In May 2008, Aarushi Talwar, a 14-year-old, was discovered murdered in her bed at home. Initially, suspicion fell on the domestic help, Hemraj, but the case became more complicated when his lifeless body was also found on the house’s terrace. Subsequently, an extensive investigation unfolded, involving various investigative bodies and was labeled as a “botched investigation.” ‘Aarushi- Beyond Reasonable Doubt’ delves into the conviction of Aarushi’s parents, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, for the double homicide, shedding light on the weaknesses in the case against them.
Who are Aarushi Talwar’s Parents?
On May 16, 2008, Noida residents Rajesh and Nupur Talwar discovered the lifeless body of their 14-year-old daughter, Aarushi Talwar, in her bed. Suspecting the involvement of the domestic help, Hemraj Banjade, who was missing from the home, they informed the police who started an investigation. However, Hemraj’s body was found on May 17, positioned on the terrace of the house. The scene was marked by a pool of blood, and there were evident drag marks, suggesting that his body had been pulled to a corner and covered with a lid from a fan cooler.
The Uttar Pradesh State Police shifted their suspicion toward the Talwars in connection with the murders. They contended that Rajesh and Nupur Talwar were the only two individuals present in the house aside from the victims, and it was deemed implausible that they would not have heard any altercation. The police put forth the theory that Rajesh Talwar, in a fit of rage, had allegedly killed his daughter and Hemraj upon discovering them in a “compromising situation” at home, framing the incident as a case of “honor killing.”
Consequently, on May 23, 2008, Rajesh Talwar was taken into custody by the police. Given the widespread attention the case garnered, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took over the investigation on June 31, 2008, with Arun Kumar leading the team. The CBI initiated a probe into the potential involvement of other domestic helpers in the vicinity. Their examination of items recovered from Hemraj’s room suggested the presence of additional individuals in the house on the night of the murder.
The CBI detained Krishna, the Talwars’ assistant, along with Rajkumar Sharma and Vijay Mandal for questioning. Subsequently, they submitted a report to the Special Metropolitan Magistrate in Ghaziabad, asserting that Rajesh Talwar should be released from custody due to insufficient evidence. Rajesh Talwar was granted bail on July 11, 2008. The statements and evidence collected from the three suspects—Krishna, Rajkumar, and Vijay Mandal—were not conclusive.
In September 2009, a new CBI team took over the case and conducted a comprehensive examination of the crime scene. The subsequent report in December 2009 exonerated Krishna, Rajkumar, and Vijay Mandal, stating that the crime scene had been manipulated and there was no indication of anyone else being present. The new team, however, identified the parents as potential suspects based on circumstantial evidence and named Rajesh Talwar as the sole suspect. They demanded that the case be closed due to insufficient evidence.
Aarushi Talwar’s Parents are Cleared of All Charges Today
In January 2011, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar filed a petition challenging the CBI’s recommendation to close the case. On January 25, 2011, while Rajesh Talwar was en route to the Ghaziabad trial court, he was assaulted by an unknown assailant in a public setting with a butcher’s knife. The hearing for the day was dismissed by the court. However, the special CBI court rejected their plea, and in February 2011, the closure report was converted into a chargesheet against both Rajesh and Nupur Talwar.
Despite petitioning at the Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court of India against the summoning, their pleas were rejected. In March 2012, the CBI requested in court the cancellation of Rajesh Talwar’s bail, and on April 30, 2012, Nupur Talwar was also taken into custody. On May 25, both of them were charged with murder, destruction of evidence, and conspiracy by the Ghaziabad trial court. On September 25, Nupur Talwar was released on bail for three weeks due to the ailing health of her parents, but their case continued.
On November 25, 2013, the court delivered its verdict, finding Rajesh and Nupur guilty of the murders of Aarushi Talwar, their daughter, and Hemraj Banjade, their domestic help. They were also convicted of destruction of evidence, misleading the probe, and filing a false FIR. Both of them were sentenced to life imprisonment. The Talwars’ defense team claimed that the evidence proving their innocence was not presented in court. In January 2014, they challenged the decision of the lower court in the Allahabad High Court.
On October 12, 2017, the High Court acquitted the Talwars of all charges against them. The court stated that the evidence presented by the CBI against the Talwars did not establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and, therefore, they should be given the benefit of the doubt. The Talwars were released from Dasna Jail in October 2017. Following their release, they went to Jal Vayu Vihar in Sector 25, Noida, where they stayed at Nupur’s parents’ house. Their old apartment, where their daughter was murdered, is also located in the same complex but is currently occupied by tenants.
According to statements from jail staff, the Talwars did not collect the money they had earned while working in prison. During their time in jail, both of them provided free dental services to the incarcerated individuals and the prison staff, pledging to continue offering their services even after their release. In March 2018, the CBI challenged the High Court’s acquittal and took the case to the Supreme Court of India. In August 2018, the Supreme Court admitted the CBI’s appeal, but as of now, the hearings and proceedings have not commenced.
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