NEW DELHI: The theory of another killer — could be an outsider — being involved has found new life after the Allahabad high court on Thursday set aside the conviction of doctor couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar in the 2008 murder of their daughter, Aarushi, and domestic help Hemraj.
Only a copy of the order will reveal the exact reasoning of the division bench, but what can be inferred from the acquittals is that the court discarded CBI's central theme that no one could have entered Talwars' house after the four were last seen together at 9.30 pm on the night of the murder by their driver.
The court found little merit in this claim by which CBI cleverly put the onus of proof on the parents to explain how their child and servant were found murdered in the morning if they were all last seen alive the previous night.
According to Evidence Act, in rare cases the burden of proof can be shifted to the accused from the prosecution and the agency had attempted to portray the murders as one such instance.
The high court was not convinced and stressed on the basic legal tenet that it is for the prosecution to give conclusive proof. It noted that the parents can't be held guilty just because they were present in the house when the murder took place and are entitled to "benefit of doubt".
From all accounts HC seems to have questioned the CBI stand that no outsider could be involved and the trial court's acceptance of it. If one goes by the case record, there were only three other suspects when the CBI began probing the double murder.
The first CBI probe team had identified Krishna Thadarai, a help at Talwar's clinic; his friend, Rajkumar, a domestic servant working with the friends of Talwars, Praful and Anita Durrani; and Vijay Mandal, driver of Talwars' neighbour as suspects and arrested them on the basis of circumstantial evidence that could link them to the crime.
The agency went for rigorous narco analysis tests during which the servants admitted their presence in the flat on the fateful night and their alleged involvement in the murder.
During the trial, Talwar's defence had tried to bring forward the role of the three servants saying the lie detector test, brain-mapping test and narco analysis tests at FSL, Banglore, had indicated that Krishna had revealed crucial information leading to the double murder. They cited an alleged voluntary disclosure statement by Krishna given to CBI, confessing that the murders had been carried out by a khukri. But the judge had trashed this line of argument, saying it was not possible at all that at midnight Krishna, Rajkumar and Vijay Mandal would come to the room of Hemraj and have liquor, as alleged. The judge held that in absence of any possibility of an outsider entering the house, the servants could not be linked to the murder.