Is narco-analysis test only for poor & illiterate?

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: The murder of Aarushi Talwar and the man-servant in the Talwar household, Hemaraj, has been an extraordinary episode in Indian criminal history.

A month and ten days after the two were found dead in Noida, the case is nowhere near being cracked. And this, after a police officer claimed that the case would be solved in 24 hours.

What the nation is seeing, night and day, is the true state of the criminal-justice system.

Policemen and CBI officers bumbling around like buffoons. Abysmal expertise in evidence collection or protection. Bogus theories of motive being merrily floated around. Private SMSes, emails being randomly leaked and planted to besmirch perpetrators and victims. And so on.

And a media that has completely gone haywire.

First Hemraj himself was suspected, then found dead. Then the needle pointed at “doctor or butcher”. Soon the dentist-father of 14-year-old Aarushi, Rajesh Talwar, was arrested. Then it swung in the direction of the other servant, Vishnu Sharma. The dentist’s compounder Krishna was picked up. Krishna said Rajkumar, the domestic help of the Talwars’ partner Anita Durrani, did it. Then the name of Shambhu was thrown into the ring.

The murder was said to be done with a surgical tool, then with a khukri. It was said to be an “honour killing”. The father was said to have done it to hide his extramarital affairs. The father was said to be enraged at his daughter’s proximity with the servant.

Etcetera.

If this is how a crime is investigated in a satellite town that is a stone’s throw from the “happening” capital of a rising, shining, incredible nation, what must be the true state of victims in a poor, illiterate, god-forsaken village or town, away from the media glare?

However, if there is one issue in the Aarushi-Hemaraj case that still sticks out after all these days and from this distance, it is the selective application of the narco-analysis test to ferret out the truth.

Why, for instance, has the “truth serum” been injected on the compounder Krishna alias Kishan, and not on Rajesh Talwar or his dentist-wife, Nupur Talwar?

Obviously, it is the investigating agency’s prerogative on what tests and methods of interrogation it wants to employ on the accused.

Still, what does it suggest that the father (arrested on May 23) on whom so much of the attention was focused in the initial days should only be put to lie detector tests, whereas the compounder (arrested on June 13) is injected with the truth serum almost immediately after being picked up?

Even today, while successfully opposing his bail plea, the CBI has said that Rajesh Talwar is not off the hook in the “blind murder case”, and indeed that there is “reasonable doubt” to believe that the father was involved in the murders.

Why, again, has Aarushi’s mother Nupur been put to two lie detector tests, while Krishna has been put through lie detector tests, psychological tests, and narco-analysis?

As it is, narco-analysis tests have been under the scanner of human rights groups. The evidence obtained through narco-analysis tests not admissible in a court of law. Nevertheless, what does the selective administration of the truth serum in the Aarushi-Hemraj murder case imply?

That lie detector tests are for one kind of people, and narco-analysis for another?