If Talwars are guilty, they should be punished, say neighbours

    By IANS,

    Noida : Jal Vayu Vihar, the placid, middle-class residential neighbourhood where the dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar had a nice house and spent many happy years with their only child Aarushi, wore a cloak of silence Monday after a special CBI court pronounced the parents guilty of the murder of their daughter and domestic help. There was initial shock among the neighbors, which changed to disbelief and then outrage.

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    The dentist couple lived on flat number L-32, Jal Vayu Vihar in Sector-25 Noida, a burgeoning city of shining corporate buildings and towering residential condominiums that is part of the National Capital Region but geographically part of Uttar Pradesh. But they shifted out following intense media glare over the many dramatic twists and turns in the case that turned the heat on them.

    The house is now locked up as the couple moved to the Hauz Khas area in south Delhi a couple of years ago. Initially none of the neighbours was ready to talk about the sensational murder that has been the most discussed criminal case in recent times.

    The case gripped the attention of the middle-class for the fact that, perhaps for the first time, the girl’s parents, who come from the upper echelons of society, were accused of murdering their only daughter and trusted house help.

    But the neighbours soon opened up – to share their anger and their incredulity that the parents, who were highly-regarded dentists – could murder their only daughter, apparently in a fit of rage.

    “Whatever happened was indeed sad. Talwars were my neighbours, but they should be punished if they committed such an act,” Mohan Sharma (name changed on condition of anonymity), one of the neighbours, told IANS.

    Sarita, a washerwoman in the locality, said: “I was present here the day the murder happened. Aarushi was a sweet girl, and if her parents are killers then they should be hanged.”

    Another neighbour, Nikumbh Jain, said it is for the couple to contemplate about what they have done. “We were not so close to the Talwar family, but I want to say one thing. If Rajesh and his wife are guilty, then they surely know it.”

    “Any punishment by the court does not matter. They need to contemplate among themselves about what they have done, and what their life has become,” Jain told IANS.

    “For them, there is no meaning for their life anymore whether they are sent to jail or left (by the court),” said Jain.

    Some residents preferred to maintain silence on the judgment. “Why are you evoking our feelings again? Leave the Talwars to their own fate as they have already lost their only child. Their life has been spoiled by the ongoing proceedings and investigation,” Arvind Saini, another resident, told IANS.

    The Class 9 student was found dead inside her Noida house on the intervening night of May 15 and 16, 2008. The family’s domestic help Hemraj Banjhare, a Nepali national, was also found murdered on the terrace – the following day. But some in the residential colony considered that it was not “fair” for the parents to continue to suffer.

    Without giving her name, a woman in her late 40s, said: ‘They have suffered a lot. They lost their only child. They have been arrested and face life imprisonment. I don’t think any parents could kill their only child.”

    But when told about the court verdict, the woman, changed her stance, saying that “stranger things have happened too.”

    The case was a virtual whodunit as it took several twists and turns along the way. Initially police in Noida arrested Rajesh Talwar for the double murder, with officials speculating it could be an act of “honour killing”.

    But after the police probe came under attack, the then Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati transferred the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

    The CBI first gave a clean chit to the Talwars and arrested the lab assistant Rajesh and two others. But the three were released on bail after no concrete evidence was found against them.Facing flak over the inept investigation, then CBI director Aswani Kumar formed a new team.It was this team that again pointed fingers at the Talwars.

    The charges against the couple were framed May 25, 2012, and the trial began after that.During the trial, Jan 25, 2011, Rajesh was attacked in the court premises.

    The Talwars then applied to shift the trial from Ghaziabad to Delhi, but the application was rejected by the Supreme Court.

    The latest trial got over Nov 12 – almost after 19 months – during which the CBI presented about 90 witnesses to prove that the parents were indeed guilty of the crime.

    The Talwars maintain they did not kill their daughter or domestic help and that the CBI conclusions were based on presumptions, conjectures and surmises.