Overturning the 2013 verdict of a Ghaziabad CBI court, the Allahabad High Court on Thursday acquitted the dentist couple in the double murder case of their daughter Aarushi Talwar and domestic help Hemraj, which happened on the night of May 15, 2008.
Giving the Talwars the benefit of doubt, the court said that “there is no chain of evidence and we can't convict on the basis of mere suspicion”.
The dentist couple was held guilty on circumstantial evidences, as there was no concrete evidence found against them. The mystery surrounding the case made it one of the nation's most sensational murder case.
What actually happened on the intervening night of May 15 and early morning of May 16 holds the key of the case.
Here is a sequence of the events - based on the reports of the probe carried out by the two CBI teams - that took place on the fateful night when Aarushi and Hemraj were hacked.
Arun Kumar's report
In July 2008, a CBI team led by joint director Arun Kumar conducted the first CBI between June 2008 and April 2009.
According to his report, Dr Rajesh Talwar's compunders Krishna and Raj Kumar, and Vijay Mandal, a domestic help of Talwars' neighbour, went to Aarushi's room in an inebriated state and gagged her. When Aarushi tried to resist, one of them hit her on the head with a blunt object.
According to Arun Kumar, the three also "tried to abuse her. This led to an altercation between them." He further added that "fearing that the noise would wake the Talwars, they went to the terrace where Raj Kumar and Krishna had a scuffle with Hemraj and killed him."
Then Krishna and Raj Kumar came back to Aarushi's room and slit her throat with a sharp knife-like object to make sure that she was dead.
In his report, Arun Kumar even said that Krishna had confessed to the crime in the narco-analysis test. He also said that no deception was found in the polygraph tests conducted on Rajesh and Nupur Talwar and their psycho-analysis tests came out clean.
An obvious question that arises here is how could the Talwars, who were sleeping in the next room, miss all the commotion? On this, Arun Kumar said the combined noises of two air-conditioners in the Talwars' bedroom drown all sounds of scuffle.
Nilabh Kishore's report
Arun Kumar handed over the investigation to a team led by Deputy Director Nilabh Kishore in May 2009.
While Arun Kumar's team gave a clean chit to Aarushi's parents and put the blame squarely on the three servants, the second team pointed a finger at Aarushi's father, Rajesh Talwar, absolving the servants.
In a completely different version, Kishore's report said that the three domestic helps - Krishna, Raj Kumar and Vijay Mandal - were not present at Talwars' house at the time of murder.
It also claimed that after Aarushi was killed, her private parts were cleaned, and so were the bloodstains and drag-marks on the staircase that lead to the terrace.
According to Kishore, on the night of murder, the internet router in the apartment remained active with small gaps - the last activity was at 3:43 am - nearly three hours after the approximate time of the murder.
Aarushi, who would usually use her mobile phone till as late as 1 a.m., switched it off at 9.10 p.m. that night. The mobile phone went missing and was recovered 14 months after the murders in September 2009, but its memory had been wiped clean.
Also Read: If Talwars didn't, then who killed Aarushi and Hemraj? The sensational double-murder continues to be a cliffhanger
Unlike Arun Kumar's team, Kishore did a narco-analysis on the Talwars. In its closure report, the CBI says that "there is no evidence against the servants except the narco test which was unreliable". In the same report they say that scientific tests on Talwars "have not conclusively indicated their involvement in the crime".
According to Kishore's report, Rajkumar was at the railway station from 11:30 pm to receive the wife of Talwars' family friend Durrani. Krishna's family members vouched for him and said he was at home on the night of the murders.
Krishna was detained from his residence by the Uttar Pradesh Police while he was sleeping. The report said there were "eyewitnesses" (who happen to be Krishna's family members) that he was all alone at his home on the night of the murders.