Dentist couple Dr Rajesh and Nupur Talwar pleaded “not guilty” to the charges formally framed by a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court at Ghaziabad for murder and destruction of evidence, with common intention, during a hearing in Aarushi-Hemraj murder case on Friday. The dentist couple will now face trial in the case in the next hearing to be held on June 4.
Aarushi’s father Rajesh will additionally face charges for misleading investigations and lodging false FIR against Hemraj.
On Friday, Talwars’ lawyers also requested the court to grant them 15 days’ time to ‘exercise legal rights’ and also to move Allahabad High Court against Thursday’s order. But the court decreed June 4 as the next date of hearing for the actual trial to begin.
The onus of proving the couple guilty lies with the CBI. So far, the agency has not been able to establish a ‘clear-cut motive’ for the murders. The case rests largely on circumstantial evidence.
During the trial stage, the agency will rely heavily on a list of 140 witnesses, which includes the Talwars’ maid Bharti Mandal, driver Umesh Kumar and various officials and experts from forensic sciences and UP police. As of now, the CBI has been relying on the statements of 96 witnesses. Its counsels have also maintained that they were not relying on the results of scientific tests as they are not admissible. These tests had been carried out on the three previous suspects and on Talwars.
In their closure report, the CBI had submitted a list of 101 documents, including seizure memos, photographs from the scene of crime, forensic lab reports, mobile data and two CrPC 164 (statements before a Magistrate) statements of Dr Rohit Kocchar and Dr Rajiv Kumar who had visited the Talwars’ residence on the morning of May 16, 2008, the day Aarushi’s murder came to light.
The CBI investigation also includes around 3,500 pages of investigation reports and 93 articles, including blood scrapings, laptops, digital cameras, clothes, shoes and golf sticks, seized from the scene of crime.