Schoolgirl Aarushi Talwar and her family's domestic help Hemraj Banjade were butchered in an identical manner in their Noida flat on May 16, 2008 — their necks were slit and heads smashed with a blunt object.
Her mother dentist Nupur had found Aarushi's body in her room around 6am the same day, while Banjade's body was recovered a day later from the terrace.
Around four years later, while there is lack of clinching and direct evidence against her parents dentists Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, who were charged as accused for the duo's murder and destruction of evidence last February by a Ghaziabad-based special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the trial itself is yet to begin.
Instead, the period from last February till now has seen a maze of legal battles between the Talwars and CBI's prosecuting team that are being waged in Ghaziabad, the Allahabad HC and the apex court.
The issues included whether the Ghaziabad CBI court was correct in naming the couple as the accused in the case, bail petitions, petitions for exemption from personal appearance in the court by the accused to them wanting a transfer of the trial from Ghaziabad to Delhi.
In December 2010, the CBI had submitted its closure report in the case before the Ghaziabad CBI court, while listing an exhaustive range of allegedly crucial circumstantial evidence that suggested the Talwars were the main accused.
Establishing that no "outsider" had entered the Talwars' flat between 11 pm and 6 am on the night intervening May 15 and 16 of 2008, the agency had cited forensic evidence that showed the striking dimensions of Rajesh's metallic golf stick to be allegedly identical with the dimensions of the injury on the heads of Aarushi and Hemraj. Also, the crime scene was found to be allegedly "heavily dressed up", which again brought the couple under the scanner as per the CBI's closure report.
The CBI, however, could not recover the weapon.
The Ghaziabad court, however, had rejected the report, saying there was enough prima facie material to put the couple on trial for their alleged involvement in the case and had issued summons to them to face trial. The magistrate took cognizance of the case and summoned Talwars on February 9, 2011.
The Talwars then approached the Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court (SC). The SC in January rejected their plea to quash criminal proceedings against them in the case asked them to stand trial.
CBI's RK Saini told HT, "The Talwar couple is using delaying tactics by attempting to move petitions one after another. They must let the trial begin."
Talwars' lawyer Satish Tamta said, "The Talwars reject the CBI's findings. For genuine reasons, they have sought judicial relief."