The streaming app Hotstar has scored an exclusive interview with Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, who were acquitted after spending four years in prison for the murders of their 13-year-old daughter Aarushi and their domestic worker Hemraj Banjade in 2008. The Allahabad High Court observed in its order that the Central Bureau of Investigation, which took over the case from the local police, had “failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Talwars are guilty”, and that “The Talwars did not kill their daughter Aarushi...They must be given benefit of doubt.”
In the interview, the Talwars described their acquittal as a “miracle” and a “very emotional moment”. They learnt of their eventual freedom from other inmates at the Dasna prison, where they had been lodged since 2013. “It was like a load had been lifted off my back,” Rajesh Talwar said. “Our stand had been vindicated... (But) That’s one tragedy we will never be able to put behind us.”
Nupur Talwar added, “I found the whole thing to be unbelievable. I felt a great miracle had happened.”
Acres of newsprint have been expounded on the double murders, which took place on May 15, 2008, at the Talwar apartment in Noida near Delhi. Journalist Avirook Sen produced a non-fiction account, Aarushi, based on the investigation and the trial, while Meghna Gulzar’s movie Talvar (2015), also revisited what was widely believed to be a travesty of justice.
The Talwars address several issues during the interview – of coping with imprisonment, trying to pick up the pieces and start all over again, and dedicating the rest of their lives not just to the memory of their dead daughter, but also others like her. Nupur Talwar speaks movingly of developing a bond with a young girl who was housed along with her mother at Dasna. “Four years I survived in jail because of this girl,” she said.
The Talwars describe the first two years of their incarceration as particularly hellish, but their agony was somewhat mitigated by the sympathy they received from other inmates at Dasna. An unnamed friend counselled them through the years, while the couple, both dentists, also drew succour from the permission they received from prison authorities to practise their profession within the confines of the jail.
A trip to the Golden Temple in Amritsar after they were set free also indicated how public perception had swung from labelling the couple as child-killers to victims of a miscarriage of justice. The couple reiterated their faith in the almighty, and they invoked the ultimate judge of human actions when asked about who they thought really killed Aarushi and Hemraj. “God is the biggest judge,” Rajesh Talwar said. “We leave it to god.”
The couple deflected questions on the role of Krishna, Rajesh Talwar’s compounder, in the murders, and also avoided commenting on whether bias in the media, the police force and the lower judiciary had led to their arrest. “It’s all on paper, I don’t need to say anything, I don’t think we need to talk about it,” Rajesh Talwar simply said. “This should never happen to anybody again.”
The couple now wants to “live with Aarushi’s memories”. Losing your child is “the worst suffering any human can go through”, Rajesh Talwar pointed out. “It is difficult to go on, but you try to seek happiness by helping others… helping other girls,” he added.