Allahabad High Court acquitted dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, who were convicted of murdering their own teenage daughter and domestic help in May 2008. The verdict came on the appeal filed by the parents after trial court had found them guilty. The case also popularly known as Aarushi murder case has long made headlines for its several twists and turns.
Pronouncing the verdict, a division bench of the court comprising justices BK Narayana and AK Mishra held that as per the circumstances and the evidence on record the dentist couple could not be held guilty.
On November 25, 2013, the CBI special court in Ghaziabad had convicted the dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar on the charges of twin murder of their 14-year-old daughter Arushi and 45-year-old domestic Hemraj.
Aarushi Talwar, student of DPS Noida, was found murdered on the morning of May 16, 2008 by her parents. Domestic help Hemraj, who was then missing, was presumed to be the murderer and Noida police launched a hunt to nab him.
But the case turned on its head next morning when Hemraj’s dead body was discovered on the rooftop of their Jalvayu Vihar apartment in sector 25 Noida.
After investigation, which has often been questioned by Talwars and their associates, Noida police arrested Rajesh Talwar on May 23, 2016.
As local police attracted major criticism for handling the case and especially the evidence during their probe, the matter was transferred to the CBI after a recommendation by then Chief Minister Mayawati’s administration.
The CBI, though initially maintained Rajesh Talwar as accused, in the course of their investigation arrested dentist couple’s compounder Krishna, Rajkumar — domestic help of their friend Prafful and Anita Durrani and other domestic help Vijay Mandal – who worked in the neighbouring apartment.
Rajesh Talwar in July 2008 was let off by the CBI which then admitted they have no evidence against him. However, as CBI failed to file chargesheet against the three – Krishna, Rajkumar and Vijay Mandal – they too were granted bail by the lower court by September 2008.
In December 2010, CBI filed the closure report in the Ghaziabad special court clearing the three hitherto accused of involvement but pointed fingers at Talwar couple.
Interestingly, the CBI teams too had differences over the case. While the first team was of opinion that Talwar couple was innocent and the murders were committed by the domestic help trio, the second team of CBI, headed by late AGL Kaul, were convinced of parent’s involvement.
The court, after taking cognizance of the closure report, summoned Rajesh and Nupur Talwar to face trial under the charges of murder and destruction of evidence.
After several rounds of court battle, where the matter reached Supreme Court as well, the trial began in May 2012 after the apex court rejected their plea seeking stay on trial and directed them follow proceedings at the trial court.
After examination of more than three dozen prosecution and defence witnesses, which included Talwar’s maid Bharti, ex-cop KK Gautam, Arushi’s uncle Dinesh Talwar and panellists of doctors from AIIMS who studied the medical reports, the Ghaziabad special convicted the Talwar couple.
The couple were sentenced for life after CBI court decided the quantum of sentence on November 26, 2013.