Dentist cou­ple con­victed of killing daugh­ter freed

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

NEW DELHI: An In­dian court yes­ter­day over­turned the con­vic­tion of a dentist cou­ple for the mur­der of their teenage daugh­ter and the fam­ily ser­vant for lack of ma­te­rial ev­i­dence, their lawyer said.

Aarushi Tal­war, their only child, was found on her bed with her throat slit in a pool of blood on the morn­ing of May 16, 2008 at the fam­ily home in the Delhi sub­urb of Noida.

Her par­ents told po­lice they were asleep in the next room when the mur­der was com­mit­ted.

Po­lice ini­tially blamed the miss­ing ser­vant Ban­jade, 45, only to find his body on the ter­race a day later with a sim­i­larly cut throat and head wounds.

A trial court con­victed the girl’s par­ents, Ra­jesh and Nupur Tal­war, after po­lice al­leged Ra­jesh had mur­dered his daugh­ter and the ser­vant in a rage when he found them in a com­pro­mis­ing sit­u­a­tion.

The cou­ple, both den­tists, were jailed for life.

But a high court over­ruled the de­ci­sion say­ing it was not sat­is­fied with the ev­i­dence and or­dered the cou­ple be freed, their lawyer Tan­veer Ahmed Mir said.

“The court found no foren­sic or ma­te­rial ev­i­dence to prove that the Tal­wars had killed their daugh­ter,” Mir told re­porters out­side a packed court­room in the north­ern city of Al­la­habad.

Both par­ents had de­nied the mur­der and in­sisted they were vic­tims of botched in­ves­ti­ga­tions and un­fair me­dia cov­er­age, dam­ag­ing their de­fence.

The pros­e­cu­tion in 2013 ad­mit­ted there was no ma­te­rial ev­i­dence against the par­ents, bas­ing their case on the “last-seen the­ory” which holds that the vic­tims were last seen with the ac­cused.

Aarushi’s case was la­belled as a kind of crime more of­ten as­so­ci­ated with ru­ral, con­ser­va­tive parts of India where “hon­our killings” are com­mon.

Since the par­ents’ first ap­pear­ance in court, ev­ery devel­op­ment has been given wall-to-wall and of­ten voyeuris­tic cov­er­age by the me­dia. The case spawned a na­tion of armchair de­tec­tives de­bat­ing ev­ery twist of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion for or against the Tal­wars, who have be­come house­hold names.

In 2015, a jour­nal­ist who cov­ered the mur­der wrote a book ar­gu­ing that the cou­ple were in­no­cent. The dou­ble mur­der case and faulty probe were used as a theme for a Bol­ly­wood movie the same year.

“Fi­nally my fam­ily can lead a dig­ni­fied life,” said Ra­jesh ’s sis­ter, Van­dana, after the de­ci­sion. – Agen­cies

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