Talwar relatives 'grateful'

Relatives of dentists Rajesh and Nupur Talwar today thanked Allahabad High Court for acquitting the couple of the 2008 murder of their 14-year-old daughter Aarushi and servant Hemraj Banjade.

By PTI and Imran Ahmed Siddiqui
  • Published 13.10.17
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Aarushi 

New Delhi, Oct. 12: Relatives of dentists Rajesh and Nupur Talwar today thanked Allahabad High Court for acquitting the couple of the 2008 murder of their 14-year-old daughter Aarushi and servant Hemraj Banjade.

"They (the Talwars) have really suffered. At my age it was very trying to see my daughter behind bars," Nupur's father B.G. Chitnis, a former air force group captain, said.

Rajesh, 53, and Nupur, 51, have spent nearly four years in jail after being convicted and handed life sentences by a CBI court, but are expected to be freed tomorrow.

Vandana Talwar, an aunt of Aarushi, said: "It's been an exhausting journey for us. We are really grateful to the high court."

Filmmakers Vishal Bhardwaj and Meghna Gulzar, who had made the 2015 film Talvar on the case showing three possible alternative solutions, welcomed the high court verdict.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah accused the police of having made a "total dog's breakfast" of the investigation, which was marked by bloopers and somersaults by the cops and the CBI.

Former CBI director Amar Pratap Singh today accepted that the investigation had holes but said the agency should challenge the verdict because the court had merely given the benefit of the doubt and not a clean chit to the accused.

Singh was CBI director when the agency had, in December 2010, sought to close the case for lack of clear evidence against the Talwars only for the trial court to ask it to treat its closure report as the chargesheet.

"There were holes in our investigation, and we mentioned it in our closure report. We suspected the Talwars but did not get enough evidence against them," Singh told The Telegraph .

The holes had been many. For instance, the post-mortem said that Aarushi was raped and killed but a forensic lab later ruled that the vaginal swab the CBI had forwarded it for confirmation was not Aarushi's.

Agency sources today suggested the murder scene was "dressed up" and the samples the police had collected - such as the mattress, bed sheet, pillow and Aarushi's clothes - were "contaminated". They would not be quoted on who may have tampered with them.

Five fingerprints were found on a bottle, with three fit for comparison, but none matched those of Rajesh and Nupur, the sources said. The bottle was sent to Scotland Yard for advanced forensic tests but the Yard refused to accept it, saying the evidence was contaminated, they added.

The sources could not explain why, before accusing the Talwars, the agency had given them a clean chit and arrested three employees of the couple and their friends and neighbours. Nor could the agency establish motive against the parents.

"The findings of the investigation reveal a number of circumstances that indicate the involvement of the parents in the crime and the cover-up. However, there are a number of critical and serious gaps in the circumstances which make it difficult to string together the sequence of events and (the) motive behind the gruesome murder," the CBI's closure report said.

The CBI spokesperson tonight said the agency would decide whether to challenge the verdict after examining the order.