Examine Aarushi murder witnesses by Sep 17, SC tells CBI

New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday adjourned the hearing on the bail plea of Nupur Talwar while directing the CBI to complete by Sep 17 the examination of 13 "material witnesses" in the Aarushi Talwar and Hemraj double murder case.

The apex court bench of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice J.S. Khehar told senior counsel Sidharth Luthra, appearing for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), to complete the examination of 13 prosecution witnesses by Sep 17, the next date of hearing.

The court asked Aarushi's parents and accused, Nupur Talwar and Rajesh Talwar, to cooperate in the process.

Nupur Talwar was taken into custody April 30. She challenged the May 31 Allahabad High Court order rejecting her plea for bail. She is lodged in Dasna jail in Ghaziabad. Rajesh Talwar is out on bail.

Aarushi, 14, was found murdered at her parents' Noida residence May 16, 2008. The body of her domestic help Hemraj was found the next day on the terrace of the house.

As Luthra mentioned names of witnesses Rohit Kochar and Rajeev Kumar Varshney, Justice Patnaik asked him why their evidence was not being recorded. The court was then provided with a list 13 material witnesses who were still to be examined.

The CBI counsel told the court that though the investigating agency had cited 140 witnesses, it may not examine more than 50 witnesses in the trial court.

The apex court was told that as of now six witnesses had deposed before the trial judge and deposition of others would be completed by Dec 31.

Appearing for Nupur Talwar, senior counsel K.V. Vishwanathan told the court that she was in jail for the last 106 days.

He said that the CBI's own case was that the Talwars acted in sudden provocation.

Vishwanathan said that the entire case was based on circumstantial evidence.

The senior counsel pleaded that Nupur Talwar could be released on bail and to address the apprehensions of the investigating agency the court could impose any conditions.

He said that for the same offence, Nupur Talwar's husband Rajesh Talwar was out on bail.

As Luthra said that there were witnesses who were likely to be influenced if the accused was granted bail, the court asked: "If you are apprehending that they are likely to be influenced then why have you not examined them?"

A CBI trial court in Ghaziabad has charged the Talwars under sections 302/34 (murder with common intention) and 201 (destruction of evidence with common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). In addition to these, the court charged Rajesh Talwar under section 203 (giving false information in respect of an offence committed) of the IPC.