South Asia

Aarushi Talwar murder investigation closed

Aarushi Talwar
Image caption Schoolgirl Aarushi Talwar was found dead in her bedroom with her throat slit

The investigation into the 2008 murder of a well-known dentist's schoolgirl daughter has been closed by authorities in India for lack of evidence.

Aarushi Talwar, 14, was found with her throat slit and a fatal head injury at home in a Delhi suburb. A man servant's body was found on the roof a day later.

Police briefly detained her father, saying he murdered his daughter because she found out he was having an affair.

Aarushi's parents told Indian media that they would not give up.

Dr Rajesh Talwar and his wife Nupur, also a dentist, have always maintained they are innocent.

"I'm completely devastated and shocked. I don't know what to do," Dr Talwar told Indian media. "I have not got justice for my daughter."

Aarushi's mother said: "We are broken parents today."

The gruesome tale of murder in the affluent Delhi suburb of Noida has generated huge interest in India.

Aarushi was murdered in her bedroom in May 2008, while her parents were in the house.

A day later the bludgeoned body of their man servant, Hemraj, was discovered on the roof.

As well as Aarushi's father, three other men were arrested during the investigation and later freed for lack of evidence.

They were Dr Talwar's assistant in his dental practice and two servants employed by the Talwar family's friends and neighbours.

After a 30-month inquiry, India's federal detective agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), went to a court on Wednesday in Ghaziabad, near Delhi, to close the case.

"The agency has filed a final report in the court for closure of the case on grounds of insufficient evidence," a CBI spokesperson said.

The murder weapon has never been found, and while Aarushi's mobile phone was recovered nearly 15 months after her death, its memory had been deleted.

The CBI took over the case from Noida police, who were accused of a botch job.

The police had gathered 26 fingerprints from the crime scene, but 24 of those were reportedly spoiled because of faulty investigative techniques.

They had also been unable to gather any evidence from a bloody hand print, a half-drunk bottle of alcohol and a shoe print found at the murder scene.

Noida police were further criticised for some statements they made during their investigation.

Days after the murder, a senior police officer told media that Aarushi had been killed because she had discovered her father's alleged extramarital relationship with another dentist.

The same police chief also suggested the teenager could have been killed because Dr Talwar had objected to her close relationship with the murdered servant.

Dr Talwar rejected the allegations. Several women's and children's groups described the police claims as in bad taste.

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