The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition of dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar seeking examination of 14 prosecution witnesses dropped by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Aarushi-Hemraj murder trial.
The dentist couple faces charges of murdering their daughter and domestic help.The couple had challenged a May 4 order of the Ghaziabad CBI court, which had rejected their plea to call 14 witnesses, including ADG (law and order) and then CBI joint director Arun Kumar, to record their statements.
Dismissing their petition, Justice Rajesh Dayal Khare observed: “I do not find any legal infirmity in the impugned order dated May 4, 2013 passed by the CBI Court, Ghaziabad. It does not require interference by this court in exercise of inherent power under section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code.”
On Arun Kumar, the court said he “was not the investigation officer of the case and was only an observer. It said other police officers had conducted partial investigations and it was “not essential to examine all the investigation officers”.
“The accused had been accorded fullest opportunity to cross examine all the prosecution witnesses at great length and no grievance was raised before me on that count and hence it cannot be said that they are facing an unfair trial,” the judge said.
However, in a note of caution to the trial court, the court observed, “...The trial judge is reminded...that he is not to be a tape recorder and a silent recipient of evidence. It is his responsibility to conduct a free and fair trial and I hope and trust that the trial judge will not abjure his responsibility”.
In their application, the Talwars’ wanted a direction to the trial court to summon the 14 dropped witnesses. They said the witnesses were crucial and should be examined before the trial court recorded the couple’s statement. The couple had earlier approached the Supreme Court with the same request. But the apex court had on May 13, 2013 took strong exception to the Talwars directly challenging the trial court’s order before it and asked them to approach the high court first.