The Allahabad High Court on Thursday acquitted Nupur and Rajesh Talwar in the 2008 murder case of their 14-year-old daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj, saying they could not be held guilty as per the circumstances and the evidence on record.
The verdict ends a nine-year ordeal of the Noida-based dentist couple who were found guilty by a Ghaziabad CBI court on November 26, 2013 and were serving life sentence in Dasna jail.
The Talwars, who are both dentists, are expected to be freed today from Ghaziabad's Dasna jail after the completion of paperwork. The CBI did not immediately say if it would appeal against the high court judgement. It said it would study the order and decide the future course of action.
A division bench comprising justices B K Narayana and A K Mishra allowed the appeals of the Talwars, holding that neither the circumstances nor the evidence on record established a chain showing their involvement in the murders of Aarushi and Hemraj.
Pronouncing the verdict in a packed court room, the bench said that it is a fit case where benefit of doubt can be given to the appellants and set aside the judgement of the CBI court convicting the Talwars.
Earlier, on September 7, the court had reserved its judgement in the case, which shook the conscience of the nation and saw several twists and turns.
Reacting to the verdict, the CBI said it would study the high court order and decide the future course of action.
Jailor of the Gaziabad's Dasna prison Dadhiram Maurya said the Talwars felt they have got justice and were praying.
"After having breakfast they were praying. Their schedule was normal. She (Nupur Talwar) said they got justice today and had tears of joy.
"Any person after spending this amount of jail will feel happy to get freedom. So they were happy after they were told about the news," he said.
Lawyer Rebecca John, who was part of Talwars' legal team, said she was relieved by the judgement. She claimed the whole case was based on "innuendos" and would "not have carried through".
John, who is a family friend of the couple, hoped that the Talwars, who have been in media spotlight for over nine years, will be allowed privacy after their release from the jail.
Jail sources said the couple were likely to walk free tomorrow.
Aarushi was found dead inside her room in the Talwars' Noida residence with her throat slit in May 2008. The needle of suspicion had initially moved towards 45-year-old Hemraj, who had gone missing but his body was recovered from the terrace of the house a day later.
As the Uttar Pradesh Police drew flak over shoddy investigation into the case which was making national headlines, the then chief minister Mayawati recommended a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).