Tal­wars ac­quit­ted of Aarushi’s mur­der

Al­la­habad HC gives den­tist cou­ple ben­e­fit of doubt in twin killings

Financial Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - RA­JEN­DRA GUPTA Al­la­habad

THE Al­la­habad High Court on Thurs­day ac­quit­ted Nupur and Ra­jesh Tal­war in the 2008 mur­der of their teenage daugh­ter Aarushi and do­mes­tic help Hem­raj, say­ing that nei­ther the cir­cum­stances nor the ev­i­dence was enough to hold them guilty.

The ver­dict ends, at least for now, the nineyear or­deal of the Noida cou­ple who were sen­tenced to life by a Ghazi­abad CBI court on Novem­ber 28, 2013 for the dou­ble mur­der that not only trans­fixed but also shook the na­tion with its ele­ment of fil­i­cide.

The Tal­wars, who are both den­tists, are ex­pected to be freed on Thurs­day from Ghazi­abad’s Dasna jail after the com­ple­tion of pa­per­work. The CBI did not im­me­di­ately say if it would ap­peal the High Court ver­dict. It said it would study the or­der and de­cide the fu­ture course of ac­tion. Its coun­sel Anurag Khanna how­ever, in­di­cated that the in­ves­ti­gat­ing agency may ap­peal to the Supreme Court against the ver­dict.

“I am grate­ful to the ju­di­ciary for the ver­dict,” said BG Chit­nis, Nupur Tal­war’s fa­ther and a for­mer Group Cap­tain in the Indian Air Force. “They have really suf­fered. They are emo­tion­ally drained. At my age it was very try­ing to see my daugh­ter be­hind bars,” he told re­porters.

THE Al­la­habad High Court on Thurs­day ac­quit­ted Nupur and Ra­jesh Tal­war in the 2008 mur­der of their teenage daugh­ter Aarushi and do­mes­tic help Hem­raj, say­ing that nei­ther the cir­cum­stances nor the ev­i­dence was enough to hold them guilty.

The ver­dict ends, at least for now, the nine-year or­deal of the Noida cou­ple who were sen­tenced to life by a Ghazi­abad CBI court on Novem­ber 28, 2013 for the dou­ble mur­der that not only trans­fixed but also shook the na­tion with its ele­ment of fil­i­cide.

The Tal­wars, who are both den­tists, are ex­pected to be freed on Fri­day from Ghazi­abad’s Dasna jail after the com­ple­tion of pa­per­work. The CBI did not im­me­di­ately say if it would ap­peal the High Court ver­dict. It said it would study the or­der and de­cide the fu­ture course of ac­tion. Its coun­sel Anurag Khanna how­ever, in­di­cated that the in­ves­ti­gat­ing agency may ap­peal to the Supreme Court against the ver­dict.

“I am grate­ful to the ju­di­ciary for the ver­dict,” said BG Chit­nis, Nupur Tal­war’s fa­ther and a for­mer Group Cap­tain in the Indian Air Force. “They have really suf­fered. They are emo­tion­ally drained. At my age it was very try­ing to see my daugh­ter be­hind bars,” he told re­porters.

“It has been an ex­haust­ing jour­ney for us. We are really grate­ful to the High Court for hav­ing aquit­ted and end­ing the in­jus­tice meted out to them,” said Van­dana Tal­war, an aunt of Aarushi who was 14 when she was killed.

A division bench com­pris­ing jus­tices BK Narayana and AK Mishra up­held the Tal­wars’ ap­peal against the CBI court ver­dict, hold­ing that the cir­cum­stances of the case and the ev­i­dence on record did not es­tab­lished a chain show­ing their in­volve­ment in the mur­ders of Aarushi and Hem­raj. Pro­nounc­ing the ver­dict in a packed court room, the bench said that it is a fit case where ben­e­fit of doubt can be given to the ap­pel­lants and set aside the judge­ment of the CBI court con­vict­ing the Tal­wars who were ar­rested in May 2008.

The CBI court had re­lied on cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence to con­vict the cou­ple in the ab­sence of any mo­tive. In his judge­ment, Ad­di­tional Ses­sions Judge Shyam Lal has cited judge­ments of the Supreme Court to say that the mere fact that the prose­cu­tion had failed to “trans­late that men­tal dis­po­si­tion of the ac­cused into ev­i­dence does not mean that no such men­tal con­di­tion ex­isted in the mind of the as­sailant.”

He said, “In a case of cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence mo­tive does not have ex­treme sig­nif­i­cance. In the ab­sence of mo­tive, the con­vic­tion based on cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence can in prin­ci­ple me made.”

Dad­hi­ram Mau­rya, jailor of the Dasna prison where the Tal­wars are lodged, said the cou­ple felt they have got jus­tice. "After hav­ing break­fast they were pray­ing. Their sched­ule was nor­mal. She said they got jus­tice to­day and had tears of joy. Any per­son after spend­ing this amount of jail (time) will feel happy to get free­dom. So they were happy after they were told about the news,” he said.

Lawyer Re­becca John, who was part of Tal­wars’ le­gal team, said she was re­lieved by the judge­ment. She claimed the whole case was based on “in­nu­en­dos” and would “not have car­ried through”. John hoped that the Tal­wars, who have been in me­dia spot­light for over nine years, will be al­lowed pri­vacy after their re­lease from the jail.

Aarushi was found dead in­side her room in the Tal­wars’ Noida res­i­dence with her throat slit in May 2008. The sus­pi­cion ini­tially fell on 45-year-old Hem­raj, who at the time was miss­ing. But his body was re­cov­ered from the ter­race of the house a day later. As the Ut­tar Pradesh Po­lice drew flak over shoddy in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the case which was mak­ing na­tional head­lines, the then chief min­is­ter Mayawati rec­om­mended a probe by the Cen­tral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The court has not said they are in­no­cent, it has said it is giv­ing them the ben­e­fit of the doubt. — Ex-CBI di­rec­tor AP Singh un­der whom the agency told court that it be­lieved Ra­jesh Tal­war killed Aarushi but could not prove it and wanted to close the case Don’t know who killed #Arushi & will prob­a­bly never know but what I do know is the po­lice made a to­tal dogs break­fast of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion (sic). The law pre­sumes in­no­cence un­til guilt is es­tab­lished be­yond rea­son­able doubt. In­no­cent till proven guilty is bedrock of crim­i­nal law. —NC leader Omar Ab­dul­lah

Nupur and Ra­jesh Tal­war at a memo­rial meet­ing for Aarushi in Delhi; Hem­raj (in­set)

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