Indian investigators have not made much of a headway in cracking the sensational twin murder case involving a New Delhi dentist. Even lie detectors and narco-analysis seem to be of little avail.
It is nearly a month since 14-year-old Varushi, daughter of Dr.Rajesh Talwar, was found murdered in her home.
The Talwars first sought to put the blame on domestic help Hemraj. But the dead body of Hemraj was found lying on the terrace of their home a day later.
The needle of suspicion then turned on the dentist himself, police saying it perhaps was a case of honour killing by Rajesh Talwar. He was agitated over an affair between his daughter and the domestic help, it was said.
But there were howls of protest over "character" assassination, and investigation was turned over to the premier federal investigating agency, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
After subjecting Dr.Talwar and his compounder Krishna to lie-detector and narco-analysis, they are at a loss as to what to do next.
Krishna underwent the tests Thursday at Forensic Science Laboratory in the southern Indian city of Bangalore. "Krishna was first examined by a physician. He was then administered sodium pentothal and Dr Malini then posed questions about his work, the Talwars and about Aarushi, incidents on the day of the murder and after it. Krishna was allowed to rest for four hours after the test and overcome the effect of the drug (stupor)," sources said.
But Krishna's narco-analysis failed to provide anything "remarkable" for the investigators as most of his answers were "mujhe nahin pata" and "main nahin janta" (I don't know), reports say.
He, however, provided some clues on Talwar's behaviour pattern prior to the incident, they added. For instance, the dentist would get upset with Hemraj whenever he called him from home.
Investigators believe Krishna might have played a key role in destroying evidence after the murders.
Brain-mapping of the compounder could reveal whether he did anything like that, CBI officials argued. The technique seeks to study the images of those regions of the brain
that are involved in higher cortical functions, including cognitive
processes such as deception and truth telling.
Like in the case of a polygraph
(commonly referred to as a lie detector) test where several physiological responses such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration and skin conductivity are measured while the person is made to answer a barrage of questions.
In the narco-analysis test, the subject's inhibitions are lowered by interfering with his nervous system at the molecular level. In such sleep-like state efforts are made to obtain "probative truth" about the crime. Experts inject a subject with hypnotics like Sodium Pentothal or Sodium Amytal.
This type of test is not always admissible in the law courts. Whether the subject is in proper frame of mind to answer questions is a moot point. Besides studies have shown that it is possible to lie under narco-analysis.
What is claimed to be revealed through narco-analysis is not admissible as evidence in Indian courts, though the tests themselves are permitted.
Obviously the CBI is pulling out all the stops, but nothing seems to work.
Only news channels have reported a jump in their viewership ever since the news of the murder broke, possibly India's biggest crime story after the Nithari serial killing case of 2006.
On May 23, the day Aarushi's father Rajesh Talwar was arrested and police claimed it to be an honour killing, the TRP — the viewership-measuring instrument — of Hindi and English news channels was higher than the IPL cricket match between Mohali and Hyderabad.
Five top Hindi news channels had cumulative TRP of over one point as compared to 0.96 for the IPL match, says aMAP, a company that rates television programmes. Television Audience Measurement (TAM), another company in the business of TRP but with a different methodology, gave the news channels close to nine points as compared to 7.5 for the IPL match.