More than five years after the double murder and flip-flops in investigation, dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar were today held guilty of killing their 14-year-old daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj in their house in Noida.
In a case that has had a number of twists and turns, Additional Sessions Judge Shyam Lal held both of them also guilty of destruction of evidence in the murder on the intervening night of May 15 and 16, 2008, days before the birthday of the class nine student.
The father was also convicted under section 203 of IPC for filing wrong information with the Noida police station about the incident.
After two adjournments since morning, the judge, who is to lay down office this month end, arrived in the high-security court room at 3.25 PM and summoned both the accused.
He read out the operative portion from his order that both the parents have been convicted for murder and destruction of evidence and on the charge of committing an act in furtherance of common intention.
49-year-old Rajesh was also convicted on the charge of filing false FIR. Nupur is a year younger than her husband.
Arguments on sentencing will be held tomorrow after which the judge will announce quantum of sentence.
The Talwar couple, who were well known dentists of Noida, broke into tears as they were taken into custody and were being taken to jail.
Immediately after the verdict was announced, a statement was circulated on behalf of the Talwar couple which read "we are deeply disappointed, hurt and anguished for being for being convicted for a crime that we have not committed. We refuse to feel defeated and will continue to fight for justice."
Defence lawyer Satyaketu Singh said the judgement was wrong in law and would be appealed against in the High Court.
Counsel for one of the domestic helps, Fakir Chand Sharma, said he felt vindicated by the judgement today. "I was opposing tooth and nail, the charge against domestic helps as there was no evidence against them," he said.
The double murder made sensational headlines after reports that it was a case of honour killing by the parents after they suspected their daughter of liaison with 45-year-old Hemraj who hailed from Nepal.
Rajesh was arrested by Noida Police after the then Inspector General Gurdarshan Singh alleged that the father had murdered his daughter. Later, he came out on bail after the case was handed over to the CBI.
Ironically, the CBI, which was handed over the case within a fortnight of the murders, initially gave Talwars a clean chit and pinned the blame on three domestic helps Krishna, Rajkumar and Vijay -- who were arrested.
However, the CBI could not file a chargesheet in the stipulated three months time paving the way for their release on bail.
The then CBI Director A P Singh was of the opinion that no case was made against the three domestic helps and constituted a new team to probe the case afresh.
The CBI later filed a closure report saying though there was enough suspicion about the role of the parents in the murder, they had no direct evidence to prove it.
The CBI judge took on record the closure report and after perusing it, decided to press murder charges against the couple. Today's judgement came after 15 months of trial.
Answering questions on CBI's change of stand, prosecution lawyer R K Saini said investigation is a continuous process and ultimately what the court says is final.
Security was beefed up outside the court premises. "Three DSPs, three station house officers, 90 constables and one platoon of PAC have been deployed outside the court," SP (City), Ghaziabad, Muniraj said.
Following is the chronology of events in the case:
May 16, 2008: Aarushi Talwar found dead with her throat slit in the bedroom of her home in Noida. Domestic help Hemraj, a Nepali, suspected of murder.
May 17: Hemraj's body found on the terrace of Talwar's residence.
May 18: Police say murders done with surgical precision, insider job suspected.
May 19: Talwar's former Nepali domestic help Vishnu Sharma named as suspect.
May 21: The Delhi police joins murder probe.
May 22: Family under suspicion, probe begins on honour killing angle, the police quiz Aarushi's close friend whom she spoke to 688 times in the 45 days preceding her murder.
May 23: Rajesh Talwar arrested for the twin murders.
June 1: CBI takes over the probe in the case.
June 13: Domestic help of Rajesh Talwar, Krishna, arrested by CBI.
June 20: Lie detection test of Rajesh Talwar conducted at CFSL, Delhi.
June 25: Second lie detection test conducted on Nupur Talwar. Her first lie detection test was found inconclusive.
June 26: CBI declares the case to be a "blind case". Rajesh Talwar refused bail by the special magistrate in Ghaziabad.
July 3: The Supreme Court rejects a PIL which challenged the conduct of narco-analysis test on the accused.
July 12: Rajesh Talwar freed on bail from Dasna Jail in Ghaziabad.
Jan 5, 2010: CBI moves court to conduct narco test on Talwar couple.
Dec 29: CBI submits closure report. Clean chit to servants but points fingers at parents.
Jan 25, 2011 : Rajesh Talwar attacked in the Ghaziabad court premises.
Feb 9: Court takes cognisance of CBI report, charges Aarushi's parents with murder and destruction of evidence.
Feb 21: Couple approaches the Allahabad High Court for quashing trial court summons.
Mar 18: HC dismisses their plea to quash summons and orders initiation of proceedings against them.
Mar 19, 2011: The couple approaches the Supreme court which stays the trial against them.
Jan 6, 2012: The apex court dismisses Talwar's plea and allows the trial to proceed.
Jun 11, 2012: Trial starts before Special Judge S Lal.
Oct 10, 2013: Final arguments begin.
Nov, 25, 2013: Talwar couple convicted by a special CBI court in Ghaziabad.