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Above: Aarushi Talwar and her parents Nupur and Rajesh Talwar

After nine years of a harrowing experience, with their only child, Aarushi (then 14), murdered, her parents Rajesh and Nupur Talwar were acquitted on Thursday (October 12) of charges of murdering her and their domestic help Hemraj. A division bench of the Allahabad High Court, comprising Justices A K Mishra and B K Narayana used the provision of the benefit of doubt to quash the conviction of the parents of Aarushi.

The decision of the court was based on the fact that the CBI had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the Talwars in a case that has for long intrigued the entire nation and has been the source of a book and even a Bollywood movie.

Arguments for and against the Talwars have been keenly followed by the public, with different sections of the media also putting forth their views. This was, possibly, the most awaited non political verdict of the last decade.

The court accepted the argument of the Talwars’ counsel that the case had been built entirely around circumstantial evidences which failed to conclusively prove the Talwars as the perpetrators of the crime.

The case had, in fact, been closed by the CBI in 2009, which filed a closure report citing “insufficient evidence” on December 29 that year. However, on February 9, 2011 the trial court had rejected this CBI’s closure report and summoned the Talwars again to face murders charges.

In November 2013 the court sentenced the couple to life imprisonment. The allegation was of murder, of destruction of evidence with common intent and additionally, on Rajesh, of giving a false statement to the police.

This was the verdict that the Allahabad High Court on Thursday quashed.

A TIMELINE OF EVENTS

May 16, 2008

Aarushi Talwar, 14, the only child of dentists Rajesh and Nupur Talwar of flat no. L-32 Jalvayu Vihar in Noida, was found dead in her bedroom, her throat slit. The immediate suspect in the murder was Hemraj, family’s domestic help.

May 17

The Hemraj murder angle became suspect with his dead body found, lying in a pool of blood on the terrace of the flat. The door of the terrace was locked from inside.

May 18

Noida police’s observation reveals that the two murders were done with surgical precision. They suspect that it was done by an insider, with outside attack ruled out.

May 19

With Hemraj dead, the Talwars’ former domestic help, Vishnu Sharma, was named as a suspect.

May 21

Delhi police joins the probe.

May 22

The suspect range of the police increases and the police say it could be a case of honour killing. Aarushi’s friends are questioned, following which the parents are identified as suspects.

May 23

Immediately afterwards, Rajesh Talwar was arrested for double murders.

June 1

With the case getting murkier, the CBI takes over the case from Noida police.

June 13

Krishna, another domestic help of the Talwars is arrested.

June 20

Lie detector test on Rajesh Talwar.

June 25

Second lie detector test conducted on Nupur Talwar, with the first proving inconclusive.

June 26

CBI says it is a “blind case”. Rajesh’s bail appeal refused by Ghaziabad magistrate.

July 11

Servant Vijay Mandal arrested, Rajesh Talwar gets bail.

February 15-20, 2009

Narco-analysis tests on Rajesh Talwar.

December 29

CBI team files a closure report citing “insufficient evidence.”  Servants get clean chit, but Talwars remain prime suspects.

February 9, 25, 2011

Trial court rejects CBI’s closure report and summons Aarushi’s parents to face murder charges.

February 21

Talwars approach Allahabad High Court for quashing trial court summons.

March 18

Allahabad HC dismisses the plea.

March 19

The couple approaches the Supreme Court.

January 9, 2012

Supreme Court says the bail granted to Rajesh Talwar by the lower court would continue and that he should appear before the Ghaziabad Magistrate on February 4 to face trial along with Nupur.

November 26, 2013

The couple is convicted for the double-murder and sentenced to life imprisonment by a special CBI court in Ghaziabad.

12 October 2017

Allahabad High Court division bench quashes trial court verdict and declares the Talwars innocent by virtue of the benefit of doubt.

—India Legal Bureau

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