Dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar were on Friday charged with murder of their teenaged daughter Aarushi and their domestice help, Hemraj, by a local court which said trial in the four-year-old case will commence on June 4.
Additional District Judge S. Lal also slapped another charge of misleading the investigation against Rajesh who had filed an FIR with Noida police alleging that Hemraj had killed his daughter in their Jalvayu Vihar residence on the intervening night of May 15-16, 2008.
The body of Hemraj was found on the terrace of their home on May 17.
Talwars’ lawyers today moved an application seeking certified copy of the court order and at least 15 days time for commencement of trial so that they can prepare their case.
The court, however, granted only nine days and fixed June 4 as the date of starting the trial.
Manoj Sisodia, representing Talwars, told reporters that once they get a certified copy of the order, they may appeal against the charges framed by the court in the higher court.
Rajesh and Nupur came to the court in the morning but waited till afternoon for the framing of charges.
Post-lunch when the court reconvened, the couple was asked to stand in the accused box and sign the charge sheet presented to them by the court officials.
“According to the procedure, the judge asked them whether they plead guilty or not to which both Rajesh and Nupur Talwar said that they would face the trial,” Mr. Sisodia said.
Once the trial starts, CBI’s lawyers would start examination of evidence to corroborate allegations levelled against the Talwar couple.
The agency has presented a list of 141 evidences which includes some key witnesses like Talwars’ erstwhile maid Bharti who was among the first to see the body of Aarushi among others.
After the CBI completes its examination, defence would start the cross examination process.
In his order, the judge had held there is enough prima- facie evidence to start trial against accused Rajesh and Nupur under charges of Section 302 read with Section 34 (murder with common intention) of Indian Penal Code and Section 201 read with Section 34 (destruction of evidence with common intention) of the IPC.
The judge mentioned prosecution’s argument that there was enough circumstantial evidence to suggest that Rajesh and Nupur should be charged for murder and destruction of evidence with common intention and Rajesh for additional charges of misleading the investigation.
He cited defence arguments which said the case was based merely on circumstantial evidence and all vital links of the chain of evidence do not connect completely.
In its order, the court also mentioned CBI’s claims that the wounds on the neck of Hemraj and Aarushi were caused by surgical equipment which could have been a work of trained professionals like Rajesh and Nupur.
The defence had rejected the theory saying these wounds could have been caused by a sharp weapon like ‘Khukri’ which was common among Nepali citizens.
Nupur is in judicial custody since April 30 while father Rajesh is on bail.