New Delhi, Apr 25: Ticking off CBI for suddenly becoming “active” against the Talwars, the Supreme Court today said it would “examine on merit” the dentist couple's plea challenging the trial court's summons against them in the twin murders of teenager Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj.
A bench of justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar, which heard the arguments of the CBI and Rajesh Talwar and Nupur for over one-and-half hours, also questioned the couple over their reluctance to appear before the trial court.
The Talwars however, got a breather as the apex court while adjourning the matter to July 12, clarified that its March 19 order staying the proceedings against the Talwars would continue until further others.
“Where from the CBI has become active? Pages after pages you have filed in the trial court submitting that there is nothing against them. Now how could you assume that there is evidence against them? Is it merely because the trial court has taken cognisance,” the apex court asked Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam.
The bench asked the counsel as to what were the material before the trial court at the time of issuing the summons.
“Apart from your closure report what were the material available with the trial court to issue the summons,” the bench asked.
The Solicitor General, however, defended the summons on the ground that the trial court had examined the statement of police recorded under Section 161 and other relevant materials.
14-year-old Aarushi, the only daughter of the Talwars was found dead with her throat slit at the family's Noida residence on the outskirts of Delhi on May 16, 2008 and the body of their domestic help, Hemraj, was found on the terrace the next day.
Senior counsel Harish Salve and Pinaki Mishra, appearing for the dentist couple, accused the CBI of planting false accusations against the Talwars which they said was the reason for the trial court to summon them.
Salve further alleged that the media was commenting adversely against the Talwars at the behest of the CBI “so much so that even the trial judge was compelled to issue the summons, lest she should be accused of corruption.”
He said that such was the adverse reports appearing in the media that Rajesh “escaped death from a whisker” after he was attacked with a knife by a man outside the Ghaziabad court.
“That is now over. Why should we interfere. Why don't you go to the trial court and appear. Why should you go to the high court,” the bench asked the Talwars' counsel.
Salve claimed that he and Mishra were appearing “pro bono” (free of cost for a public cause) to ensure justice to the couple on account of the “trial being taken over by the media.”
He alleged that the CBI was planting even absurd stories like plausible father-daughter illicit relationship and other inferences as a motive for the murder. The Talwars also accused the CBI of failing to act against domestic helps-Krishna and Rajkumar despite an earlier team of the agency claiming incriminating material against them.
Subramanium said there was nothing wrong in the trial judge issuing summons as she had merely taken cognizance of the CBI's findings that the Talwars were the main suspects in the murders.
“But taking cognizance is also seting the law into motion. Essentially we are dealing with an order taking cognizance and that is a serious matter.
“We don't think we can just like that dismiss this petition. We will have to examine the matter on merit,” the bench said while adjourning the matter to July 12. The Talwars further submitted that the door was latched from outside when the maid servant entered the house indicating that there was an entry from outside and the killers closed the main door of the house after commiting the crime.
On March 19, this year, the Supreme Court had stayed during a special hearing the Allahabad High Court order that had refused to set aside a special Ghaziabad CBI court direction, summoning the couple in the case.
The CBI after probing the murder case for over a two-and-half years had filed its closure report in the case in the Ghaziabad Special CBI court, saying it had been unable to find out any evidence to prosecute the Talwars.
But the trial court had rejected the closure report, saying there was enough prima facie material in the agency's report to put the couple on trial for their alleged involvement in the twin murders and had issued summons to them to face trial.
Rajesh and Nupur had subsequently gone to the Allahabad High Court, which had dismissed their pleas to quash the trial court summons and the proceedings initiated against them. PTI