Zee Media Bureau
Ghaziabad: A Special CBI court on Tuesday awarded life imprisonment to dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar for murdering their teenage daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj in a sensational double murder that gripped the nation for five-and-a-half years.
49-year-old Rajesh and Nupur (48) were spared the death penalty by Additional Session Judge Shyam Lal who rejected the CBI plea for maximum punishment.
"Keeping in view the entire facts and circumstances, I am of the view that both the accused are not menace to the orderly society. This is not a fit case for inflicting death penalty under section 302 (murder) read with section 34 IPC (common intention to commit the crime) and, therefore, it appears just and proper to sentence the accused to rigorous imprisonment for life," the judge said.
Also Read: Aarushi verdict: As it happened
Arguing before the court on quantum of punishment in the murder in May 2008, CBI counsel RK Saini contended that the killings were cold-blooded murders which deserved maximum punishment.
Defence counsel Tanvir Mir countered CBI`s argument and said the evidence against the Talwars were weak and sought leniency for the couple. He asserted that the crime did not fall under the rarest of rare category since the judge had concluded that the crime was result of a sudden and grave provocation.
The arguments lasted just five minutes before the judge adjourned proceedings and pronounced the quantum of sentence at 4.30 PM. The Talwar couple remained composed.
The Talwars were also sentenced for five years for destruction of evidence and Rajesh for another one year for filing wrong FIR with police. All the sentences pronounced by the judge, who relied heavily on the circumstantial evidence provided by the CBI, will run concurrently.
The dentist couple were yesterday convicted in the murder of their 14-year-old daughter Aarushi and 45-year-old Hemraj in a case that was awash with allegations of sleaze and sex, police-goof-ups, CBI flip-flops and media bias. The judge also made a reference to freaks in the history of mankind who kill their own progeny.
The couple was convicted under IPC sections 302(murder), 201(destruction of evidence) and 34( common intention to commit the crime). Rajesh was also convicted separately for "furnishing false information to the police regarding the murder of his daughter by Hemraj(Section 203)."
In its probe, UP police had said that Aarushi and Hemraj were killed by Rajesh at his Noida residence on May 15-16 night in 2008, in a fit of rage after finding them in an objectionable position. The throat of the two victims were found slit.
The judge mentioned in the order that murders could not be the handiwork of a single person. Justifying the conviction under Section 34 of the IPC (common intention to commit the crime), Lal cited a number of Supreme Court orders to say that no direct evidence of common intention is necessary.
"For the purpose of common intention even the participation in commission of offence need not be proved in all cases. The common intention can develop even during the course of an occurrence," he said.
Lal also rejected "terminus ad quem" of the argument of defence counsel that the crimes were carried out by "some other person(s)" who had visited Hemraj on the night of murders which is clearly indicated by the blood found on Sula wine bottle, Kingfisher beer bottle and Sprite plastic bottle seized from the room of the servants.
"I find myself completely in disagreement with the said contention of the learned counsel for the accused. Of course, there is no direct evidence in this case but as discussed above it is clear that the prosecution has placed a clinching wealth of circumstances from which the guilt of both the accused has been made out to the extent human instruments can apprehend. Recondite possibility of alternative hypothesis as put forward by the accused cannot be accepted," he said.
The court rejected the arguments given by defence which has raised question marks on the allegations that private parts of Aarushi were cleaned after her murder.
"The bed-sheet was seized and sealed by Sub Inspector Dataram Naunaria. It was examined by Dr B K Mohapatra... In the examination report...It has been mentioned that...Printed multi-coloured bed-sheet having reddish brown stains at many places urine, semen could not be detected and designated circular area... Did not yield DNA for analysis," order noted.
The judge said in the face of this clinching and reliable scientific evidence it is proved to the hilt that the private parts of Aarushi were cleaned with water and that`s why in the designated circular area of the bed-sheet neither urine nor semen was found.
The defence has said that Dr Sunil Dohre, who conducted Aarushi`s post-mortem on May 16, had mentioned in his report that on the examination of private parts "no abnormality" was detected.
The defence had claimed that Dohre also did not give statement regarding the vaginal status to police, CBI or any member of the AIIMS committee and made changes only on September 20, 2009 during the recording of his sixth statement by A G L Kaul, who was part of second team of the agency.
The court said Dohre gave the vaginal status only when he was asked specifically to tell about it by Kaul. The judge said since no one asked he did not tell them.
"It was not expected of Dr Dohre to tell the other members of the expert committee about the vaginal status of Aarushi. In view of the discussion the arguments of the learned counsel cannot be accepted," it said.
In a replay of Monday, the court complex was packed with lawyers, an army of journalists and curious onlookers.
After the judgment, a scuffle broke out between lawyers when the Hemraj family`s lawyer Naresh Yadav was speaking to the media. Police finally had to separate the groups.
Lawyers call it a `witch-hunt`
Dubbing as "serious miscarriage" of justice the special CBI court verdict sentencing Rajesh and Nupur Talwar to life imprisonment for killing of Aarushi and Hemraj, the couple`s lawyers alleged that the two had been victim of a "witch hunt".
"It is serious miscarriage of justice. Definitely it will be examined. We will be appealing in Allahabad high court. The verdict is unsustainable in the court. There has been a witch- hunt," Talwars` counsel Rebecca John said.
She alleged the case saw most "shocking abuse of power" by the CBI which investigated the 2008 double murder case of Talwars` daughter Aarushi and their domestic help Hemraj in neighbouring Noida.
With PTI inputs