Talwars acquitted in Aarushi case
Daughter, domestic help Hemraj found dead in 2008 Bench reverses conviction of couple by CBI court in 2013 Guilt not proven beyond doubt: Allahabad HC judges
The Allahabad High Court on Thursday acquitted dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar and quashed their conviction in the 2008 murder of their teenage daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj in Noida.
A Division Bench, comprising Justices B.K. Narayana and A.K. Mishra, pronounced the judgment on an appeal filed by the couple challenging their conviction by a special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Ghaziabad in November 2013. The Talwars had been sentenced to life imprisonment.
‘No clinching evidence’
Stating that there was no clinching evidence that the Talwars committed the crime, the court, while reading out the operative part of the judgment, said the “benefit of doubt” in the case seemed to go in their favour. “In cases where you depend on circumstantial evidence... the benefit of the doubt goes to the accused,” the court said.
The CBI failed to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that the couple committed the murders, noting that all circumstantial evidence did not tally to prove them guilty. Accepting the argument of counsel for the Talwars that the case against them was based entirely on circumstantial evidence, the court also said the chain of evidence as presented by the CBI was inconclusive.
The court noted there were many shortcomings in the trial court verdict and dismissed its “irresistible conclusion” that the Talwars had committed the crime.
The Talwars, who are lodged in the Dasna jail in Ghaziabad, could be re- leased on Friday, their law- yers said.
The Allahabad High Court, in its verdict on Thursday acquitting the dentist-couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar in the 2008 murder of their daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj, dismissed the trial court’s contention that since nobody else but the parents were present in the house on the night of the killings, only they were likely to have committed the crime.
Dileep Kumar, counsel for the Talwars, said, “The honourable High Court judges did not agree with this and said many other circumstances could be possible. Until there is conclusive evidence, which was not found in this case, the conviction cannot be upheld.”
Tanveer Ahmed Mir, the lead counsel of the accused, said, “Both the honourable judges found that the cases against the Talwar couple were baseless and the evidence produced was not strong enough. None of the circumstances pointed to the guilt of the parents. The trial court judgment was based on superficial assumptions and presumptions,” Mr. Mir said.
The lawyer said between September 22, 2016 and January 11, when the Talwars’ appeal, which ran into 3,000 pages, was heard, 16 circumstances were argued in court and that the defence “proved that not a single circumstance went against the couple.”
“As per the operative portion of the judgment, there was a strong case of alternate theory of killers. It was the CBI’s own case that there could be other killers or accused,” he said.
Aarushi Talwar, 14, was found dead with her throat slit in her bedroom in flat no. L-32 Jalvayu Vihar in Noida on the morning of May 16, 2008. The body of the family’s domestic help, Hemraj, who was initially suspected of her murder, was found in a pool of blood on the terrace the following day. The door of the terrace was found locked from inside.
The case was handed over to the CBI after the Noida police was criticised for a botched investigation with loss of crucial forensic evidence.
In his judgment in 2013, special CBI Judge S. Lal had said from the evidence tendered by the prosecution, the “court reaches to the irresistible and impeccable conclusion that only the accused persons [Talwars] are responsible for committing this ghastly crime.” The Talwars were also convicted for destruction of evidence with common intent, while Rajesh was additionally convicted of giving a false statement to the police.
The trial court had stated 26 points of evidence on the basis of which it found the couple guilty. It said there was no evidence to show that any outsider came inside the house after 9.30 p.m. on the night of the murder or that there was any forcible entry or larcenous act in the flat.
Talwars’ advocate Tanveer Ahmad Mir after the court verdict.