India dentists convicted of killing daughter, maid

AP News
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Posted: Nov 25, 2013 7:14 AM
India dentists convicted of killing daughter, maid

NEW DELHI (AP) — Two married dentists were convicted Monday of killing their 14-year-old daughter and the family's housekeeper in a sensational case that has transfixed India since the girl was found with her throat slit in 2008.

Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, from the New Delhi suburb of Noida, will be sentenced Tuesday. They could face the death penalty. In a statement, they said they were "hurt and anguished" by the verdict and would appeal.

The double-murder in a suburban pocket of the capital became one of the most closely-watched whodunits in recent memory in India.

"Everybody turned against us," Vandana Talwar, a family member, told reporters, blaming the media, police and the court following a case that has lasted more than five years. "We have only the truth on our side."

There were missteps in the investigation from the start.

In the hours after the teenager, Aarushi, was found dead in her bedroom, police named the Talwars' missing Nepali housekeeper, Hemraj, as the prime suspect. They even dispatched a team to Nepal to look for him.

But the housekeeper wasn't missing — his body was discovered lying on a terrace above Aarushi's room. It had been there the whole time.

The Talwars came under suspicion early on, and police said the manner of the girl's death suggested she was killed with surgical precision, a clear nod to the Talwars' medical profession.

"The way in which Aarushi's throat was cut points out that it was the work of some professional, who could be a doctor or a butcher," a top police official, Brij Lal, told reporters in 2008.

Police have offered several possible motives, including an honor killing.

Although authorities questioned other possible suspects, the case stalled. In 2011, the Talwars demanded a fresh investigation.

Rebecca John, the Talwars' lawyer told Indian news channel NDTV the couple was "deeply disappointed" by the verdict. John said she had drawn the court's attention to the botched up investigation of the case.

"We will appeal against the verdict within 60 days," John said.

The couple, who had been free on bail, were arrested and taken to a nearby jail soon after Judge Shyam Lal delivered the guilty verdict, she said.