Allahabad HC acquits Talwars in murder of their daughter Arushi, help Hemraj

File photo of Drs. Rajesh and Nupur Talwar.
File photo of Drs. Rajesh and Nupur Talwar.
The Allahabad High Court today acquitted dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar in the sensational case of the murder of their 14-year-old daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj Banjade on the night of May 15-16, 2008, giving them the benefit of doubt because the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had not been able to conclusively prove their guilt.
The much-awaited judgement has overturned the verdict of a special CBI court in Ghaziabad which had, on November 26, 2013 sentenced the couple to life imprisonment after holding them guilty of the twin murders.
However, at the end of the day, the mystery about who murdered the teenager and Hemraj in a case that has evoked tremendous interest across the nation and has been the subject of books and also a Hindi movie.
In their verdict today, pronounced before a packed court, Justices B. K. Narayana and A. K. Mishra upheld the appeals filed by the Talwars against the Ghaziabad court's order, saying they could not be held guilty on the basis of the evidence on record.
They said the prosecution's hypothesis that the parents were the only other people in the house at the time of the murder and nobody else had entered or left the house during that period could not be proved.
The judges said that this was a fit case where the benefit of doubt could be given to the appellants.
“Nupur and Rajesh Talwar should be forthwith released because the entire evidence supplied by the prosecution counsel was not sufficient and the chain of circumstances could not be established,” Justice Narayana said in his verdict.
The Ghaziabad court had given Dr. Rajesh Talwar and Dr. Nupur Talwar life imprisonment under section 302 and five years in jail under section 201 (destruction of evidence).
Dr Rajesh Talwar was also sentenced to one year in prison under section 203 for misleading the police by filing a "fake" first information report (FIR) about his daughter's murder.
Aarushi was found murdered in her room in the Talwars' residence at Jal Vayu Vihar in Noida, near here, in the morning of May 16, 2008 after being killed sometime during the previous night, just days before her 14th birthday.
Initially, Hemraj, who was missing, was suspected to be behind the murder but the case took a major twist when, on the next day, his body was found on the terrace of the Talwars' apartment building. 
Hemraj had clearly been murdered in the same way as Aarushi was, and at the same time.
Aarushi murder case: Allahabad HC acquits Rajesh, Nupur Talwar
After initially being investigated by the Noida police, the case was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which accused the Talwars of commiting the murder and destruction of evidence.
The couple had always maintained they were held for a crime they had not committed and had said at that time they would appeal in the Allahabad High Court against the Ghaziabad court's verdict.
The case, which has witnessed several twists and turns over the past nine years, had also attracted unprecedented media attention. In August 2009, the Supreme Court had restrained the media from sensational or scandalous reporting of the case.
Dr Rajesh Talwar had, immediately after the discovery of the body of Aarushi, lodged a complaint with the police in which he said he suspected the missing servant Hemraj of the murder. Both Aarushi's and Hemraj's bodies had injuries caused by a blunt weapon and their throats had been slit in a similar manner.
In December 2010, the CBI had filed a closure report, in which it ruled out involvement of the Talwar's other employees and making it clear that they suspected the dentist-couple of having killed their ddaughter. They cited various circumstantial evidence in this regard, but said there was an absence of a clear motive and an incomplete understanding of the sequence of events on that fateful night.
The agency urged special judicial magistrate Priti Singh to close the case, but she rejected the closure report and summoned Aarushi's parents as accused.
The Talwars moved petitions against the magistrate's orders before the Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court and they also filed a review petition, which were all rejected.
The CBI said the manner which the throats of Aarushi and Hemraji had been slit pointed to the use of a surgical knife. It also said the injuries on their bodies were most likely caused by a golf club. Both these factors pointed to the Talwars, it said.
The Talwars, on the other hand, have been saying that their daughter was killed by three of their helpers who knew Hemraj well and often visited him at their home.
The CBI arrested the three men -- Krishna, Rajkumar, the domestic help of Talwars' neighbour and Vijay Mandal, the driver of the Talwars' neighbour --  in 2008 but released them later, saying it had found nothing against them.
In the initial investigation conducted by the Uttar Pradesh police, they suspected the dentist couple and had arrested Dr Rajesh Talwar on May 23, 2008.
Dr Rajesh Talwar is a dental surgeon, while his wife, who was born to a Maharashtrian family, is an orthodontist. They had met while studying at the Maulana Azad Medical College here and got married later. They had a fairly successful practice. Aarushi was their only daughter.
The couple is learnt to have followed proceedings of the Allahabad High Court today on television news channels in the Dasna prison in Ghaziabad, where they have been lodged. Later, they are understood to have broken into tears of joy after hearing news of the verdict. They are expected to be released from prison tomorrow after a copy of the judgement reaches the jail authorities and formaliteis are completed.


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