Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court on Thursday ruled that dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar from Delhi were not guilty of the murder of their daughter Aarushi, 14, and domestic help Hemraj in 2008.
The Allahabad High Court ended the couple's nine-year ordeal by saying they could not be held guilty given the circumstances and evidence on record.
In November 2013, a special CBI court in Ghaziabad had convicted the Talwars for murdering daughter Aarushi and Hemraj and sentenced them to life. The CBI court said they had killed Aarushi in a fit of rage because they suspected her of having an affair with Hemraj.
The Talwars then approached the Allahabad High Court, challenging this order.
The division bench of justices B K Narayana and A K Mishra upheld the Talwars' appeal against the CBI court order on Thursday.
Nupur and Rajesh Talwar have been in Ghaziabad's Dasna jail for the last four years.
The CBI said it would study the high court order and decide its future course of action.
The couple were not in the packed court for the hearing. Media reports said Rajesh Talwar hugged jail officials after hearing the verdict.
Tanveer Mir, a lawyer for the Talwars, told reporters outside the Allahabad court that the couple would be freed on Friday.
"The High court observed that they have been punished wrongly. They are not guilty," he said.
"They were only present at home that night as parents and were punished. It was entirely wrong and an injustice against my clients."
"The court observed that the case against the Talwars was baseless. The evidence was weak," declared the lawyer.
Fourteen-year-old Aarushi Talwar was found dead on May 16, 2008 in her house in Noida with her throat slit and head bludgeoned. The Talwar family's domestic help Hemraj was found dead the next day on the terrace of the house.
Hemraj’s throat was also slit and there were wounds on his head. There were wounds all over his body and the door to the terrace was found locked from inside.
Noida Police suspected the two murders were committed by an insider and said the crimes bore ‘surgical precision’. Talwars’ former domestic help Vishnu Sharma was initially named a suspect in the case.
Soon after the incident, the Delhi Police also joined the probe.
As the Uttar Pradesh Police drew flak over shoddy investigation into the case which was making national headlines, the then chief minister Mayawati handed over the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Six days after Aarushi’s body was found, police suspected it to be a case of honour killing and her dentist parents, Rajesh Talwar and Nupur Talwar, came under the scanner.
Noida Police alleged that Rajesh had committed the twin murders after finding Aarushi and Hemraj in an ‘objectionable’ position. However, there was no material or forensic evidence to validate their claims.
On May 23, 2008 Rajesh Talwar, father of Aarushi Talwar was arrested for the twin murders.
On June 13, CBI arrested Krishna Thadaraj, an assistant at Rajesh’s Noida clinic.
On June 20, a lie detector test on Rajesh Talwar was conducted by the CBI.
A second lie detector test was also conducted on Aarushi’s mother, Nupur Talwar, after a few days as the first one was found to be inconclusive.
After spending almost two months in jail, Rajesh Talwar got bail on July 12, 2008.
As the investigation continued, narco-analysis tests were conducted on the Talwars.
CBI submitted a closure report on the case in December, 2010 on the basis of ‘insufficient evidence’. However, CBI named Rajesh Talwar as the prime suspect while giving a clean chit to Krishna and two other domestic helps who were also arrested in the case. Talwar was not charged due to lack of evidence.
The CBI court did not accept the closure report. The Allahabad High Court also refused to quash criminal proceedings against the Talwars.
On November 25, 2013, CBI judge Shyam Lal convicted the Talwars and held them guilty of both murders. They were also convicted for destruction of evidence.
After a day, the CBI court sentenced the Talwars to life.