Guilty but doubts linger

New Delhi :  A special CBI court has pronounced the politically well connected dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar guilty in the sensational double murder of their 14 year old daughter Aarushi, and domestic help Hemraj.

Guilty but doubts linger

Judge Shyam Lal of the CBI court at Ghaziabad, who is to lay down office at the end of the month, is to pronounce the sentence on Tuesday.

The operative portion from his order said that both the parents have been convicted for murder and destruction of evidence and on the charge of committing an act in furtherance of common intention. Both of them were taken into custody after the verdict and sent to jail.

The sensational murder of the 14-year old charming school student in 2008 in an upper middle class locality in Noida in 2008 is seen as a classic case of trial by media, and has gone through several ups and downs.

Initially, the domestic help Hemraj was suspected of the crime, but when days later his body was discovered on the rooftop of the building, came the first twist to the case.

Then a senior police officer told a press conference that the father had murdered Aarushi. The latter had seen her in an ‘objectionable’ position with the domestic help.

There was an outrage over the statement, and the officer was transferred. The case was then handed over to the CBI and the Talwars were given a clean chit as the agency failed to file a charge sheet against them.

But then the case took another turn and the CBI accused the Talwars of the crime. Later a new team from the CBI took over the investigation, and filed a closure report observing that even though the Talwars were the accused, there was no evidence against them. But the closure report became the starting point of a fresh case against the Talwars, and even the Supreme Court did not come to their rescue.

Freaks in history of mankind…

The Talwars were compared in the Aarushi verdict to “freaks in the history of mankind.’’ “The parents are the best protectors of their own children. That is the order of the human nature but there have been freaks in the history of mankind where the father and the mother became the killer of their own progeny. The Talwars extirpated their own daughter, who hardly had seen 14 summers of her life,’’ said the judge in his 204-page verdict. Judge Shyam Lal also said the Talwars had been found guilty “of secreting and obliterating the evidence of the commission of the murders to screen themselves from legal punishment.

” The couple will be  sentenced on Tuesday: The minimum sentence is life in prison.

The crime remains a mystery as no reconstruction of the crime has been undertaken by the investigating agencies. The Talwars have repeatedly said they are innocent, and have suggested that outsiders known to Hemraj may have entered their home and killed their daughter.

The CBI has acknowledged that it has no material or forensic evidence to link the Talwars to the murders. It has based its case on the “last-seen theory” which holds that the victims were last seen with the Talwars.

Portraying themselves as victims, the Talwars said in a statement after the verdict, “We are deeply hurt and anguished over the crime we have not committed, we refuse to be defeated and will continue to fight for justice. We refuse to feel defeated.”

The couple reportedly broke down in the court.

Vandana Talwar, a relative  of Rajesh and Nupur, blamed the CBI for ignoring the evidence that she claimed pointed towards others being involved in the grisly crime. “The fact is evidence was overlooked by the CBI in this case, truth has been suppressed. There is a media trial, even the court verdict is against us.’’

Speaking from Toronto in Canada, Aarushi’s aunt said that the entire family was shattered by the judgement. “I am disillusioned by India’s justice system. Perception went against the couple. They were just a middle class couple. Their lifestyle went against them. Investigation was based on public perception. On the contrary there is a definite proof against the others. The CBI has botched up the investigation. It was our mistake to approach the CBI,’’ she said.

Legal experts have opined that the conviction of Aarushi’s parents for the double murder is based on some strong circumstantial evidence.

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