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Why Rajesh, Nupur Talwar were acquitted in Aarushi murder case: No motive, no witness, no proof

India Today logo India Today 13-10-2017 IndiaToday.in
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Who killed Aarushi Talwar? The question, for now, will remained unanswered after the Allahabad High Court today acquitted Rajesh and Nupur Talwar - the parents of Aarushi - of the gruesome 2008 Noida double murder.

A division bench of the high court gave the Talwars the benefit of the doubt while overturning a Central Bureau of Investigation court judgement that had convicted and sentenced Rajesh and Nupur Talwar to life for murdering their daughter Aarushi and domestic help 45-year-old Hemraj Banjade.

What is the Aarushi Talwar murder case?

The Talwars, who are currently incarcerated at the Dasna jail, expressed happiness after the verdict, saying that they have finally got justice. Why is it that the Allahabad High Court chose to acquit the Talwars of the double murder?

Reading out the verdict, the judges of the high court made three observations to dismiss the case against the Talwars.

Complete coverage of Aarushi murder case

The judges said that the CBI had failed to provide any direct evidence linking Rajesh and Nupur Talwar to the murders. 

There were no eye-witnesses who could say that Rajesh and Nupur Talwars were involved in murdering Aarushi and Hemraj, the judges also said.

Furthermore, the judges said, the Central Bureau of Investigation had failed to establish a valid motive for the murders.

The judges went on to not that the Supreme Court has directed in several cases that if there is no direct evidence and connecting evidence, benefit of doubt should be given to the accused.

Considering these factors, the Allahabad High Court ruled in favour of the Talwars' appeal against their conviction, ruling that Rajesh and Nupur, who were sentenced to life, must be set free.

'SCENE OF MURDER TAMPERED'

Did the CBI, like the Nodia Police that initially investigated the murders, botch up the Aarushi-Hemraj murder investigation? AP Singh, who was the agency boss around the time of the investigation, hinted that the CBI had been handicapped since the very beginning.

"Only weakness we found was that scene of crime had been badly tampered on the 1st day itself," Singh told news agency ANI in his reaction to the Allahabad High Court acquitting Rajesh and Nupur Talwar. " As a result, after that we got nothing of value from the scene of crime. That was the major lacuna in the entire investigation".

Notably, Singh was the CBI director when the agency made its now-famous declaration in court that while it suspected Rajesh Talwar of murdering Aarushi and Hemraj, it did not have enough evidence to prove the case. And so, the agency told the court, it was filing a closure report in the double murder.

The court, however did not allow the CBI to file the closure report, which, incidently, was opposed by the Talwars as well. The court instead ordered that Rajesh and Nupur Talwar stand trial on charges of murdering Aarushi and Hemraj.

SENSATION

The murders, when discovered on the morning of May 16, 2008 created a media sensation of sorts. The case made national headlines, was a topic of many primetime discussions and even became the subject of books and movies.

The double murders were initially investigated by the Noida Police, which lay the blame on Rajesh Talwar. Uttar Pradesh Police officials added to the sensation, making controversial statements, including one where the IG of police Gurdarshan Singh told media that the double murders were a case of honour killing.

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With the UP Police coming under criticism for how it had handled the probe, the case was transferred to the CBI, which constituted a team led by joint director Arun Kumar to investigate the double murder.

Kumar's team began their investigation on June 1, 2008 and on July 11 the same year, said there was no evidence against the Talwars to prosecute them in the Aarushi-Hemraj murder case. The team also arrested Raj Kumar, Krishna and Vijay Mandal - three domestic helps who knew the Talwar family as well as Hemraj - on suspicion of committing the murders.

The agency, however, did not file a charge-sheet, saying they did not have enough evidence to prosecute the three domestic helps.

Kumar was then transferred back to his parent cadre and a new CBI team led by Neelabh Kishore, an SP-rank officer, began fresh investigations September 2009.

The new team turned the Aarushi murder case on its head, concluding that Kumar, Krishna and Vijay Mandal were not responsible for the murders. On December 29, 2010 the CBI filed a closure report in a special court, saying that while it believed Rajesh Talwar had committed the murders, they did not have enough evidence to prosecute him.

The court rejected the closure report, ordered trail under Rajesh and Nupur Talwar and on November 25, 2013 ultimately convicted the two for murder Aarushi and Hemraj.

(With inputs from Shivendra Srivastava)

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