninder was acquitted in one case but will undergo trial in 5 remaining cases in which he is a co-accused.

Ending note: The calm cosmopolitan city of Noida became the buzz of India with these two events. I am wondering what is boiling in the city next? When will we hit the headlines again and for all the wrong reasons? I see it as nothing but slackness on the part of ‘the machinery’. Naysayers and people with vested interests will argue that crime happens even under the jurisdiction of nimble forces like the fabled Scotland Yard and FBI. I would put forth my humble arguments around the ‘slackness in investigation’ and not the ‘actual crime’ that can never be prevented.

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