The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a plea challenging the acquittal of Rajesh and Nupur Talwar in the Aarushi-Hemraj murder case, more than five months after the Allahabad High Court set the dentist couple free.
The apex court agreed to hear a petition filed by Hemraj’s wife, Khumkala Banjade, who challenged the October 12, 2017, order of the High Court. Even the Central Bureau of Investigation had approached the top court over the acquittal order last week.
Fourteen-year-old Aarushi was found dead inside her room at the Talwars’ Noida residence with her throat slit on May 16, 2008. Initial suspicion fell on 45-year-old Hemraj, who had gone missing, but his body was recovered from the terrace of the house a day later.
Following protests over the police probe, the case was handed over to the CBI, which arrested the Talwars. A CBI court in Ghaziabad sentenced them to life imprisonment on November 26, 2013.
On appeal, the High Court set aside the conviction, saying they could not be held guilty on the basis of the evidence on record. In February this year, the Supreme Court had issued a notice to the Registrar-General of the Allahabad High Court, the CBI and the Uttar Pradesh government on a plea by former CBI Special Judge Shyam Lal, who had convicted the Talwars.
The ex-judge had moved the apex court praying that some “adverse comments/strictures” made by the High Court “against” him while acquitting the accused in the case be expunged.
The former judge contended that “the strictures passed against the petitioner by one of the Hon’ble Judges of the High Court constituting the Division Bench, in its judgment dated 12.10.2017, are neither warranted nor are in conformity with the settled law as propounded by this Hon’ble Court”.
Lal, who retired on November 30, 2013, said he had an “unblemished service career” spanning 28 years and added that “the strictures passed against the petitioner are ultimately going to affect permanently his reputation as an impartial and transparent judge”.