Relief for Talwars as SC stalls all proceedings

Talwar couple is accused of killing their daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Saturday stayed criminal trial of dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar in a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ghaziabad, near here, for the murders of their daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj.

The apex court bench of Justice B. Sudershan Reddy and Justice S.S. Nijjar in a special hearing Saturday evening directed the dentist couple to surrender their passports before the Ghaziabad court Monday.
The court also issued notice to the CBI on the Talwars` petition that challenged the Ghaziabad court order to initiate criminal trial against them in the double-murder.

The dentist couple moved the apex court questioning an Allahabad High Court order earlier that rejected their plea against bailable warrants and directed them to appear before the special CBI court Tuesday to face criminal trial. The high court rejected their plea Friday.

Appearing for the dentist couple in the apex court, senior counsel Pinaki Mishra told the judges that the investigating agency erred in its investigation and the main accused in the case was Rajesh Talwar`s Nepalese clinic worker Krishna.

The senior counsel told the court that blood stains matching Hemraj`s blood group were found on his (Krishna`s) pillow cover. Mishra accused the investigating agency of withholding the evidence in the case.

After getting a favourable decision from the judges, Mishra said: "The honourable Supreme Court has been pleased to stay the same until further hearing here and the court has directed them to deposit their passports as a condition of the order which we will comply with Monday."

"We are very grateful to the Supreme Court for having taken the trouble to pass this order in this manner. We don`t know the next date of hearing. It will come in due course," Mishra said.

"The proceedings, therefore, in effect stand stayed today (Saturday) because the order by which they were summoned has been stayed. We are deeply grateful," he added.

Fourteen-year-old Aarushi Talwar was brutally murdered in her parents` Jalvayu Vihar flat in Noida on the night of May 15-16, 2008. Domestic help Hemraj was initially thought to be the killer but his body was found on the flat`s terrace a day later.

Rajesh and Nupur Talwar challenged the Feb 28 order of the trial court that issued bailable warrants against them for their failure earlier to appear before it. The court also directed them to appear before it March 22.
Initially the investigation in the double-murder was carried out by Uttar Pradesh Police but May 31, 2008, it was entrusted to the CBI.

After two-and-half years` investigation, the CBI Dec 29, 2010, filed a closure report in the trial court. In its report, the agency pointed the needle of suspicion towards Rajesh Talwar.

The CBI while maintaining that Rajesh Talwar was the main suspect said that there was not enough evidence and clarity on motive to nail him.

The special CBI court after evaluating the closure report named Rajesh and Nupur Talwar as accused Feb 9.

On Feb 28, the special court issued bailable warrants against them and asked them to appear before it March 22.

In her plea before the high court, Nupur Talwar challenged the Feb 9 order of the CBI special court summoning her as an accused in the case.

She contended that at no stage of the trial in the double murder, she was called by the investigating agency for interrogation. She contended that she was not named as an accused.

Rejecting her contention, the high court said that "there was no provision for prohibiting a magistrate from summoning a person if prima facie it appears that there is sufficient evidence against the person".