Allahabad High Court acquits Talwars in daughter Aarushi, Hemraj murder case

Aarushi Talwar, 14, was found dead with her throat slit in her bedroom. File   | Photo Credit: V.V.Krishnan

The Allahabad High Court on Thursday acquitted dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar and quashed their conviction in the 2008 murder of their teenage daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj in Noida.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices B.K. Narayana and A.K. Mishra, pronounced the judgment on an appeal filed by the couple challenging their conviction by a special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Ghaziabad in November 2013. The Talwars had been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Stating that there was no clinching evidence that the Talwars committed the crime, the court, while reading out the operative part of the judgment, said the “benefit of doubt” in the case seemed to go in their favour. “In cases where you depend on circumstantial evidendence... the benefit of the doubt goes to the accused,” the court said.

The CBI failed to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that the Talwar couple committed the murders, noting that all circumstantial evidence did not tally to prove the couple guilty.

Accepting the argument of counsel for the Talwars that the case against them was based entirely on circumstantial evidence, the court also said the chain of evidence as presented by the CBI in the case was inconclusive.

The court also noted there were many shortcomings in the trial court verdict, and dismissed its “irresistible conclusion” that the Talwars had committed the crime.

Separate judgments

Both judges read out separate judgments. The full judgment was not uploaded on the HC website at the time of going to press.

The Talwars, who are lodged in the Dasna jail in Ghaziabad, could be released on Friday, their lawyers said.

Tanveer Ahmed Mir, the lead counsel of the accused, said the “perseverance” of the Talwars had finally paid off and said his team was glad to have “restored the honour and dignity of Aarushi and Hemraj, whose characters were sullied in the media by putting them in some farcical compromising position.”

“Both the honourable judges found that the cases against the Talwar couple were baseless and the evidence produced was not strong enough. None of the circumstances pointed to the guilt of the parents. The trial court judgment was based on superficial assumptions and presumptions,” Mr. Mir said. The lawyer said between September 22, 2016 and January 11, when the Talwars’ appeal, which ran into 3,000 pages, was heard, 16 circumstances were argued in court and that the defence “proved that not a single circumstance went against the couple.”

“As per the operative portion of the judgment, there was a strong case of alternate theory of killers. It was the CBI’s own case that there could be other killers or accused,” he said.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 2:17:47 PM |

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