Murder Of 13-Year-Old Aarushi Talwar Is Most Famous Crime In India; Subject Of New HBO Documentary 'Behind Closed Doors'

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Who was Aarushi Talwar? New Details On Death Of 13-Year-Old Girl In HBO's 'Behind Closed Doors'
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Aarushi Talwar was born to two dentists, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, on May 24, 1994. The family of three lived in the 25th Sector of Nodia, India. Her parents worked in the 27th sector and usually worked in the evenings. On May 15, 2008, Aarushi's parents came home to have dinner with their daughter. They ate together and gave her a digital camera, an early birthday present. The trio took some pictures to try it out. It was a lovely evening. She retired to her bedroom around 10:30 that night. Her father stayed up to go over his fluctuating stock portfolio, and her mother went to bed. In the morning, Aarushi Talwar's parents went into her room, and found her alone, throat slit, dead.

What happened to the girl? The police had many theories. The family had many servants on staff, a lot of people coming in and out of their home. But one thing they thought they knew.... It was an inside job. Who was Aarushi Talwar?

1. May 16, 2008

At 6:01 in the morning, Bharti, one of the families housemaids, rang the doorbell. She was usually met at the door by another of the family's servants, Hamraj Banjade, but he was nowhere to be found. She rang the doorbell continuously until finally, Nupur called down to her from the balcony. This was strange for many reasons, because usually there would be a servant there to answer the door, and also because both parents worked nights, and would usually still be asleep when she got there. She entered the home and found both parents in Aarushi's bedroom standing over the body, sobbing. They were shouting: "Look what Hamraj has done!". When the police arrived at 7:15 that morning, they had a suspect.

2. The first suspect

The first suspect in the murder of Aarushi Talwar was a man who worked for the family named Hamraj Banjade. He was supposed to be working in the home, but he was missing in action. As the police were searching for clues they were upset to find that the Talwars had invited upwards of 15 people to the home. They were either in the living room or the master bedroom. They were there to support the Talwars during this time but it was beginning to tamper some of the evidence. The police found 28 fingerprints at the crime scene, but by the time they got there, most were smudged and unusable. 

The police asked the parents to allow them access to the terrace but they were unable to provide a key. On the second day of the investigation the police decided not to wait for a key and broke down the terrace door. When they got outside they found Hamraj Banjade outside. He was dead, his body already decomposing.

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3. Now eyes were on the parents.

After finding the body of Banjade, it came out that Rajesh had asked police not to open the terrace door, following that request by handing the police 25,000 Rs, which is equal to $365. The police found it notable that the Talwars were the people who planted that suspect in their heads and seemed to be pushing that narrative on him.  When interviewed about the night of the murder, both parents said that they hadn't heard anything. They blamed the loud air conditioning unit that dampened the sound.

It was noted that every night, Aarushi's bedroom door would be locked from the outside when her parents went to bed, and the keys would be placed on Nupur's nightstand. Nupur however could not remember whether or not she had locked her daughter's door or not. It should also be noted that when asked the next day, the key to Aarushi's room was in the living room, but the keys to the terrace were nowhere to be found. The police also noted that Aarushi's internet router in her bedroom hadn't been turned off until 3:43 am. As she was believed to be dead around 1 am, it is reasonable for the police to believe that whoever walked in her room to turn off the router, is responsible for her death.

4. Police Mistakes

A few mistakes were made. The biggest police error was that they didn't secure the crime scene. They allowed the media and public into the home of the victim just hours after the body was discovered. This led to a lot of tampered evidence. There was a hidden liquor cabinet discovered behind some wood paneling. Inside they found a bottle of whiskey with blood from both victims on it. The police had failed to collect proper samples from them, so it became unusable evidence. 

It later came out the Rajesh was in contact with his older brother Dinesh, who was in contact with a family friend Sushil Chaudhury, who was the retired deputy superintendent of police. The three of them and one unknown person were all secretly communicating while the autopsy report was being written. It seemed as if they were trying to get any evidence of rape removed from the report.

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5. Police Theories

There were a few theories that the police had, but they all involved Rajesh as the prime suspect. They thought that perhaps Rajesh had been unfaithful to his wife, and was confronted by his daughter, and Banjade was blackmailing Rajesh to keep it quiet from his wife. The main theory however, was that Rajesh walked in to find Banjade raping his young daughter, and killed him our of anger, and killed his daughter to honor her.

The Talwars acted unphased by these claims, stating that the police were just trying to cover up poor police work by framing them.

Either way Rajesh was arrested on May 23rd.

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6. Trial and Error

After going back and forth with all of their different theories, they finally brought both of the Talwars to trial. What was believed to have happened was that on his way to bed, Rajesh heard something coming from his daughter's room, and walked in to find Banjade sexually assaulting his daughter. He grabbed a golf club and struck him on the head, missing him and hitting his daughter. He struck again, this time with success. Both the blow to his daughter's, and Banjade's head were strong enough to leave them near dead. During this, Nupur would have woken up and come into the room. They decided finish killing both their daughter and Banjade. They were said to have then dragged Banjade to the balcony, cleaned up the crime scene and locked the house from the outside. After all of that was finished, Rajesh sat down and had some whiskey.

While the Talwars claimed innocence, they were found guilty and sentenced to life in jail. This was considered harsh as all evidence was circumstantial and unconvincing. The Talwars took the appeal of their case to the Allahabad High Court, who in 2017 overturned the original ruling, citing no witnesses as well as the fact that the case was lacking direct evidence. The Talwars were acquitted of all crimes.

7. What now?

Now the case remains unsolved and 11 years after the murders, HBO is releasing the documentary Behind Closed Doors, to draw attention to the case. The documentary premieres on July 16, 2019. Tune in and see if you can figure out who killed Aarushi Talwar.

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Kaitlin Kaiser is a writer who writes about love, relationships, self-care, spirituality and astrology.