The tal­wars are free, for now

The case may go to the Supreme Court be­fore a fi­nal de­ci­sion

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - COMMENT -

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.

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