The Allahabad High Court has acquitted dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar in connection with the murder of their 14 year old daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj. On September 7, a division bench of the high court comprising justices B K Narayana and AK Mishra had reserved its judgement on the plea filed by dentist couple challenging their conviction.
Setting aside an earlier verdict, the Allahabad High Court likened the trial court judge to a “math teacher” and a “film director trying to thrust coherence into scattered facts”.
“The learned trial Judge cannot act like a math teacher who is solving a mathematical question by analogy after taking certain figure for granted… Like a film Director, the trial judge has tried to thrust coherence amongst facts inalienably scattered here and there but not giving any coherence to the idea as to what in fact happened,” the judgement says.
The High Court admitted Talwar’ plea and observed that the couple could not be held guilty on basis of circumstantial evidence. Now what remains unsolved is who killed the 14-year-old and the domestic help. On May 16, 2008, 14-year-old Aarushi Talwar was found murdered at her Jalvayu Vihar residence in Noida sector 25. Today, October 12, almost 10 years later, the Allahabad High Court delivered judgement on an appeal filed by Aarushi’s parents Nupur and Rajesh Talwar.
Initially, Aarushi’s murder looked like an open and shut case when the needle of suspicion moved towards the 45-year-old domestic help, Hemraj, who was missing. But, this theory crashed when two days later Hemraj’s body was also recovered on the terrace of Talwar’s Noida residence.
The barbaric nature of the double murder, the botched up investigation, the unusual suspects, Aarushi’s sensationalised character assassination, undignified statements made by Dr Sunil Kumar Dohare, the medical officer, and incessant media coverage turned this into one of the most followed murder mysteries. A book (by Avirook Sen) and a Bollywood film titled Talwar were inspired by the high-profile double murder case.
In the beginning, the Uttar Pradesh Police was in the eye of the storm for its shoddy investigation- their inability to cordon off the crime scene, failing to collect crucial pieces of evidence including fingerprints and failing to inspect the crime scene. Soon, the then Mayawati government handed the matter to Central Bureau of Investigation.
Here is the timeline of events of the high profile double murder case
May 16: Aarushi Talwar was found dead with her throat slit in her bedroom in the Talwars’ Noida residence. At first, Hemraj, who was missing, was the prime suspect.
May 17: Body of Hemraj, the Talwars’ Nepalese domestic help, found on the terrace.
May 18: Noida Police says the double murder was done with surgical precision, insider job suspected.
May 19: Talwars’ former domestic help Vishnu Sharma named as the suspect.
May 21: Delhi Police joins the murder probe.
May 22: Needle of suspicion moves towards Aarushi’s father as the police probes honour killing angle. The police quiz Aarushi’s close friend with whom she spoke to 688 times in the 45 days preceding her murder.
May 23: Aarushi’s father Dr Rajesh Talwar arrested for double murders.
May 29: UP government transfers the case to CBI.
June 1: CBI takes charge of the investigation.
June 13: Krishna, the Nepalese compounder of Dr. Rajesh Talwar, arrested. The arrest follows polygraph test and Narco Analysis test of the suspect. He was earlier subjected to polygraph test twice at Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Delhi as well as psychological assessment test at AIIMS, New Delhi on June 9.
June 20: Lie detection test of Rajesh Talwar conducted at CFSL, Delhi.
June 25: Second lie detection test conducted on Aarushi’s mother, Nupur Talwar. Her first lie detection test was found inconclusive.
June 26: CBI dubs it as a “blind case”. Ghaziabad magistrate rejects the bail plea of Rajesh Talwar.
July 12: Rajesh set free by the court after CBI fails to present evidence against him. He moved out of Dasna Jail in Ghaziabad.
February: Narco-analysis tests conducted on Rajesh Talwar between February 15 to February 20.
September 4: The Central Forensic Laboratory in Hyderabad releases a report that Aarushi’s vaginal samples were substituted with those of an unknown woman. The correct samples could have helped to establish who killed the teenager and whether she was sexually assaulted before being stabbed.
September 14: Delhi police recovers Aarushi’s mobile phone in Bulandshahr.
Jan 5: CBI moves the court to conduct narco test on Talwar couple.
July 21: Dr. Rajesh Talwar moves the court to have a restraining order passed against the unethical and misleading information being published by some print media outlets. CBI reportedly seeks the help of foreign forensic labs to crack the case.
December 29: CBI team files a closure report citing “insufficient evidence.” Servants get a clean chit and Rajesh Talwar remains the sole suspect.
January 25: Rajesh Talwar attacked by Utsav Sharma on the Special CBI court premises in Ghaziabad, suffers injuries.
February 9: Trial court rejects CBI’s closure report and summons Aarushi’s parents as accused in the Aarushi-Hemraj murder.
February 21: Talwars move Allahabad High Court for quashing trial court summons.
March 18: Allahabad HC rejects Talwar’s plea.
March 19: The couple approaches the Supreme Court.
January 6: Supreme Court says the bail granted to Rajesh Talwar by the lower court in the ‘Aarushi murder case’ would continue and that he should appear before the Ghaziabad Magistrate on February 4 to face trial along with his wife, Nupur Talwar.
March 12: The CBI argues in court for cancellation of Rajesh’s bail.
April: Nupur Talwar arrested for ignoring orders to appear in court; she was released on bail in September 2012.
May: Rajesh and Nupur charged by Ghaziabad court with murder, destruction of evidence and conspiracy.
September: Nupur Talwar released on bail.
April: CBI officer tells the court that Aarushi, Hemraj were killed by the Talwars. CBI also tells the court that Aarushi and Hemraj were found in objectionable position.
May 3: Defence counsel pleads before a special court to summon 14 people, including former CBI joint director Arun Kumar as the witness. CBI opposes the plea.
May 6: Trial court dismisses Talwar’s petition for summoning 14 witnesses. It orders the recording of statements of Rajesh and Nupur.
May 13: Supreme Court refuses to entertain the Talwars’ plea.
October: Final arguments begin. CBI closes arguments, says Talwars misled investigators.
November 25: The couple is convicted for the double-murder and sentenced to life imprisonment by a special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Ghaziabad.
October 2015: Film based on Aarushi murder hit cinemas. Arun Kumar, who led the CBI investigation into the case says that he believes Aarushi’s parents Rajesh and Nupur Talwar are innocent.
Aug 2016: Nupur Talwar granted parole for three weeks to visit her mother in Noida.
September 2017: A division bench of the high court comprising justices B K Narayana and AK Mishra reserves its judgement on the plea filed by dentist couple, fixes October 12 as the date of announcing the verdict.
Oct 12, 2017: The Allahabad High Court is all set to deliver its verdict.
Edited by Jayashri Jayashankar