The talwars are free, for now
The case may go to the Supreme Court before a final decision
It is yet another twist in one of the most sensational murder cases of recent times - the Aarushi Talwar-Hemraj double murder case. Dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar were on Thursday cleared by the Allahabad High Court of the charges of murdering their 14-year-old daughter and domestic help Hemraj in 2008. In the absence of any clinching evidence, the court gave them the benefit of doubt. The Talwar couple who were convicted by a trial court in 2013 have always maintained that they have no role in the double murder of their daughter and domestic help.
This case has from day one not only captured the imagination of the people but also shaken the conscious of the nation, because here was a case where parents were accused of murdering their only child. Besides, this case has also been a sorry tale of botched up investigation from day one from the Noida police to the CBI. First, the Noida police floated a theory that Aarushi was found in an “objectionable position” with Hemraj and the father in a fit of rage killed both. The Noida police drew criticism for making such claims and the case was transferred to the CBI. Just a month into the investigation the CBI made another revelation that turned the case around. It said there is no evidence against the Talwars. Instead, it turned the heat on the three domestic helps who knew the Talwar family. The theory the CBI worked on was that the three men tried to assault Aarushi and when Hemraj intervened they killed them both. Again the CBI was not convinced, the case was reinvestigated, and it came to the same conclusion. But the trial court believed otherwise, put the Talwars on trial and convicted them on circumstantial evidence.
After four years in jail, the Allahabad High Court applied another legal principle to the case — in the absence of definite evidence, benefit of doubt needs to be given to the accused. Thus the Talwars are set free. This case has also seen the public take sides — a book and a movie were made on this incident, where attempts were made to highlight the shoddy investigation in the case. But Thursday’s court verdict is not the end of the road for Talwars – as the case will now travel up to the Supreme Court where once again the Talwars will have to prove their innocence.