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Friday , November 29, 2013

Aarushi- Hemraj Verdict later: What I know and what I don't

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It has been almost a week since the verdict in Aarushi-Hemraj double murder case. As expected public opinion is split down the middle with a sizeable section opining that Justice hasn't been done. Even the much awaited judgment of Judge S Lal does nothing to put to rest all doubts. His verbose writing style, new interpretation of section 106-evidence act and dealing with the testimony of witnesses leaves much to be desired. But yet, I can't bring myself to agree with people who are giving the now convicted parents a clean chit. My limited knowledge of legal reportage tells me that to conclusively prove a crime as heinous as murder you need to prove: 1) Motive 2) Murder weapon 3) Chain of criminal conspiracy On murder weapon, the two possibilities were Khukri or Golf club. I have argued later in the article, why I think the 'servant's killed'....

Saturday , November 23, 2013

Aarushi-Hemraj: Will we ever know?

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May 16th, 2008: I remember the date as if it was yesterday. I was the morning reporter that day and so at around 7 am when I got a call of a murder in Noida, my first reaction was, "oh god! What an awful start to the day!" I used to cover courts at that point and so Saturday, when courts were usually shut, was assumed to be a day of less work. But the murder was next door from my Noida office so grudgingly I reached the spot. This was just a few days after the Jaipur blast where more than 50 people have died in serial bombings. Most crime reporters were out of town covering the terror attack so only a handful of us reached L block Jalvayu Vihar in Noida, the scene of crime. In hindsight, this was a rarity for the case for very soon every....

Monday , June 03, 2013

Chhattisgarh: writing on the walls

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The editor in-chief of 'Indian Express', Shekhar Gupta, has often argued that the pulse of the voters in an election season can be gauged by the writing on the walls. Chhattisgarh, due to go to polls later this year, was gearing up for a tough Congress-BJP fight if the slogans on the wall are anything to go by. In the interiors of Sukhma, Dantewada and Kanker, it's not the anti-government or anti-democracy Maoist slogans that greet you. Instead, Nand Kumar Patel, Mahendra Karma and Rahul Gandhi give a tough fight to Raman Singh when it comes to competing for wall space. If Vikas Yatra banners are pasted on one house, the very next wall will declare the need for change and hence the Parivartan Yatra. If Raman Singh promises monetary assistance for your daughter's wedding, the Congress party's 'haath' takes up the....

Saturday , December 15, 2012

Mr Home Minister, why on earth did you invite Mr Malik?

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Rehman Malik, interior minister of Pakistan, landed in Delhi, came out of the airport, folded his hands to do a namaste and announced he was carrying the message of peace from every Pakistani for every Indian. But in less than 10 minutes, he had snatched away the peace of mind of not just the Kalia family but billions of Indians. When asked if Pakistan is willing to apologise for mutilating Captain Saurabh Kalia's body just before the Kargil War broke out, Malik made all the right noises, "I would love to meet Shri Kalia's father, hold his hand, there should be no hesitation in saying sorry to a man who lost his son." And then came the twist in the tale, "I don't know about this case. In a war, bullet doesn't see who is who." And then the worst as far as India is concerned. "I don't know if....

Monday , May 28, 2012

Reporter's diary: Pakistan International Airlines or Please Inform Allah?

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PIA, the carrier that connects India with Pakistan, is often referred to, in jest, as the short form of 'please inform Allah' by domestic flyers. After my recent trip, I know why! The PIA flight from Delhi to Lahore got delayed by hours. The media team missed the onward connection to Islamabad and had to spend the night in the capital of Pakistani Punjab even though they did not have the visa to be there. The delay also meant that they missed the first day of the Indo-Pak home secretary level talks, the very purpose of their visit. Thankfully, I wasn't on that flight. But I was not so lucky on my way back. My flight from Islamabad to Lahore was cancelled. And yes, we missed our Lahore-Delhi flight. The adventure that followed perhaps is a tale worthy of narrating to my grandchildren and possibly my....

Friday , April 13, 2012

'Talwar' ki Dhaar

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A senior officer of CBI actually felt the 'dhar' of being the neighbour of the 'famous' Talwars. The officer was locked out of her house as media teams surrounded the Azad Apartment residence of Dr Rajesh and Dr Nupur Talwar on Wednesday evening. A CBI team came looking for Nupur and this officer who is quite friendly with the press couldn't go home, for the fear of being besieged by the waiting media. The team went about their job wearing the now famous "CBI Jacket'. Now we had never seen a CBI team especially one that was going to arrest a fugitive, sport such identification. In fact for the very reason perhaps CBI officials are plain clothed and not uniformed. The team itself, we are told, wasn't very comfortable wearing the blue half jacket with CBI written in bold on it, but the team's boss thought they would look....

Tuesday , December 20, 2011

Witness protection or decimation?

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How often have you seen a road accident...or an eve teasing incident or any crime in your surrounding? How often have you taken the pain to go to police about it? Most of us stay away, for who will take the pain of becoming a witness and going to court? Who will take leave from work and run after lawyers day in and day out? Imagine then a man who not only risked exposing a 1.76 crore rupees (CAG estimate subject to debate) scam but who is also facing the ignominy of being a witness! In the 2G court room these days, Aseervatham Achary is in the witness box. Surrounded by at least 17 lawyers representing 17 accussed. Facing the greatest criminal law brains Majid Memon and Ram Jethmalani! Jeered, mocked at by the defence camp trying to break his confidence..Achary so far has....

Tuesday , May 24, 2011

2G: Wives shop while husbands are in jail

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'Ab to these guys have gone in, let's go have coffee..and then we can shop at Saket Select City Walk' You would notice nothing out of place in this conversation till you're told that the protagonists in this conversation are wives of the 2G scam accused, and when they say 'have gone in', they are referring to the corporate executives and their husbands going inside the Patiala House Court lock-up to be ferried to Tihar Jail. The world at large may think that the CBI and the judicial system is finally bringing to book the 2G accused but the mood in the court room throws up a slightly different picture. All family members arrive in court every day. It's their chance to spend some time with their husbands/fathers etc outside the restrictions of the jail. But for two Mumbai based corporate executives the court proceeding seem....

Tuesday , August 03, 2010

IGI - T3 a thing of beauty! And hopefully a joy forever

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Morning newspapers had screamed how the brand new T3 was going through its fair share of hiccups. Photos splashed across front pages warned me... not enough chairs in yet, so passengers are sprawled across the floor. So I was both excited and apprehensive when a morning beep on my cell phone announced that my flight to Nepal will now take off from terminal 3 and not 2. The check in to the swanky glass building was a breeze and one look at the duty free section and I was ready to make good use of the 2 hours I had before my flight took off...But...BUT... that would have to wait, I was reminded by my camera person...We had to "declare" the camera and the other paraphernalia at the customs first-except that no one knew where the new customs counter was! Not the CISF guys on duty, not the airline....

Monday , October 19, 2009

From the land of the Mundas

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From the moment you step into Jharkahnd's capital Ranchi..the Munda aura surrounds you....the airport is called Birsa Munda airport...you see Birsa's statue at every 'chowk' and most government schools...universities are named after him....but these days its another Munda who is dominating the mindspace of the people around Ranchi...Kundan pahan...a 28-yea-old Munda from the same region where Birsa lived a century ago....Born in a peasant family in Jharkhand's Tamad block, around 70 kilometres from Ranchi, Kundan leads the CPI (Maoists) Platoon 39, a guerrilla squad that carries out killings, abduction, loot and extortion. Birsa a 25-year-old died in 1900 in a Ranchi jail..after waging a single handed war against the Britishers for their agricultural exploitation of the tribals in the Chaibasa..palamu..and Ranchi region....Kundan Pahan also claims to be waging a war against exploitation..this time by the Indian government....but his popular perception is no where even close to the reverence that....


More about Arunima

Arunima, covers the ministry of home affairs, the central bureau of investigations and all other investigating agencies as her beat. A founder member of the IBN network, she started with CNN-IBN 5 years back as their crime and legal correspondent. From Jessica Lall to Nitish Katara to Priyadarshini mattoo, she has covered every case from scratch in the delhi courts and is often jokingly referred to as the 'justice correspondent' by her colleagues. She started her career with eminent journalist Vinod Dua's news magazine Parakh and since then have covered several important stories like the Delhi bomb blasts of 2005 at Paharganj and Sarojini Nagar, the Jama Masjid blasts of 2006, the Anti-Reservation Stir lead by youth for equality, the droughts at Bundelkhand and recently the beheading of Jharkhand Police Inspector Francis Induvar.


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