Ghaziabad: Dr Rajesh and Nupur Talwar have been sentenced to life imprisonment for killing their 14-year-old daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj Banjade. The special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court at Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh sentenced Rajesh and Nupur on Tuesday in the five-and-a-half year old gruesome twin murder case.
While the CBI demanded death for Talwars, the defence sought leniency during the arguments in the court. According to the prosecution, the convicts should be given the maximum penalty as they killed two people, one of whom was their daughter.
Arguing before the court on quantum of punishment CBI counsel RK Saini claimed that the killings were cold-blooded murders and fell in the "rarest of rare" category. Defence counsel Tanvir Mir countered CBI's argument and said the evidence against his clients were weak and sought leniency for Talwars.
But Additional Session Judge Shyam Lal disagreed with the CBI and rejected the agency's approach to treat it as a rarest of the rare case and award death penalty to Rajesh and Nupur.
The arguments lasted just five minutes before the judge adjourned proceedings and pronounced he quantum of sentence at 4.30 PM. The Talwar couple remained composed but they broke down again after the sentence was pronounced.
Both Rajesh and Nupur have got get life term under Indian Penal Code Section 302 (murder), and five-year term under Section 201(causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender). Rajesh also got one-year imprisonment under Section 203 (giving false information in respect to an offence committed). They have been fined Rs 10,000 each under Section 302 failing which they will have to undergo an extra 6 months in jail. The duo will also have to pay Rs 5,000 as fine under Section 201 else will get 3 months in jail. Rajesh who has been also convicted under Section 203 for filing a wrong FIR will also have to pay Rs 2,000 as fine.
Talwars' lawyer Rebecca John called the verdict and sentencing a witch-hunt by the CBI. "The "CBI demanded death penalty and this is very demand of death sentence is nothing but witch-hunt. This demand for death sentence is a grotesque demand by the CBI. We will read the full order and then we will move Allahabad High Court as soon as possible. It was never the rarest of rare case. It is the CBI which has turned it into a witch-hunt," said Rebecca John.
Masooma Renalvi Jha, a friend of the Talwars, too blamed the CBI for the verdict and sentencing. "This is a mockery of justice. The Talwar couple has been framed," she said.
The duo was convicted for the gruesome killings on Monday by the court. They had also been convicted for destruction of evidence and on the charge of committing an act in furtherance of common intention.
The judgement delivered in the sensational double murder case also held Rajesh and Nupur guilty of secreting and obliterating the evidence of the commission of the murders to screen them from legal punishment. In addition to this, Dr Rajesh has also been found guilty of furnishing false information to the police regarding the murder of his daughter by Hemraj.
While Rajesh was convicted under the Sections 201, 203, 302 and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), Nupur was found guilty under Sections 201, 302 and 34. Conviction under Section 302 carries a minimum punishment of imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine while the maximum is death.
This five-and-a-half-year old sensational double murder case has seen several questions over the manner in which investigations were carried. The repeated flip flops by investigating agencies, the different conclusions over time have always failed to convince many regarding the case.
On May 16, 2008, eight days before the teenager would have celebrated her 15th birthday, the Delhi Public School, Noida student, Aarushi, was found brutally murdered inside her bedroom.
Even as her parents claimed to have slept through the crime in an adjoining room, the police came up with a theory saying there were no signs of a forced entry or a robbery and curiously Aarushi's room was locked as usual from outside with the keys with her parents. The well known doctors Rajesh and Nupur Talwar said their domestic help Hemraj was missing, making the police name him as their first suspect. But the case turned on its head when Hemraj's body was found on the roof of the Talwar residence, making it a murder mystery like few others.