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Talwars did not kill Aarushi: HC

Lucknow, October 13
Reversing a CBI court judgment, the Allahabad High Court today acquitted dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar of the charge of murdering their 14-year-old daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj, 45, in May 2008.
They are expected to be freed from Ghaziabad’s Dasna jail tomorrow after the completion of paperwork.
The 263-page verdict ends, at least for now, the nine- year ordeal of the Noida couple, who were sentenced to life by a Ghaziabad CBI court in November 2013 for the double murder that not only transfixed but also shook the nation with its element of filicide. But the central question remains — who killed Aarushi and Hemraj?

The Division Bench of Justices BK Narayana and AK Mishra read out the operative part of the judgment in a jam-packed courtroom and acquitted the couple, saying neither the circumstances nor the evidence was enough to hold them guilty.
Ending the Talwars’ nine-year ordeal, the court said the Central Bureau of Investigation had based its case purely on circumstantial evidence that did not quite add up. Finding no direct evidence, the court gave the benefit of doubt to the couple and quashed the CBI court’s sentence of life imprisonment.
On November 25, 2013, the CBI trial court had held them guilty of the double murder. Since then, the Talwars have been imprisoned in Dasna jail, Ghaziabad. They challenged the CBI verdict in the Allahabad High Court in January 2014. Their repeated pleas for bail were turned down. After daily hearings, the High Court concluded the arguments and reserved its judgment on September 7 this year.
According to the counsel for the Talwars, the court said there was a “strong alternative theory” in the case. He said the court refuted the CBI theory that there was no third person in the house when the murders took place.
CBI counsels said they would first study the entire judgment and then decide if the verdict was to be challenged in the Supreme Court or not.
Dasna prison jailer Dadhiram Maurya said the Talwars felt they had got justice and were praying. “After having breakfast, they had been praying. Their schedule was normal. She (Nupur Talwar) said they got justice today and had tears of joy.”
Aarushi was found dead inside her room in the Talwars’ Noida residence with her throat slit in May 2008. The suspicion initially fell on 45-year-old Hemraj, who was missing at that time. But his body was recovered from the terrace of the house a day later.
As the Uttar Pradesh Police drew flak over shoddy investigation into the case, the then Chief Minister Mayawati recommended a probe by the CBI.
Group Captain BG Chitnis (retd), Nupur Talwar’s father, said, “I am grateful to the judiciary for the verdict. They have really suffered. They are emotionally drained. At my age, it was very trying to see my daughter behind bars.”
Vandana Talwar, Aarushi’s aunt, said, “It’s been an exhausting journey for us.”
Lawyer Rebecca John, who was part of the Talwars’ legal team, claimed the whole case was based on “innuendos”.