Dentist couple convicted of killing daughter freed
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