They didn’t kill their daughter
TALWARS NOT GUILTY OF AARUSHI AND HEMRAJ MURDERS, RULES ALLAHABAD HC
Lucknow/New Delhi: The Allahabad High Court on Thursday acquitted Rajesh and Nupur Talwar of killing their teen-aged daughter Aarushi and live-in domestic help Hemraj Banjade, four years after the dentist couple was convicted and jailed for life for the 2008 twin murders that transfixed the nation.
The court raised serious doubts over the CBI’s investigation and said the “circumstantial evidences” were not adequate for a conviction and gave the benefit of doubt to the Talwars, who are likely to be released from Ghaziabad’s Dasna jail on Friday.
“Rajesh and Nupur Talwar are happy. They said that they have got justice,” said Dasna Jailor DR Maurya. But the sensational crimes that triggered conspiracy theories, books and even a Bollywood movie are once again a mystery. There was “a strong alternative killer theory”, the court said on Thursday, the latest in a series of twists and turns in two of India’s most infamous murder mysteries.
There was applause in the packed courtroom, when the two-member bench of Justices BK Narayan and AK Mishra read the operative portion of the 26-page order.
“There is no irresistible conclusion that the accused committed the murders... there is no clinching evidence, there is only circumstantial evidence. In case of doubts, one has to favour the accused. The benefit of doubt in this case goes in favour of Talwars,” reports quoted the bench as saying.
Nupur’s father BG Chitnis said he was grateful to the judiciary. “I have seen the couple suffering. It has been really testing. I am emotionally drained,” he said. Rajesh’s sister-in-law Vandana Talwar said she was deeply relieved. “We suffered for 10 years. Grateful to the court.”
CBI counsel Anurag Khanna said that the agency may move the Supreme Court against the High Court verdict after discussions with senior officials.
A Special CBI court in Ghaziabad had sentenced the Talwars to life imprisonment on November 26, 2013 for murder, destroying evidence and misleading investigators.
Thirteen-year-old Aarushi had been found murdered inside her bedroom in Noida’s Jalvayu Vihar near Delhi, with her throat slit and a fatal head injury, on May 16, 2008. The police initially suspected 45-year-old Hemraj for the crime. But his body was found a day later on the terrace of the building, triggering wall-to-wall media coverage.
The UP policed first botched up the investigation and later said the parents killed their own daughter in a rage when they found her in bed with Hemraj. It was also said that the crime scene had been dressed up to mislead investigators.
Then CBI later took over the case. But its two teams — which probed the case at different stages — reached conflicting conclusions. The first one arrested a compounder and two helps, but failed to build a case. In 2010, the second team filed a closure report, which was rejected by the CBI court, resulting in a trial and the couple’s conviction.
On Thursday, the division bench delivered a concurring judgement and debunked the CBI’s submission and suggested there was “a strong alternative killer theory.” This cannot be ruled out that in the intervening night of May 15-16, there were more than four people in the apartment, the court observed. The CBI theory that there could be no outside ingress was also dismissed by the court.
“This is a personal victory for me. I have known the Talwars for a long time now and I believe that I have done all I could to restore the family’s honour,” advocate Tanveer Mir said. “I have also restored the honour of the girl who, in her death, could not defend her honour.”
According to Dhruv Gupta, counsel for the Talwars, the court said that it was a case of “circumstantial evidence” and concluded that the Talwars are not liable to be held guilty.