Dentist Rajesh Talwar cleared in Noida double murder (Roundup)

July 11th, 2008 - 10:02 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Ekta Kapoor

New Delhi, July 11 (IANS) In custody for 50 days and having faced a media trial, Noida dentist Rajesh Talwar was finally cleared Friday after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) admitted it has no evidence linking him to the murders of his teenaged daughter Aarushi and the family’s domestic help Hemraj. Talwar, however, will have to spend one more night in jail since the release papers came too late for the formalities to be completed Friday. He will be released Saturday.

It was a case that gripped the conscience of the middle class India, hogging the headlines and choking the airwaves as it became the prime topic of dining room conversations, driving even evening soap operas into the background.

On Friday, the CBI said Talwar’s medical assistant Krishna and two other domestic helps, Rajkumar and Vijay Mandal - who lived in the neighbourhood - had killed Aarushi and Hemraj.

Talwar, a prominent dentist, was arrested May 23 as the prime suspect in the sensational murder case that came to light after Aarushi’s body was found in her parents’ upscale Jalvayu Vihar neighbourhood in suburban Noida May 16.

A senior Uttar Pradesh police officer said at the time that Talwar had killed his daughter in a fit of rage after he found her in an “objectionable but not compromising” position with the family’s domestic help.

This raised a storm of protests, with Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury demanding the police officer’s suspension.

The CBI took over the case June 1 after a public outcry over the slipshod manner in which the Noida police had conducted the investigations. The agency initially said the case could have been solved in 24 hours had the Noida police got their act together.

However, it could do no better on its part and finally admitted so Friday.

“We have not found any evidence against him so far,” Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Joint Director Arun Kumar told reporters at a packed press conference.

Soon after, the CBI moved an application in a special court in Ghaziabad seeking Talwar’s discharge since it had not found any evidence against him.

The court then ordered that the dentist be released on a personal bond and two sureties of Rs.500,000 each. Talwar’s brother Dinesh and close friend Arun Mittal completed the formalities.

“We have finally received justice. Thank god for that,” Talwar’s dentist wife Nupur exclaimed soon after the court freed her husband.

Doubts however, have been raised about the CBI’s ability to gather material evidence against the three men it has named for the double murders since it only has scientific evidence against them - and this is not admissible in court.

Such was the obsession of urban India with the case that a filmmaker had even proposed making a TV serial on the murders. Producer Ekta Kapoor announcement about this evoked a storm of protest from a child right’s body.

Talwar may have been freed, but this certainly is not the last word on the case - and there is even the possibility the dentist could sue the Noida police for defamation.

Reacting to this, Uttar Pradesh Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Bhanu Pratap Singh said: “The case is not over. It is still in progress in the court and we have no right to comment on it.”

“Initially the Noida police carried on the investigations but the case was transferred to the CBI. Both Noida police and CBI have different findings and each and every proceeding of both the agencies is in the court,” Singh added.

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