The twisting and turning Aarushi double murder case took its most dramatic turn on Wednesday.
The court hearing the case said the CBI's closure report, which said there wasn't enough to prosecute her parents with, contained sufficient evidence to charge them with murder, destruction of evidence and an act done by persons with a common interest.
Aarushi and Hemraj Banjade, the Talwars' domestic help, were found murdered in their Noida home on the night of May 16, 2008.
Doctors Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, the murdered teen's parents, have now been asked to appear before the court on February 28.They won't be arrested till then, CBI sources said, but added that "the material is sufficient to bring the case to a conviction stage".
The Talwars said they were shocked by the order.
"This is a banana republic," Rajesh said.
The CBI, which investigated the case for more than 30 months, submitted its closure report to the special CBI court in Ghaziabad on December 29 last year.
The report said that though the Talwars were suspects on the basis of circumstantial evidence, it was not enough to implicate them.
CBI officials and lawyers said Nupur Talwar has been made an accused since "she could not explain the whereabouts of the key to Aarushi's room which was daily kept in her custody but was found missing after the murder".
The Talwars' lawyers said there were "serious and deliberate lapses on the part of the CBI during the investigations".
"The Talwars have a choice to either file a revision at a session court or a high court or they can file a petition at the high court for quashing Wednesday's order," one of the Talwars' lawyers, Praveen Rai, told HT.
"There is no law in this country... We have lost our child and this is what they think of a person who has lost his child," a sobbing Rajesh Talwar told media persons at his south Delhi residence.
Nupur said, "I am really shocked and horrified by this kind of order. It is all about proving our innocence each time. Where is the justice for Aarushi?"
"The dressing up of the crime scene, unexplained router activity and post-mortem cleaning of Aarushi's private parts clearly indicate the involvement of the parents in the crime," the CBI lawyer said.
However, there are several steps before the trial begins.
Lawyers point out that the Talwars will have to appear before the CBI court on January 28, after which, following due process, the case will move to the sessions court where charges will be framed to begin the trial.
Nupur Talwar can apply for bail on January 28. If the plea is rejected, she will be sent to custody.