Aarushi murder case: Rajesh, Nupur found guilty, sentencing Tuesday
Almost five-and-a-half years after the sensational murder of teenager Aarushi Talwar and domestic help Hemraj, a special CBI court on Monday ruled that
Almost five-and-a-half years after the sensational murder of teenager Aarushi Talwar and domestic help Hemraj, a special CBI court on Monday ruled that Rajesh and Nupur Talwar were guilty of murdering their daughter Aarushi and their domestic help Hemraj.
The sentencing in the case will be pronounced on Tuesday. Nupur Talwar has been found guilty under sections 34, 302, 201 of IPC, while Rajesh has been found guilty under sections 34, 302, 201, 203 of IPC.
Special Judge S Lal, who is to retire soon, pronounced the verdict following a 15-month-long trial of dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, both of whom have now been taken into custody.
Aarushi and Hemraj were found murdered on the intervening night of 15 -16 May 2008 at their Jalvayu Vihar residence in Noida.
The case has been under intense media glare ever since the murder was first revealed, and in August 2009 the Supreme Court restrained the media from sensational or scandalous reporting of the matter even as the Talwars accused the CBI of changing the course of the investigation and of purportedly releasing leaks that were "damaging" to their reputation.
The Uttar Pradesh Police started its probe on the premise that Hemraj had killed Aarushi and escaped from the crime scene. But following the discovery of Hemraj's body on the terrace of the Talwars' flat the next day, Rajesh Talwar was taken into custody by the UP Police.
The sensational allegations made by the UP Police that the killer was none other than the teenager's father, acting in rage after finding Aarushi and Hemraj in an "objectionable but not compromising" position accentuated media attention.
Amid growing media scrutiny, then UP Chief Minister Mayawati handed over the case to CBI.
A CBI team under Joint Director Arun Kumar first concluded that murders were committed by Krishna Thadarai- who worked as a help at Talwar's clinic, his friend Rajkumar-- a domestic servant with Praful and Anita Durrani who were friends of the Talwars, and Vijay Mandal, who worked as a driver for the Talwar's neighbour.
These findings were subsequently trashed by then CBI Director Ashwani Kumar who poked holes in the theory by underlining loopholes in the arguments given by Arun Kumar. On 25 January 2011, Rajesh was attacked by a youth with a meat cleaver on the Ghaziabad court premises.
The Talwars had subsequently moved the Allahabad High Court, which dismissed their pleas to quash the trial court summons and the proceedings initiated against them.
The couple then approached the apex court but were again denied relief.
The trial in the sensational murders started on 11 June, 2012. The case went on for nearly one and a half years, during which the prosecution led by CBI's Deputy Legal Advisor RK Saini presented 39 witnesses to buttress their case while the defence team presented seven witnesses.
The action in court at times had shades of a Bollywood drama, when the defence lawyer performed a demonstration of an attack with a golf club, by smashing a motorbike helmet and attempted to prove that there was no way the dentist couple would have been able to drag Hemraj's body to the terrace, by dragging a man in a bed sheet before the judge.
The prosecution started its final arguments on 10 October, summing up their case against Rajesh and Nupur running into nearly seven days while the defence started its arguments on 24 October and completed it on 12 November.
The CBI pressed the theory that during the night of murders there was no evidence of any forced entry, and of the four people in the house--Aarushi, Hemraj, Rajesh and Nupur--only two were alive, and hence the circumstantial evidence pointed towards the dentist couple's involvement.
Saini strongly put forward circumstantial evidence--no outsider entry, last scene theory, dressing of crime scene, destruction of evidence, tampering with Aarushi's body and cover up of Hemraj's body with a cooler panel on the terrace--which, he claimed, all pointed to the Talwars guilt.
"Sudden and grave provocation theory, as presented by the defence, is not our theory," Saini said, adding that Rajesh Talwar had entered Aarushi's room armed with a golf club, with the intention of committing a crime.
"Talwars tried to mislead this court by creating the sudden and grave provocation theory at the final stage of this case," Saini had told the court.
Quoting from a statement by the Talwars former maid Bharti, he argued that when the maid reached for work on the morning of 16 May 2008, the outermost door had been locked from the "inside" which proved that outsiders could not be involved in the crime.
Defence lawyer Tanveer Ahmed Mir countered this by saying that the latch of the Talwar's iron gate was locked from "outside" and not from inside, and added that the Hemraj's room was located in a way that made it possible for an outsider to enter the house.
During final arguments, Saini told the court that the doctors who conducted the post mortems on both victims had made statements to the effect that the injuries visible on Aarushi's forehead and Hemraj's head could have been made with a golf club.
Refuting the claims, Mir said if the CBI case was to be believed, then Hemraj's injuries would have resulted in a pool of blood which was not visible at the crime scene.
"...but in this case no blood, no DNA, no biological fluid and no finger prints which belonged to Hemraj were found in the Aarushi's room and it suggests that Hemraj was not murdered in Aarushi's room," Mir had told the court.
The defence also claimed that the injuries inflicted with a golf club would have resulted in a "depressed fracture" whereas Aarushi's post-mortem reports show a line fracture.
The CBI suffered a major setback when the Talwar's former domestic maid said her testimony had been coached. The defence also alleged that CBI mishandled evidence of 12 golf clubs and a golf club bag.
The prosecution also said that Aarushi and Hemraj's DNA had been found on a bottle of Ballantine's scotch seized by the Noida police on the morning of May 16, 2008.
"This indicates the involvement of the dentist couple in the murder. Suppose, if the killers were outsiders, they would not have the guts to consume whisky from the bottle after murdering Aarushi and Hemraj. As per the CBI's theory, Rajesh Talwar had consumed whisky from his Ballantine's scotch bottle during murders with small gaps," Saini had argued.
Arguing against this piece of evidence, Mir said when the bottle of scotch was sent for forensic examination, forensic expert AD Shah found five finger prints from the bottle, none of which belonged to the dentist couple.
"Besides, 24 chance prints were also taken from different places like the TV remote, walls, and Aarushi's bedsheet, but no blood or DNA belonging to Hemraj was found from the Talwars' residence," he argued.
Saini in his concluding arguments had said that the CBI had proved charges of murder with common intention and destruction of evidence. On the other hand, Talwars' lawyer Mir had said that their arguments prove that Talwars have not committed crime.
With PTI inputs
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