Aarushi-Hemraj murder case: Allahabad HC acquits Nupur, Rajesh Talwar; gives them benefit of doubt

NEW DELHI: The Allahabad High Court on Thursday acquitted Rajesh and Nupur Talwar in the murder of their teenage daughter Aarushi and their domestic help Hemraj in 2008, saying they could not be held guilty on the basis of the evidence on record.

The verdict ends a nine-year ordeal of the parents who were found guilty by a CBI court of murdering 14-year-old Aarushi. A division bench of the court comprising justices B K Narayana and A K Mishra upheld the appeals by the Talwars against the Ghaziabad CBI court order sentencing them to life imprisonment on November 26, 2013.

In pronouncing them ‘not guilty’, the high court overturned a 2013 trial court ruling that found the couple guilty of murdering their daughter and their domestic help.

The Allahabad HC essentially gave the Talwars the benefit of doubt+ .

On November 25, 2013, a special CBI court in Uttar Pradesh‘s Ghaziabad found the Talwars guilty of murdering Aarushi and their domestic help Hemraj. They were sentenced to life in prison a day after the verdict. The Talwars are currently serving their life term in prison in Dasna jail in Ghaziabad.

In January 2014, the Talwars moved the Allahabad high court challenging the CBI court’s conviction and sentence.

On the night of May 15-16, 2008, Aarushi, eight days short of her 14th birthday, was found dead in her bedroom, with her throat slit, in the Talwars’ Jalvayu Vihar residence in the Delhi suburb of Noida.

At first, the main suspect was Hemraj, but two days later he, too, was found murdered and his body was recovered from the terrace of the house.

After a lot of criticism for reportedly shoddy investigation, the then Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Mayawati, handed the case over to the CBI on June 1, 2008.

The CBI’s handling of the case wasn’t free of controversy either. Two separate CBI teams reached opposing conclusions. One claimed a breakthrough thanks to “scientific evidence”, primarily narco-analysis test reports, and arrested three men – Rajesh Talwar‘s compounder Krishna and two domestic workers from the neighbourhood, Rajkumar and Vijay Mandal. The three men were let go after the CBI failed to chargesheet them.

Then, the CBI constituted a second team to investigate. This one was had to file a ‘closure report’ in court, as investigators said they didn’t have enough evidence to charge anyone for the murders. The CBI special court rejected the ‘closure report’ and ordered the prosecution of the Talwars based on existing evidence.

After their prosecution, the Talwars were convicted of the murders by the CBI court. When they challenged the verdict in the Allahabad high court, they blamed the CBI for “shoddy investigation”.

The murders of Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj gripped the imagination of the nation, indeed several other parts of the world. The interest even resulted in the critically acclaimed film, ‘Talvar’, which was distributed by Junglee Pictures and produced by Vineet Jain and Vishal Bhardwaj. The film was directed by Meghna Gulzar.

In Video: Aarushi verdict: Rajesh and Nupur Talwar acquitted

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