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.
Here is a look at what has happened so far in the case, which began with a double murder in Noida in 2008:
- May 16, 2008: Fourteen-year-old Aarushi Talwar is found murdered inside her bedroom in the Talwars’ flat in Noida. The police initially suspect Hemraj, their domestic help, of being the murderer, but find his decomposed body inside a locked room in their building’s terrace a day later (May 17). The police then begin to suspect the Talwars and say her father Rajesh Talwar had murdered the two after finding them in an “objectionable” position.
- May 23, 2008: Aarushi’s father Rajesh Talwar is arrested by the Noida Police, and the police issues a narrative of how and why the murders took place.
- June 1, 2008: The Central Bureau of Investigation takes over the inquiry after the Noida Police is criticised for losing crucial forensic evidence during its investigation.
- June, 2008: The CBI exonerates the parents and suspects the Talwars’ assistant Krishna and two others, Rajkumar Sharma and Vijay Mandal, who worked as domestic help. The CBI conducts lie detection tests on both of Aarushi’s parents.
- July, 2008: The CBI files a report before the Special Metropolitan Magistrate, Ghaziabad, asking for Rajesh Talwar’s release on grounds of insufficient evidence. Rajesh Talwar released.
- September, 2009: The CBI hands over the investigation to another team. Soon, the probe again shifts towards the Talwars.
- December, 2010: The new CBI team says the case should be closed because of critical gaps in the investigation. Based on circumstantial evidence, it names Rajesh Talwar as the sole suspect, but does not charge him because of lack of evidence.
- February, 2011: A trial court rejects the CBI’s claim that there was not enough evidence and said the Talwars should be tried. The Talwars approach the Allahabad High Court, which dismisses their appeal. The Talwars move the Supreme Court.
- January, 2012: The Supreme Court rejects their plea, and asks for the trial to continue.
- April, 2012: Aarushi’s mother, Nupur Talwar, is arrested.
- May, 2012: The Talwars are charged with murder, conspiracy and destruction of evidence.
- November, 2013: CBI Judge Shyam Lal pronounces the parents guilty of both murders and of destroying evidence. The trial court also rules that there was no evidence to show that an outsider had entered the house after 9.30 pm on the night of the murder. They are sentenced to life imprisonment, and sent to Dasna jail.
- January, 2017: A division bench of the Allahabad High Court, comprising Justice AK Mishra and Justice BK Narayana, reserves its judgment on the Talwars’ appeal, but later decides to hear the appeals afresh as it found contradictions in some submissions made by the CBI.
- October 12, 2017: The division bench of the Allahabad High Court overturns the CBI court’s judgement, and acquits Rajesh and Nupur Talwar. The bench says there were loopholes in the inquiry done by the Central Bureau of Investigation.