In his judgment in the Aarushi-Hemraj murder case, CBI judge Shyam Lal made some trenchant observations on the convicts.
Commenting on the parents themselves having been found to have murdered the daughter, the court said: “Parents are the best protectors of their own children. That is the order of human nature but there have been freaks in the history of mankind where the father and mother became the killer of their own progeny… [The Talwars] extirpated their daughter who had hardly seen 14 summers of her life.’’
In a prepared statement, the Talwars said they were “deeply disappointed, hurt and anguished for the crime that we have not committed.” Their lawyers said they would appeal the conviction.
Winding road to justice
The case was initially investigated by the Noida police, who arrested Dr. Talwar. The prosecution was, however, transferred to the CBI amid a media uproar, provoked by the Uttar Pradesh Police’s assertion that the murder took place after Dr. Talwar had found his daughter and Hemraj “in an objectionable though not compromising position.”
Later, CBI investigators led by Indian Police Service officer Arun Kumar concluded that the killing was carried out by Dr. Talwar’s assistant Krishna in connivance with his accomplices Raj Kumar and Vijay Mandal in the wake of a sexual assault.
In 2009, The Hindu broke news that swabs taken from Aarushi Talwar’s body had been substituted with samples from an unconnected woman — destroying critical forensic evidence.
The then CBI Director Ashwani Kumar shot down Mr. Arun Kumar’s findings, and constituted a fresh investigation team. This new team exonerated the three suspects, and found evidence that suggested the Talwars may have killed their daughter.
In December 2010, though, the CBI told a court it did not have enough evidence to prosecute the couple — but its conclusions were rejected, and a trial was ordered. The court’s orders were upheld in the High Court and the Supreme Court, in the course of a long and fiercely-fought legal battle.
The judge accepted the CBI’s argument that the Aarushi had had sexual intercourse with Hemraj on the basis of “medical examination and tampering with the girl’s body.”
The judge will decide on sentencing on Tuesday, after hearing arguments from counsel for the prosecution and defence. Special Public Prosecutor R.K. Saini told journalists he would decide what punishment to seek ahead of the hearing.