The prolonged investigation into the double homicide of Aarushi Talwar and Hemraj Banjade raised numerous questions. The initial inquiry faced criticism for losing crucial evidence, resulting in complications for the case. Initially, Aarushi’s parents were suspected of involvement, but when the investigation was transferred to the CBI, attention shifted to three individuals—Krishna Thadarai, Rajkumar Sharma, and Vijay Mandal. ‘Aarushi- Beyond Reasonable Doubt’ aims to scrutinize the unresolved questions surrounding the case and ascertain whether the trio was responsible for the murders.
Who are Krishna Thadarai, Rajkumar Sharma, and Vijay Mandal?
Fourteen-year-old Aarushi Talwar was murdered in her bedroom on May 16, 2008. Initial suspicions pointed towards the house’s domestic help, 45-year-old Hemraj Banjade. However, this proved inaccurate as his body was also found on the terrace of the Talwar residence in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The Uttar Pradesh state police were the first to reach the crime scene, and reports suggest that the evidence collection was not conducted meticulously. Witnesses and individuals present at the Talwar residence the day after the murder claimed that the crime scene was contaminated, with everyone allowed to move freely throughout the house.
The initial investigation determined that the murder occurred between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. on May 16, 2008. Rajesh Talwar, Aarushi’s father, was initially suspected of committing the crime and was arrested by the police on June 23, 2008. However, on June 31, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took over the case due to its national significance. The CBI conducted a comprehensive examination of the crime scene and discovered bottles of alcohol in Hemraj’s room and other indicators suggesting the presence of additional individuals in his room on the night of the murder.
Rajesh Talwar, Aarushi’s father, claimed that he was being framed for the crime based on the statement of his dental clinic assistant, Krishna Thadarai. According to Rajesh, he had reprimanded Thadarai a few days before the murder, and Rajesh’s driver testified to overhearing some disgruntled words from the latter. Thadarai was taken into custody by the police on June 7 on suspicion, and his residence was searched. During the search, a blood-stained kukri (a type of knife) and a pillow cover were discovered. On June 12, Thadarai willingly agreed to undergo a polygraph test and a Narco Analysis test.
During the Narco Analysis tests, Thadarai provided several conflicting accounts and different versions of how the night unfolded. In some form, he accepted that he had taken part in the double murders. Thadarai implicated two other individuals who were present in the house with him. The first was Rajkumar Sharma, a domestic help working in the house of the Durranis, who were friends of the Talwars. The second was Vijay Mandal, also known as Shambhu, a driver and domestic help for the Talwars’ neighbors. On June 27, Rajkumar was arrested, and on July 11, Vijay Mandal was arrested as well.
The three suspects underwent various psychological and polygraph tests, but the accounts they provided were inconsistent. On July 11, 2008, during a press conference, the CBI announced that the trio were primary suspects in the case, although there was no corroborative evidence against them. Based on the Narco Analysis tests, the CBI theorized that on the night of the murder, the three, along with Hemraj, were drinking in Hemraj’s room. Thadarai, harboring a grudge against Rajesh Talwar, allegedly wanted revenge. They found Aarushi’s room unlocked, entered, and killed her. When Hemraj threatened to reveal the truth, they also killed him.
The case against the three suspects had significant loopholes. Primarily, admissions made during a Narco Analysis test are not admissible in court due to their unreliability and potential inaccuracy. Additionally, the suspects had alibis provided by their employers or family members, placing them away from the crime scene. The security guards in the complex did not report seeing anyone entering or leaving the premises on the night of the murder. Furthermore, no DNA or fingerprints found in the house matched any of the three suspects, and even the blood on the kukri was determined to be non-human.
The CBI failed to discover any digital or cellular interactions between the three individuals on the night of the incident. Additionally, the pillow cover found in Thadarai’s room was later determined to have been recovered from Hemraj’s room. With insufficient evidence, the three suspects were released from police detention in September 2008. In January 2009, the CBI declared its intention to file a chargesheet against them, but due to the lack of evidence, this could not be accomplished.
Where are Krishna Thadarai, Rajkumar Sharma, and Vijay Mandal Now?
Upon his release, Vijay Mandal asserted that he had been coerced and tortured by the CBI to confess to the crime. He maintained that the charges against him, Krishna Thadarai, and Rajkumar Sharma were false, and he even claimed not to know Rajkumar Sharma. Unfortunately, Vijay Mandal faced challenges in finding employment due to his connection to the murder case, leading him to lose his job. As a result, he moved to the Madhubani district of Bihar, where he now assists his family in farming.
After his release, Rajkumar Sharma, who had been working in the Durranis’ house since a young age, was asked to leave his job. Rajkumar returned to Kapilvastu in Nepal, his hometown, and resumed his studies. He completed his school education and pursued a Bachelor’s in Education. In the latest updates, it was reported that he was residing in Kathmandu and employed by a woman who owned several beauty salons in the city. When approached for an interview, he stated that he had no prior acquaintance with Thadarai or Vijay Mandal before their imprisonment together. He emphasized moving past the past and focusing on building a new life.
Krishna Thadarai also faced job loss at the Talwars’ residence and returned to Nepal. According to his wife and brother, he has not been keeping well and exhibits signs of mental impairment compared to his previous state. They attribute this decline in his mental well-being to the alleged torture he endured during police custody. Thadarai’s wife, Sapna, mentioned that he assists her with farming and some household chores, but his capabilities have diminished. She expressed dissatisfaction with the treatment her husband received from the judicial system and holds the belief that Aarushi’s parents, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, were responsible for the double homicide.