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A dad & mom convicted of murdering their child

Aarushi’s mother Nupur and (below) father Rajesh Talwar
A senior citizen, identified by lawyers as Aarushi’s grandfather, covers his face in anguish outside the Ghaziabad court on Monday. Pictures by Yasir Iqbal

Ghaziabad, Nov. 25: Dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar were today convicted of murdering their teenaged daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj with a golf club, the judge making a reference to “freaks in the history of mankind” who kill “their own progeny”.

Rajesh, 49, and Nupur, 47, issued a statement declaring their innocence and their lawyer hoped the high court would set aside the conviction in a case even the CBI admitted was based on circumstantial evidence.

The verdict came in a matter of minutes today in the five-year-old case, which had grabbed national attention amid allegations of sleaze and sex, police goof-ups and CBI flip-flops.

Special CBI judge Shyam Lal, who retires on November 30, arrived in the packed courtroom at 3.20pm, summoned both the accused and immediately read out the operative part of his 240-page judgment.

“Both are held guilty of murder and destruction of evidence,” said the judge, who will tomorrow hear arguments on the punishment, which would be a life term or the noose.

“The parents are the best protectors of their own children. That is the order of human nature but there have been freaks in the history of mankind where the father and mother became the killer of their own progeny. They have extirpated their own daughter, who had hardly seen 14 summers of her life, and the servantů in the breach of the commandment ‘Thou shall not kill which God has created sacred’,” the judgment said.

According to the CBI, which had five years ago given Rajesh a clean chit saying it had found no motive, the dentist killed Aarushi and Hemraj at their home on May 15-16 night, 2008, in a fit of rage after finding them in an “objectionable” position. It says Nupur helped in the crime.

Rajesh has also been convicted of registering a false FIR and misleading investigators by hiding Hemraj’s body and pinning the blame on the missing servant.

The couple broke down inside the courtroom, as did Nupur’s elderly parents. Rajesh and Nupur spoke to their relatives and lawyers for about 20 minutes before being whisked away through the judge’s door to avoid the media.

“We are deeply disappointed, extremely hurt and anguished for being convicted of a crime we did not commit,” the couple’s statement said.

CBI lawyer R.K. Saini conceded that “the main thrust of the case was based on circumstantial evidence”.

“The CBI is against us without any evidence. Everybody turned against us, including the media,” Nupur’s younger sister Vandana said.

Noida police, who initially probed the murder, had made several lapses — including failure to find Hemraj’s body for 24 hours. They later courted controversy by making unsavoury comments on the dentist couple’s lifestyle.

The police arrested Rajesh but he received bail after the case was handed over to the CBI, which found nothing in a lie-detector test. The agency then floated the theory that three domestic hands had killed Aarushi after a failed rape attempt that was resisted by Hemraj.

Krishna, Rajkumar and Vijay, out on bail, were formally acquitted today. “Justice has been done to them,” their lawyer Fakir Chand Sharma said.

In December 2010, the CBI submitted a closure report ruling out any outsider role and saying only the parents could have killed Aarushi, but also citing the lack of direct evidence. The trial court rejected the request and directed the agency to use the report as the chargesheet.

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