Not quite, the circumstances are decidedly different. Yet even while still in orbit are myriad contradictions surrounding the killing of a young girl in an eastern satellite of the Capital, another gruesome murder of a child in a western satellite has exploded in controversy.

In both cases, when entrusted with the probes the CBI has some up with findings very different from what the local police had projected: which fuels suspicions of detectives not hesitating to fabricate “cases” only to assuage public passions.

It cannot be forgotten that Aarushi’s parents spent years in prison before the Allahabad High Court overturned the verdict of a Special CBI court because no incontrovertible evidence was presented against them.

In the Ryan school murder, as it is popularly known, the conductor of a school-bus who was arrested by the Gurugram police within hours of the killing of seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur has been behind bars for all of two months: now the CBI finds nothing against him. Yet the poor man’s family will have to seek judicial intervention before securing his release.

And who knows, a few months down the road the people could still be asking “who killed Pradyuman” ~ the very same query that remains unanswered about Aarushi? It would be inappropriate and premature to comment on the still-incomplete CBI probe into the Ryan School affair, and it would be best to pay little heed to “loaded” statements from lawyers; just as it would be prudent to ignore CBI claims of a confession from the Class XI boy of the same school who has now been “apprehended”.

A court of law ~ not the media ~ will make the vital determination. Yet it would be relevant to ask why there are such discrepancies in the forensic evaluation of CCTV footage, how the same “murder weapon” was said to have been used by the bus conductor and the senior student ~ neither the CBI nor the local police have hinted at any connection ~ or how the CBI found “witnesses” that eluded the police.

The Haryana chief minister hasa dded his own twopaisa-bit to the conundrum by giving his cops a clean chit saying their inquiry was still at an initial stage when the CBI was called in. The CBI has added to the rigmarole by declining to take up the Junaid affair saying the Haryana police was competent enough to do so.

Where does that leave the common man? Can he have a modicum of faith in the cops ~ or the CBI for that matter ~ when such contradictory stories are being told? Police reform is long overdue, it is more than a matter of maintaining law and order, tackling terrorism or nailing VIP crooks.

Basic crime-detection is no less a casualty: surely the police leadership would concede that point.