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No one killed Aarushi: Allahabad High Court acquits Talwars in double murder case

Sadiq Naqvi | Updated on: 13 October 2017, 15:31 IST
(Arya Sharma/Catch News)

It appears that nobody killed Aarushi Talwar and Hemraj.

Giving the accused, the parents of the murdered child, a benefit of doubt, the Allahabad High Court acquitted Rajesh and Nupur Talwar of the murder charges.

The Talwars, currently lodged in the Dasna Jail, are expected to be released tomorrow.

Going by the tenets of the law that the burden of proof cannot be on the accused, the High Court ruled that the evidence, which is circumstantial, is not enough to convict the two.

Judges BK Narayana and AK Mishra also found various shortcomings in the lower court judgement which had led to conviction of the dentist couple. A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court had pronounced the parents guilty on charges of murder in 2013 and sentenced them to life.

It is not clear if the CBI, the apex investigating agency, will appeal against the High Court verdict. The Talwars have maintained their innocence all through.

The case that shook the nation

On the morning of 16 May 2008, 14-year-old Aarushi Talwar was found murdered in her room at L-32, Jal Vayu Vihar, Noida, where she lived with her parents Dr Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, and house help Hemraj.

Even as the parents claimed on the first day that the servant Hemraj had murdered their daughter, in a bizarre twist to the murder mystery, the bloated dead body of the house help was found on the terrace the next day.

Three different theories

The UP police, which was initially investigating the case, claimed that Rajesh Talwar killed daughter Aarushi and Hemraj after he saw them in an ‘objectionable’ position.

However, the police couldn't discover the murder weapon. The UP Police had also investigated the role of three others - Krishna, who used to help Talwars in their clinic, Rajkumar, the house help at their friends Anita Durrani’s household, and Vijay Mandal, a domestic help of one of the neighbours. However, the case was soon transferred to the CBI after an uproar over certain statements made by the UP Police.

The first CBI team closely probed the role of the servants, and reportedly worked on the theory that they had committed the murder - by first raping her and then killing her. Since Hemraj was witness to it, as the theory went, he was taken to the terrace and killed.

To back up the theory, the team conducted a narcoanalysis of the three servants which had one binding thread that the murder was done with a 'khukri', a Nepalese knife. Later, a khukri was recovered from Krishna Thadarai’s room in Jal Vayu Vihar.

However, the then CBI Chief Ashwini Kumar had reportedly not allowed the investigators to file a chargesheet against the servants based on flimsy evidence. For example, the khukri, which was recovered from Krishna’s room, did not have any trace of human blood as per the forensic report.

With the credibility of the agency at stake, the CBI transferred the case to a different team. The second team trashed the first theory, and suggested the role of the parents in the murder. It, however, filed a closure report citing inconclusive evidence even as the report detailed the possible role of parents.

The then trial court judge had refused to accept the closure report and ordered a trial of the parents on the basis of the CBI’s findings, which later led to their conviction by the trial court.

However, even though the parents were convicted, the CBI was not able to prove the motive or the sequence of events which led to the murder. Moreover, no trace of Hemraj’s blood was found on Aarushi’s bedsheet and pillow and there was no evidence to prove that he was also killed in Aarushi’s room.

The CBI, was also not able to recover the murder weapon. While it claimed that the golf club, which was later recovered from a loft from the Talwar household, could have been used for murder, it had no DNA traces left to prove that it was indeed the case. However, one of the officials part of the first CBI team had claimed that he suggested the possibility of a golf club as a murder weapon, but it was not followed by the first CBI team.

CBI had based its assertion of parents involvement among other things on how Aarushi’s room was found heavily dressed-up. The terrace, too, where Hemraj’s body was found, indicated that someone has carefully tried to conceal the body.

The CBI had also explained how the polygraph, the narco analysis and the brain mapping tests on the Talwars didn’t exonerate them. The CBI also found it strange how Rajesh Talwar and Dinesh Talwar, who were called the next day to recognise the body of Hemraj, refused to recognise it. That data on Aarushi’s phone was found deleted when the phone was recovered also aroused the investigative agencies’s suspicion.

Moreover, in its investigations, the CBI had claimed how phone records and witnesses which were examined by the agency suggested that Krishna, Raj Kumar and Vijay Mandal were not present at the crime scene.

First published: 12 October 2017, 18:12 IST