Tal­wars did not do it, so who mur­dered daugh­ter Aarushi?

Tears of re­lief for doc­tor cou­ple af­ter Al­la­habad HC ac­quits them; case back to square one as cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence re­lied upon by CBI found in­ad­e­quate

The New Indian Express - - NEWS - ANKUR SHARMA & SANA SHAKIL @ New Delhi

THURS­DAY was a day of high trep­i­da­tion, and some hope, for Ra­jesh and Nupur Tal­war. It ended with re­lief for the doc­tor cou­ple.

Just days ear­lier, Ra­jesh’s brother, Di­nesh, had vis­ited the cou­ple in Dasna Jail, on the out­skirts of Delhi, to tell them that the ver­dict in the mur­der case of their daugh­ter, Aarushi, and ser­vant Hem­raj would be de­liv­ered on Oc­to­ber 12.

As the Al­la­habad High Court pro­nounced its ver­dict on their ap­peal shortly be­fore 3pm, and jail of­fi­cials rushed to cell num­ber 13 to tell Nupur of the judg­ment, the Tal­wars found it dif­fi­cult to hold back tears. Their ap­peal against the life sen­tence given to them had worked.

Dasna Jail su­per­in­ten­dent D R Mau­rya, who broke the news to the cou­ple, told re­porters that Ra­jesh hugged him be­fore break­ing down. “Nupur was silent but she was also in tears,” he added.

The Al­la­habad HC ac­quit­ted the Tal­wars in the sen­sa­tional 2008 mur­der of their teenage daugh­ter and do­mes­tic help Hem­raj, say­ing nei­ther the cir­cum­stances nor the ev­i­dence was enough to hold them guilty.

On Novem­ber 28, 2013, the cou­ple was found guilty by a CBI court for the dou­ble mur­der that spawned at least one Bol­ly­wood pot­boiler and a book that blew holes in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­ducted by the CBI, the coun­try’s premier in­ves­ti­gat­ing agency. “We are re­lieved,” was all Di­nesh, Ra­jesh’s brother, would say.

Vishal Bhard­waj, one of the pro­duc­ers of the film Tal­var, said in a state­ment: “I am over­whelmed and re­lieved to hear of the Tal­wars’ ac­quit­tal and this strength­ens my faith in the In­dian ju­di­cial sys­tem. How­ever, it still pains me when I think about the pre­cious years lost in prison and the emo­tional trauma that the par­ents had to go through.”

The story is now back to be­ing one of In­dia’s big­gest who­dunits. The CBI may yet chal­lenge the ac­quit­tal but le­gal ex­perts think dif­fer­ently.

In and around the apart­ment in Noida’s Jal­vayu Vi­har, where the mur­ders were com­mit­ted, the buzz among neigh­bours of the Tal­wars con­tin­ued to re­flect the con­fu­sion, lies, slan­der, mys­tery and the plain in­ept­ness of a botched in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“It was a haunted place for the peo­ple in Jal­vayu Vi­har but still we de­cided to move into the flat where Aarushi and Hem­raj were killed,” Monika Shukla, the Tal­wars’ ten­ant, told Ex­press.

The Delhi Pub­lic School in the neigh­bour­hood where Aarushi stud­ied held a spe­cial prayer meet­ing. Thurs­day’s or­der ac­quits the Tal­war cou­ple of the mur­der charges. But it does not an­swer the ques­tion who killed Aarushi and Hem­raj.

THE sor­did nine-year-old Aarushi-Hem­raj dou­ble mur­der case un­der­went per­haps a fi­nal twist Thurs­day when the Al­la­habad High Court ac­quit­ted Aarushi’s par­ents — Dr Ra­jesh Tal­war and Dr Nupur Tawlar — con­victed by the CBI trial court which had awarded them life sen­tence in the case. The High Court or­der, how­ever, has brought the more rel­e­vant ques­tion of who killed Aarushi Tal­war and do­mes­tic help Hem­raj on May 15, 2008 back to the spot­light.

The High Court quashed the CBI court or­der and set aside the life sen­tence the cou­ple had been serv­ing in Ghazi­abad’s Dasna jail since Nove­mebr 2013. De­liv­er­ing the ver­dict on Tal­wars’ ap­peal agan­ist the CBI court or­der, the di­vi­sion bench com­pris­ing jus­tices Bala Kr­ishna Narain and Arvind Ku­mar Mishra, ob­served that the ben­e­fit of doubt could be given to the cou­ple who could not be con­victed on the ba­sis of sus­pi­cion

It’s been an ex­haust­ing jour­ney for us. We are re­ally grate­ful to the High Court for hav­ing aquit­ted and end­ing the in­jus­tice meted out to them Van­dana Tal­war, an aunt of Aarushi

and the record of cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence which failed to es­tab­lish the chain of cir­cum­stances against them.

Mak­ing th­ese ob­ser­va­tions, the court set aside the judg­ment of CBI Court, Ghazi­abad, dated Novem­ber 26, 2013. The Tal­wars were con­victed in the dou­ble mur­der case of their 14-year-old daugh­ter Aarushi, and their do­mes­tic help Hem­raj, 45, by the CBI court. They had moved the High Court on Jan­uary 21, 2014, chal­leng­ing their con­vic­tion and sub­se­quent life sen­tence awarded to them by the CBI trial court in Ghazi­abad.

The di­vi­sion bench of the High Court di­rected the au­thor­i­ties con­cerned to re­lease both the ap­pel­lants forth­with. How­ever, the CBI in all like­li­hood may move the Supreme Court against the HC or­der.

Ear­lier, the court had re­served its judg­ment on Jan­uary 9, 2017, but started the re-hear­ing in the crim­i­nal ap­peal on Au­gust 1, 2017, to clar­ify cer­tain points. The court had di­rected the Cen­tral Bu­reau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (CBI) to clar­ify cer­tain con­tra­dic­tions in its probe re­port filed in the court. The re-hear­ing in the case con­cluded on Septem­ber 7, 2017, and the High Court had re­served the or­der fix­ing Oc­to­ber 12 as the date for de­liv­ery of the ver­dict.

Af­ter many twists and turns, the much-hyped dou­ble mur­der case which shook the na­tion, re­mains un­solved and may be re­garded as a glar­ing ex­am­ple of botched up in­ves­ti­ga­tion by probe agen­cies who seemed to have lost track of in­ves­ti­ga­tion right from the be­gin­ning, leav­ing be­hind more ques­tions than an­swers. With three probe teams all through, over half a dozen ar­rests, tes­ti­mony of over 80 wit­nesses and the High Court hear­ing the case, the ques­tion mark over the real killer per­sists.

Aarushi and Hem­raj were mur­dered on the in­ter­ven­ing night of May 15 and 16, 2008. When Aarushi’s body was found on May 16, the miss­ing ser­vant, Hem­raj, was con­sid­ered the main sus­pect. But the next day, Hem­raj’s par­tially de­com­posed body was dis­cov­ered on the ter­race of the flat.

Ini­tially, the Noida po­lice with a su­per­fi­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion jumped to the con­clu­sion that it was a case of hon­our killing and im­pli­cated Ra­jesh Tal­war as the main killer who found Aarushi with Hem­raj and could not stom­ach their close­ness and killed both in a fit of rage. The char­ac­ter of the 14-year-old de­ceased was dis­sected ruth­lessly by the top cops at an in­fa­mous press con­fer­ence then, putting forth the hon­our killing the­ory.

Af­ter a lot of clam­our and out­rage over the hon­our killing the­ory, the probe was handed over to the CBI. Sto­ries of the Tal­wars’ per­sonal life and re­la­tion­ships also made the rounds and that was when the probe de­railed as the agen­cies lost track and were work­ing on a num­ber of the­o­ries.

Though the CBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion was be­ing led by one of its most bright of­fi­cers — joint di­rec­tor Arun Ku­mar — he based his in­quiry mainly on tech­ni­cal proof, in­clud­ing narco-anal­y­sis tests. He claimed that three men — Tal­war’s com­pounder Kr­ishna, and two do­mes­tic helps work­ing in the neigh­bour­hood, Ra­jku­mar and Vi­jay Man­dal — were the killers. The three were ar­rested but re­leased on July 11, 2008, due to lack of ev­i­dence.

File pic­ture of Ra­jesh, Nupur Tal­war

Ra­jesh and Nupur Tal­war’s coun­sel Tan­veer Ahmed Mir talks to the me­dia af­ter the Al­la­habad High Court’s ver­dict on the twin mur­ders, in Al­la­habad on Thurs­day | PTI

Aarushi Tal­war

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.