The question remains, as Talwars are freed on the basis of benefit of doubt

Nearly 10 years after Aarushi Talwar was killed and four years after remaining in jail for killing their teenaged daughter, dentist couple Nupur and Rajesh Talwar are all set to walk free. The Allahabad High Court judgement has brought relief to the parents but the sensational murder case remains far from closure.

It is a moment of vindication for the Talwars who faced ignominy of killing their only child but they won their freedom on the basis of benefit of doubt rather than getting absolved completely.

With the high court’s judgement reversing the conviction of the couple by a trial court, the prospects of knowing who killed Aarushi Talwar has faded almost completely. The murder might remain suspended in the blind alley of shoddy investigation.

The court was clear that the CBI had failed to prove the guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Aarushi was found dead in her bedroom in 2007. The initial suspect was domestic help Hemraj but he too was found murdered two days later on the terrace of the house. In 2013, trial court found the Talwars guilty, as investigators claimed that only four persons were in the house and two had died. There were many loopholes in the case and the police had botched up investigations even before the CBI took over.

The high court ruled that the Talwars cannot be convicted merely on the basis of suspicion. During the course of trial, the high court questioned investigators if the motive of murder had been established. It was earlier said that the father had killed the daughter after finding her in an allegedly comprising position with Hemraj. But no evidence was produced to substantiate the claim.

It remains to be seen if the CBI will appeal against the high court judgement until then the Talwars can breathe easy. The case has been full of discrepancies right from the start. The prosecution was not able to establish crucial facts conclusively. There was confusion over the murder weapon which ranged from golf club to khukri. They could not prove if there were more people involved other than the four who were in the house. The whole case was based on circumstantial evidence, which fell flat in the eyes of the high court.

This is not the first time when the prosecutors have lost the case in appeal. Nor it will be the last. But there should be an accountability in fixing responsibility for the botch up. There is a general impression that the police does not remain completely impartial in dealing with cases. The clumsiness in investigation at times is deliberate.

With the acquittal of Talwars, the mystery behind the murders has only deepened and, at the moment, no one seem to have the answers. If not Talwars then who killed Aarushi and Hemraj and why. This question will continue to haunt now that the high court has rejected the sequence of events presented by the CBI. The lack of evidence and failure to conclusively establish the guilt means that ether more is dug up or a new line of investigation has to be opened. If it is sticking to its guns, the CBI will have to appeal against the acquittal.