Aarushi by Avirook Sen – Book Review


In May 2008, the nation was held in morbid thrall by the Aarushi Hemraj Double murder incident. Aarushi, the teenage girl waiting for her 14th birthday arriving 2 days later, was found brutally murdered in her bedroom. One day later, the body of the prime suspect Hemraj, who was working as domestic help, was discovered on the terrace of the society where Talwars, Aarushi’s family was living. The mystery was bit too deep to uncover the actual delinquents. The Police and later on the CBI investigated the whole case to finally narrow down on the parents, Nupur and Rajesh Talwar as the prime accused. The trail went on for a long time and finally they were found guilty for the double murder and got convicted. But the big question prevailed; did they really commit the crime?

Noida, where the family lived, had become the talking point of the whole country long before the verdict had come and the murders were discovered. Now; after two years after the parents are sentenced to life imprisonment based on circumstantial evidence by Ghaziabad Additional Sessions Judge Shyam Lal, Avirook Sen, journalist and reporter, has come up with a book titled Aarushi covering the trial of the Talwars’ from 2012.

The reporter cum journalist was contacted by the Mumbai Mirror to cover the trial who later interviewed key witnesses and other players including investigators, family and friends after the verdict to record the facts and tell a story that is based on facts and truth. At the outset, Sen makes it clear that the book is about whether there was enough evidence to convict the parents and not about who may have actually killed Aarushi.

The meticulously written book reads like a chilling murder mystery thriller but is actually a journal of horrifying truths. Avirook Sen has recorded every minute detail of the investigation and the trial in the book and has presented how the Talwars were hit with a double whammy. As if the pain of the departed daughter was not enough, the Talwars were also trapped in a sloppy and insensitive investigation by the UP Police and the CBI.

The author is clearly convinced by all aspects that the Talwars are not guilty and have been framed. He believes that they are in jail today not for committing the crime but because of the Ghaziabad district court judge’s decision to believe the fabricated evidence presented by the CBI to prove them guilty who also suppressed the evidence that may have changed the verdict.

Book Review:

Aarushi, the book, is highly engaging and gripping read. You need a lot of courage to go through the contents as this is not an easy read. The courage needed is not because of the writing but because of the content and the events that followed the double murder incident. The mal-handling of the evidence, the role played by the CBI and other facts make this book a difficult read.

Avirook Sen has written the book avoiding any personal bias. The book is based totally on facts and no assumptions. He has managed to make a very convincing case based on the facts and procedures he saw and heard in court during the two-and-a-half year long trial period and his conversations/interviews with nearly everyone involved in it.

The book compels your grey matter to think over several issues including the faulty judiciary system of the country and the situation one may face if on the wrong side of the law. Avirook Sen has done a wonderful job in presenting the facts in the book that leaves you with many unsettled emotions. In a nutshell, Aarushi is a great book with meticulously quoted facts and sources with a thorough investigation.

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