Tal­wars ac­quit­ted by HC

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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 were 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.

For­mer CBI di­rec­tor AP Singh told tele­vi­sion chan­nels,” there were loop­holes in our in­ves­ti­ga­tion, that’s why we had closed the case say­ing it was in­con­clu­sive.” He said Thurs­day’s ver­dict “does not say that the Tal­wars didn’t do it” but that there’s not enough ev­i­dence against them.

“I am grate­ful to the ju­di­ciary for the ver­dict,” said B G 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 in New Delhi.

“It’s been an ex­haust­ing jour­ney for us. We are re­ally grate­ful to the High Court for hav­ing ac­quit­ted 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 B K Narayana and A K Mishra up­held the Tal­wars’ ap­peal against the CBI court ver­dict, hold­ing that the cir­cum­stances of the case and the ev­i­dence on record did not es­tab­lish a chain show­ing their in­volve­ment in the mur­ders of Aarushi and Hem­raj.

Pro­nounc­ing the ver­dict in a packed court­room, the bench said that it is a fit case where the ben­e­fit of the 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.”

Dad­hi­ram Mau­rya, the 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 and had tears of joy,” 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 the spot­light for over nine years, will be spared me­dia in­tru­sion 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 a shoddy in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the case which was mak­ing na­tional head­lines, the then chief min­is­ter Mayawati rec­om­mended a probe by the Cen­tral Bu­reau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion.

GHAZI­ABAD: Ra­jesh Tal­war and Nupur Tal­war are likely to walk out of the Dasna jail on Fri­day.

Talk­ing to me­dia per­sons out­side the Al­la­habad High Court, the Tal­wars’ lawyer Tan­veer Ahmed said that the cou­ple will likely be re­leased on Fri­day af­ter­noon.

As per pro­ce­dures, the ac­quit­ted will be re­leased from jail once the court or­der copy reaches the prison au­thor­i­ties. As per re­ports, the copy of the high court or­der is likely to reach Dasna jail au­thor­i­ties by Fri­day morn­ing, fol­low­ing which the cou­ple will be re­leased. Mean­while, jail of­fi­cials re­port­edly said that the cou­ple was happy with the ver­dict, and had seen it from a TV placed in their bar­rack.

“They are happy, and said that they have got jus­tice,” said D R Mau­rya, jailor, Dasna Jail.

File photo of den­tist-cou­ple Nupur and Ra­jesh Tal­war

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