A day after they were held guilty, a special CBI court yesterday sentenced dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar to life imprisonment for killing their daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj over five years ago.
Lawyers of the distraught couple, who were present in the court and immediately taken back to the Dasna Jail in Ghaziabad district after the sentencing, said they would appeal in a higher court against the verdict.
The prosecution had sought death penalty for the Talwars, calling it a ‘rarest of the rare’ case. But the counsel for the Talwars sought leniency from the court.
Delivering the verdict at 4.30 pm, Special CBI Judge Shyam Lal said, “They are not menace to society. So, death sentence is not warranted.”
The ends of justice will be served by sentencing them to life imprisonment, he said in his four-page judgment.
The judge also sentenced the Talwars to five years in jail for destruction of evidence and Rajesh to an additional year in prison for giving false information to investigators.
A fine of Rs 10,000 each was imposed on the couple on the murder charge, Rs 5,000 each for destruction of evidence, and Rs 2,000 on Rajesh for misleading police.
On Monday, the judge had convicted them for the murder of their daughter, saying they were ‘freaks who became the killer of their own progeny’.
The dentist couple were convicted of killing their 14-year-old daughter and 45-year-old domestic help, Hemraj, on the intervening night of May 15 and 16, 2008. The Std IX student was foundwith her throat slit and head battered in her plush Noida residence.
Police initially suspected the then missing Hemraj for Aarushi’s killing but discovered his body from the terrace of the house the next day.
It marked the start of one of India’s most keenly followed crime cases that took several dramatic twists and turns before the CBI finally blamed the Talwars for the gory double murder.
The Talwars were booked under sections 302 (murder), 201 (destruction of evidence) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. The court also charged Rajesh under section 203 (misleading the probe).
Lawyers clash with cops
Hemraj’s family’s lawyer Naresh Yadav came under attack from other lawyers in the court premises soon after he broke the news of the verdict against the Talwars. Yadav sprinted from the scene with police assistance and took shelter in the court. Outside, two groups of lawyers got into a heated argument and a scuffle with police desperately trying to keep them apart. Witnesses said they saw lawyers hurling chairs at each other in the surging scrum.