The Allahabad High Court on Thursday acquitted Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, who were convicted by a special CBI court of murdering their daughter Aarushi Talwar and domestic help Hemraj Banjade in 2008.
The Talwars had appealed against a special CBI court’s 2013 ruling that held them guilty for the twin murders and sentenced them to life imprisonment. A division bench of the high court, comprising justices B K Narayana and A K Mishra, had previously reserved its judgment on September 7 and fixed today as the date for the verdict. The couple has been lodged in Dasna jail, Ghaziabad.
Aarushi was found with her throat slit and her head bludgeoned on May 16, 2008. She was 14 at the time. The Noida Police initially suspected Hemraj for the murder, but a day later found his body on the terrace of the house. On further investigations, the police held Nupur and Rajesh, both dentists, as prime suspects in what they suspected was a case of honour killing. They also found that the murders were done with “surgical precision.” Nine years on, many unanswered questions in Aarushi-Hemraj murder case
The CBI took over the case weeks after the murder. The central agency conducted lie detector tests and narco-analyses on Nupur and Rajesh. On November 26, 2013, the CBI court in Ghaziabad sentenced the couple to life imprisonment after finding them guilty of the twin murders based on circumstantial evidence.
On the morning of May 16, 2008, soon-to-turn 14-year-old Aarushi Talwar was found dead in the bedroom of her house in Jalvayu Vihar, Noida. Her throat was slit and her head bludgeoned. The family’s live-in domestic help Hemraj Banjade was seen as the prime suspect in the murder, but, a day later, Hemraj (45) was found dead on the terrace of the same flat. His throat was also slit and he had suffered injuries to his head. There were wounds all over his body and the door to the terrace was found locked from inside.
Noida Police suspected the twin murders to be an insider job and said that they had been committed with ‘surgical precision’. Talwars’ former domestic help Vishnu Sharma was initially named as a suspect in the case. Soon, Delhi Police also joined the probe.
Six days after Aarushi’s body was found, police suspected it to be a case of honour killing and her parents, Rajesh Talwar and Nupur Talwar, both dentists, came under the scanner. Noida Police alleged that Rajesh had committed the twin murders after finding Aarushi and Hemraj in an “objectionable” position. However, no forensic or material evidence was provided to substantiate the claim.
On May 23, 2008 Rajesh Talwar was arrested for the double murder. As the case became a topic of household debate with divided public opinion on who killed Aarushi, the case was handed over to the CBI.
On June 13, CBI arrested Krishna Thadaraj, an assistant at Rajesh’s Noida clinic. On June 20, CBI conducted a lie detector test on Rajesh Talwar. Five days later, a second lie detector test was also conducted on Aarushi’s mother, Nupur Talwar, as the first one was found to be inconclusive. After spending almost two months in jail, Rajesh Talwar got bail on July 12.
As the investigation continued, narco-analysis tests were conducted on the Talwars. In December 2010, CBI submitted a closure report on the grounds of “insufficient evidence”. Giving a clean chit to the servants, CBI named Rajesh Talwar as the prime suspect. However, due to lack of evidence, CBI did not charge him. The court said the case could not be closed.
On November 25, 2013, CBI judge Shyam Lal convicted the Talwars guilty of both murders and destruction of evidence. “The parents are the best protector of their own children and that is the order of the human nature, but they have been freaks in the history of mankind when the father and mother became the killer of their own progeny,” the judge wrote.
“They have extirpated their own daughter who has seen 14 summers of her life and the servant, without compunction from terrestrial terrain in breach of commandment that ‘thou shall not kill’ and the injunction of the holy Quran ‘take not life, which god has made sacred’.”
The CBI court awarded life imprisonment to the Talwar couple a day later. The couple then filed an appeal in the Allahabad High Court challenging the previous court’s order. The court on October 12 acquitted the dentist couple for want of evidence.
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