Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court on Thursday acquitted Nupur and Rajesh Talwar in the 2008 murder of their teenage daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj, saying that neither the circumstances nor the evidence was enough to hold them guilty.
The verdict ends the nine-year ordeal of the Noida-based dentist couple who were sentenced to life by a Ghaziabad CBI court on November 28, 2013 for the double murder that captivated and shook the nation with its element of filicide.
The Talwars are expected to be freed on Friday from Ghaziabad’s Dasna jail after the completion of paperwork.
“I am grateful to the judiciary for the verdict,” said BG Chitnis, Nupur’s father and a former Group Captain in the Indian Air Force.
“They have really suffered. They are emotionally drained. At my age it was very trying to see my daughter behind bars,” he told reporters in New Delhi.
“It’s been an exhausting journey for us. We are really grateful to the high court for having acquitted and ending the injustice meted out to them,” said Vandana Talwar, an aunt of Aarushi who was 14 when she was killed.
A division bench comprising justices BK Narayana and AK Mishra upheld the Talwars’ appeal against the CBI court verdict, holding that the circumstances of the case and the evidence on record did not established a chain showing their involvement in the murders of Aarushi and Hemraj.
Pronouncing the verdict in a packed court room, the bench said that it is a fit case where benefit of doubt can be given to the appellants and set aside the judgement of the CBI court convicting the Talwars who were arrested in May 2008.
The CBI said it would study the High Court order and decide the future course of action.
The jailor of the Dasna prison, Dadhiram Maurya, said the Talwars felt they have got justice and were praying.
“After having breakfast they were praying. Their schedule was normal. She (Nupur Talwar) said they got justice today and had tears of joy.
“Any person after spending this amount of jail will feel happy to get freedom. So they were happy after they were told about the news,” he said.
Lawyer Rebecca John, who was part of Talwars’ legal team, said she was relieved by the judgement. She claimed the whole case was based on “innuendos” and would “not have carried through”.
John hoped that the Talwars, who have been in media spotlight for over nine years, will be allowed privacy after their release from the jail. 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 at the time was missing. 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 which was making national headlines, the then chief minister Mayawati recommended a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).