A day after she deposed as a prosecution witness in a Ghaziabad court where dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar are being tried for the 2008 murder of their teenaged daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj,Bharti who used to work at the Talwar home said the CBI investigating officer never recorded her statement.
This is contrary to the CBI claim that Bharti,the first to turn up at the house on the morning after the killings,made two statements under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure on June 4,2008 and June 11,2008. On Monday,she told the court that the main grill door to the house was not locked from outside on the morning of May 16 when Aarushis body was found. The body of Hemraj was recovered from the terrace of the house a day later.
On Tuesday,lawyers for Talwars wanted to question Bharti on contradictions in her statement in 2008 and the one made in court on Monday. But Bharti told the court that she had never made a statement before the CBI. I have not seen the CBI office. Nobody from the CBI ever came to my house. When I was called to court yesterday,it was the first time I was called for my testimony. She said she had only spoken to TVwaale in 2008.
As the defence counsel pressed on,Bharti said: My husbands name is not Bhim Mandal but Vishnu Mandal. I did not live in Noida for 10 years before the murder,but for just about a year. I told the court for the first time that when I pushed the outer main grill,it did not open. Before this,I had not told any official about this.
The defence counsel said that this brought into question the reliability of the witness. Through the questions,we were testing the veracity of the evidence. When she says that there was no statement to the CBI,either she or the CBI is lying. It calls into question the investigation as well, said Manoj Sisodia,advocate for the Talwars.
Later,CBI lawyers tried to play down the importance of the issue of the statement under the CrPc. CBI senior prosecutor R K Saini said: If the investigating officer says that on the basis of evidence,no case can be made out(closure report) and the court,while appreciating the material on record,finds a case for prosecution,the prosecutor is to examine the witness as per facts and not on the basis of the 161 statement.
The CBI maintained that despite the furore,the witness stood by her statement made to the court on Monday.
Asked by the defence counsel if she had been tutored on what account to give in court,Bharti said: Jo mujhe samjhaya gaya wahi bayaan main yahan de rahi hoon (I am telling the court whatever was explained to me).
Minutes after her statement,the court adjourned for lunch. The defence counsel filed an application protesting that Bharti was being whisked away by the CBI during cross-examination.
Additional sessions judge Shyam Lal then instructed the CBI to bring Bharti back to the court premises.