The Allahabad High Court on Thursday acquitted Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, the dentist couple who were convicted in 2013 for killing their 14-year-old daughter Aarushi and their domestic help Hemraj in Noida. The bench pronounced its verdict after pinpointing loopholes in the inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The Talwars had appealed against their conviction after they were sentenced to life in prison by a special CBI court in Ghaziabad in November 2013. Apart from the murders, they were also convicted for destroying evidence. Rajesh Talwar was convicted of giving false statements to the police.
Justice BK Narayan and Justice Arvind Kumar Mishra overturned this CBI court ruling and allowed their appeal, exonerating them in the murder case.
“The conviction cannot be based on suspicion,” the judges said, according to CNN-News18. “The CBI failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Talwars are guilty. The Talwars did not kill their daughter Aarushi...They must be given benefit of doubt.”
The CBI said it would decide on its next steps after receiving a copy of the verdict. The investigative agency had sought the death penalty for the Talwars before they were sentenced to life.
Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, who are lodged in Ghaziabad’s Dasna Jail, will be released once the court order reaches the prison superintendent and formalities are completed. The couple has been behind bars since November 2013.
On May 16, 2008, Aarushi Talwar was found murdered inside her bedroom in the Talwars’ flat in Noida. The police initially suspected Hemraj, their domestic help, of being the murderer, but found his decomposed body inside a locked room in their building’s terrace a day later. The police then began to suspect the Talwars and said Rajesh had murdered the two after finding them in an “objectionable” position.
The Noida Police had handed the case over to the CBI after being criticised for losing crucial forensic evidence during its investigation. A court had rejected the CBI’s claim that there was not enough evidence and said the Talwars should be tried. In November 2013, it had pronounced the parents guilty of both murders and destruction of evidence.