9 years af­ter Aarushi’s mur­der, Tal­war cou­ple ac­quit­ted by HC

Ra­jesh & Nupur to be freed from Dasna Jail today Court gave them ben­e­fit of doubt

The Asian Age - - Front Page - AMITA VERMA with bureau in­puts LUC­KNOW/NEW DELHI, OCT. 12

Nine years af­ter be­ing ac­cused of and charged with mur­der­ing their teenaged daugh­ter Aarushi and ser­vant Hem­raj, den­tist cou­ple Ra­jesh and Nupur Tal­war were ac­quit­ted by the Al­la­habad high court on Thurs­day. The high court re­jected the CBI re­port and held that the Tal­wars were “not guilty” in the case. The court has or­dered their im­me­di­ate re­lease. The Tal­wars could be freed from Ghazi­abad’s Dasna Jail, where they have been serv­ing their life sen­tence since Novem­ber 2013, on Fri­day.

Jailor Dad­hi­ram Mau­rya told the me­dia that Nupur Tal­war, who was watch­ing the pro­ceed­ings on TV while be­ing lodged in the jail along with her hus­band Ra­jesh, broke down.and said that they had fi­nally “got jus­tice”.

The high court gave the cou­ple the ben­e­fit of the doubt and quashed their life sen­tence. A di­vi­sion bench com­pris­ing Jus­tices B.K. Narayana and A.K. Misra up­held the Tal­wars’ ap­peal against the CBI court or­der sen­tenc­ing them to life im­pris­on­ment on Novem­ber 26, 2013. The judges ob­served the cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence against them was in­ad­e­quate, and that the CBI had failed to fill in the gaps in the ev­i­dence.

Aarushi Tal­war, 14, was found mur­dered in her room in Noida on May 16, 2008 and the miss­ing ser­vant Hem­raj, 45, was ini­tially sus­pected of be­ing the killer. How­ever, a day later Hem­raj’s body was found on the ter­race of the house in which the Tal­war family lived.

As the All­habad high court quashed the life sen­tence of the Tal­wars, the CBI’s lawyers said they would study the high court’s judg­ment and then

de­cide whether it should be chal­lenged in the Supreme Court or not.

It may be re­called that dur­ing the trial, the Tal­wars had raised ob­jec­tions over how the CBI had put to­gether facts to build the so-called cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence.

In­ci­den­tally, nei­ther of the ac­cused had con­fessed to the mur­der, and the mur­der weapon, al­legedly a golf club with their fin­ger­prints on it, was never found. Though the pros­e­cu­tion had es­tab­lished that the Tal­wars were present at the house dur­ing the mur­der, it failed to es­tab­lish that the ac­cused had in any way com­mit­ted the crime. On the ba­sis of cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence, the CBI had ar­gued that Aarushi was killed al­legedly by Ra­jesh Tal­war af­ter he found her in a “com­pro­mis­ing po­si­tion” with Hem­raj. The CBI al­leged Ra­jesh also killed Hem­raj.

The CBI also went on to ac­cuse the den­tist cou­ple of tam­per­ing with ev­i­dence, but again could not come up with any clear ev­i­dence con­nect­ing them to the mur­ders. Fol­low­ing its fail­ure to prove be­yond rea­son­able doubt that the Tal­wars were in­volved in the dou­ble mur­der, the CBI filed a clo­sure re­port in De­cem­ber 2010.

The CBI court, how­ever, did not ac­cept the clo­sure re­port and asked the in­ves­tiga­tive agency to pro­ceed in its probe. In 2013, the CBI court con­victed the cou­ple of mur­der un­der Sec­tion 302 IPC, de­struc­tion of ev­i­dence (Sec­tion 201) and com­mon in­ten­tion to com­mit the crime (Sec­tion 34).

It was not only the CBI but also the Ut­tar Pradesh po­lice that was pulled up by the high court for re­port­edly botch­ing up the crime scene by al­low­ing vis­i­tors to walk all over it. The po­lice also did not bother to search the ter­race of the house even though blood­stains were clearly vis­i­ble on the stair­case, and an­nounced its hon­our killing the­ory even be­fore the in­ves­ti­ga­tions were over.

The Al­la­habad high court was ap­par­ently not sat­is­fied with the CBI’s con­tention, which was not sup­ported by ad­e­quate cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence, and felt that the cou­ple should be given the ben­e­fit of the doubt.

Mr Meer Tan­vir Ahmad, coun­sel for the Tal­wars, said the court pointed out that there was a “strong al­ter­na­tive the­ory” in the case. He said the court turned down the CBI’s the­ory that there was no third per­son in the house when the mur­ders took place.

It may be men­tioned here that there were con­tra­dic­tory the­o­ries sur­round­ing the mur­der. The first CBI team prob­ing the case had in­di­cated that three other ser­vants — Kr­ishna, Raj Ku­mar and Vi­jay Man­dal — had been drink­ing in Hem­raj’s room and had in­sisted on go­ing to Aarushi’s room, but that Hem­raj had ob­jected. This first team claimed Hem­raj was killed by the three when he stopped them from go­ing to Aarushi’s room. The three men later went to Aarushi’s room and mur­dered her when she tried to raise the alarm. The Tal­war cou­ple, who were sleep­ing in the ad­join­ing room, could not hear their daugh­ter’s screams due to a noisy air­con­di­tioner.

For no ap­par­ent rea­son, the first team was sud­denly re­placed and the next team claimed that Ra­jesh Tal­war had killed his daugh­ter and ser­vant in a fit of rage while his wife Nupur had helped him dress up the ev­i­dence. In­ci­den­tally, the sec­ond team in a way ad­hered to the the­ory ini­tially put for­ward by the UP po­lice team mme­di­ately af­ter the dou­ble mur­der.

Ra­jesh Tal­war

Nupur Tal­war

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