Doctor parents to be tried for Aarushi’s murder (Roundup)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

GHAZIABAD - One of the biggest whodunits in India saw the plot thicken Wednesday when a special CBI court ordered dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar to stand trial for the 2008 murder of their own teenaged daughter Aarushi.

In a country where parents have rarely been accused of their child’s murder, some called the ruling a landmark while others reacted with shock.

The now Delhi-based couple were devastated. Rajesh Talwar cried as he described India as “a banana republic” after the verdict while Nupur said she was “horrified… I have no words for this kind of thing”. The couple vowed to appeal in a higher court.

The ruling paves the way for trial in the case for the first time since the brutal twin murders of 14-year-old Aarushi and the family’s domestic help Hemraj nearly three years ago.

“The closure report submitted by the CBI is rejected. Cognizance is being taken against doctor Rajesh Talwar and doctor Nupur Talwar,” Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Magistrate Preeti Singh said in her order here.

The couple were summoned under Section 120B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 201 (disappearance of evidence of offence) and 34 (criminal acts by several people) under the Indian Penal Code.

The couple have been asked to appear before the court Feb 28.

The murders have been one of the most talked about criminal cases in India.

Aarushi was found murdered under mysterious circumstances at her parents’ Jalvayu Vihar apartment in Noida on the suburbs of Delhi May 16, 2008. Domestic help Hemraj was initially suspected for the killing but his body was found on the flat’s terrace a day later.

Talwar was arrested soon after the murders but released when investigators could not find evidence to nail him. The case has travelled a long way since then.

The much-criticized CBI had on Dec 29 last year filed for closing the case, saying Rajesh Talwar was the sole suspect but there was no conclusive evidence against him.

Talwar contested this and asked for a copy of the closure report but his request was denied. Talwar also submitted a 90-page rebuttal against the closure report. The court rejected the closure report.

Reacting with shock, Nupur Talwar said: “It is a very unfortunate judgment. We will challenge this judgment. The court has not looked into our 90-page protest petition.”

Their lawyer Rebecca John said: “We are definitely taken aback.”

The verdict earned a lot of flak for the CBI, the country’s top investigating agency.

Rebecca John said: “The CBI, about a year-and-a-half back, said a completely different thing. They hid the investigation done by the previous team of the CBI.”

The mother of a classmate of Aarushi who did not want to be identified by name was baffled. “This is totally self-contradictory on the part of any prosecuting agency. First they did not have any evidence, and now they are ready to try the couple without any evidence.”

There were those who hailed the ruling.

Senior lawyer Khalid Khan said: “The judgment is a landmark and appreciable. The court has taken cognizance on the facts furnished.”

But there were those who wondered if parents would kill their own child.

Rajesh’s sister-in-law Vandana Talwar asked: “Can any parent kill their daughter? Their mistake was only that they were at home when the murder took place. They did not see anyone, and how would they see when the servant allowed someone in?”

A friend said about the Talwars: “They have been hounded for no reason. They are distraught and completely broken.”

On Jan 25, Talwar was attacked outside court with a cleaver by a young man, Utsav Sharma, who was protesting the CBI’s decision to close the case.

The verdict has clearly sparked a heated debate in Indian society. As a classmate of Aarushi told IANS: “No parent can kill the child if you think of ideal conditions. But society is not ideal anymore.”

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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