A court in the Indian city of Allahabad has overturned the conviction of a dentist couple for the murder of their teenage daughter and the family servant in a case that had gripped India for the best part of a decade.
The Allahabad High Court on Thursday overturned threw out the couple’s conviction citing a lack of material evidence.
Aarushi Talwar was found with her throat slit at the family home in the wealthy Delhi suburb of Noida in 2008.
A day later, the body of the family’s servant, Hemraj, was found on the roof of the house.
Speculation mounted among investigators and the media that Aarushi was killed after her parents discovered she was having an affair with Hemraj.
A trial court convicted the girl’s parents, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, after police alleged Rajesh had murdered his daughter and the servant in a rage when he found them in a compromising situation.
The couple were jailed for life.
But the Allahabad High Court overruled the decision saying it was not satisfied with the evidence and ordered the couple be freed, their lawyer Tanveer Ahmed Mir said.
“The court found no forensic or material evidence to prove that the Talwars had killed their daughter,” Mir told reporters outside a packed courtroom in Allahabad.
Both parents had denied the murder and insisted they were victims of botched investigations and unfair media coverage, damaging their defence.
Aarushi’s case was labelled as a kind of crime more often associated with rural, conservative parts of India where “honour killings” are not uncommon.
Every twist in the investigation was extensively reported by the Indian press, turning the Talwars into household names.
“Finally my family can lead a dignified life. The court has upheld the facts and truth,” said Rajesh Talwar’s sister, Vandana, after the decision.
In 2015, a journalist who covered the murder wrote a book arguing that the couple were innocent.
The double murder case and faulty probe were used as a theme for a Bollywood movie the same year.