New Delhi: Who killed Aarushi Talwar and Hemraj? Five years after the 14-year-old was found with her throat slit in her Noida home along with the family`s domestic help, there is still no answer to who committed the murders most foul.
Dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar are being tried for the murder of their daughter and domestic help in a court in Ghaziabad, not far from their home in Noida.
Subjected to relentless media glare in a case that has caught the imagination of the nation and refuses to leave the headlines, the Talwars maintain they are innocent.
And the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which in December 2010 had filed a closure report saying that Rajesh was the main suspect but there was no evidence against him, is arguing that the parents are responsible.
No third person, the investigating agency has said, entered the Talwar premises the night before. Besides, it said, the crime scene had been cleaned up.
"We stand by what we have said in the honourable court but we can`t comment on anything else as the matter is sub-judice," a CBI official said.
It was on the morning of May 16, 2008 that Aarushi, a student of Delhi Public School, was found dead at her Jalvayu Vihar apartment in Noida, adjoining the Indian capital. Hemraj, initially the prime suspect, was found killed on the terrace a day later.
The swirl of allegations and innuendo, with terms like incest, wife-swapping and compromising position doing the rounds in drawing rooms all over the country, caught the Talwars right in the middle.
In the five years since, the proceedings have confounded even a Bollywood potboiler with charges, counter-charges and an entire society divided on the question of who is guilty.
Both the Talwars were under arrest at various points. While Rajesh was arrested soon after the murders and released 50 days later because of lack of evidence, Nupur was taken into custody in April 2012 and released on bail Sep 25.
His compounder Krishna and two domestic helps in the neighbourhood, Raj Kumar and Vijay Mandal, were also arrested. They too were let out on bail because no evidence was found against them.
Then in December 2010, the CBI filed its closure report before the special court in Ghaziabad.
The Talwars approached the court against the closure, demanding further investigation. The court too rejected the report and, in a dramatic twist, summoned both the parents to face the trial in the double murder and directed the CBI to prosecute them.
There have been many flip-flops.
A CBI official in a July 2008 report said Krishna, Raj Kumar and Vijay Mandal were under suspicion for the murder of Aarushi. The CBI then also said that Krishna had confessed to the crime in the narco-analysis test.
However, another CBI official`s report in 2010 was completely different, saying the three were not present at the Talwar home when the murders took place.
Noida Police in 2008 also changed its stance.
They first said Hemraj murdered Aarushi. When Hemraj`s body was found on the terrace after 24 hours, they said Rajesh was the main accused. In a televised press conference, a Noida police officer triggered outrage when he said Rajesh had killed them both after finding them in a compromising position.
In January 2011, Rajesh narrowly escaped when he was attacked with a meat cleaver outside the court.
The couple has been fighting back. In the latest move, the Talwars have sought the summoning of 14 witnesses in the case, including former CBI official Arun Kumar.
This was declined by the Supreme Court, which took objection to the fact that Talwar`s approached it while bypassing the Allahabad High Court.
“We are in the process of filing the plea… the CBI’s accusations are contradictory,” Manoj Sisodia, counsel of the doctor couple, said.
“My clients are not afraid of getting their statements recorded… we just want that the 14 witnesses should be summoned first,” added Sisodia.
The double murder has continued to hog the headlines. With no major headway, it continues to remain one of India’s biggest murder mysteries.