Unsolved murders of Aarushi Talwar and Hemraj Banjade investigated on Crime Junkie

Aarushi Talwar smiling in a family pic
Aarushi Talwar was just 14 years old when she was murdered. Pic credit: Family pic

Crime Junkie is examining the murder of Aarushi Talwar and Hemraj Banjade, who were brutally butchered at an apartment in the city of Noida in India.

On May 16, 2008, the body of 14-year-old Aarushi was discovered in her bedroom by her parents, Rajesh Talwar and Nupur Talwar. Her throat had been slit, and she was bludgeoned to death.

The Talwars blamed the murder on their live-in servant, 45-year-old Hemraj Banjade, and the police initially put the missing man down as their number one servant.

However, everything changed when Banjade’s body was found two days later on an upper terrace within the Talwar’s apartment. Banjade had also been murdered in a similar manner to Aarushi; his throat had been slit, and he was beaten about the head.

The case became a media sensation throughout India. Rajesh and Nupur Talwar were both dental doctors and were considered to be an upwardly mobile family living in an affluent neighborhood, all of which added to a sense of scandal.

The local Uttar Pradesh state cops initially handled the case but was soon passed to federal cops belonging to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The CBI began to suspect that Aarushi and Banjade may have been killed as part of an honor killing, and they began to wonder if the parents were the killers. The couple were even given a lie detector test.

Rajesh Talwar arrested on suspicion of honor killing Aarushi Talwar and Hemraj Banjade

Unsubstantiated rumors emerged that the teenager and the servant were having an affair. The CBI arrested Rajesh Talwar a week after the murders, but he was bailed out two months later. A couple of years later, the CBI announced it wanted to close the case due to a lack of evidence.

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The case was revived again in 2011 with a fresh team from the CBI declaring that the murders could only have been committed by Rajesh and Napur. The couple was soon arrested and put on trial.

In November 2013, the pair were found guilty of killing Aarushi and Banjade and were sentenced to life in prison.

However, in 2017, the Allahabad High Court acquitted the couple. The new ruling declared that the evidence had been insufficient and too circumstantial to ensure the Talwars were guilty.

Aarushi Talwar and Hemraj Banjade murder case botched by the cops

The investigation has been plagued with accusations of police incompetence. The cops allegedly failed to secure the crime scene properly, which led to evidence being contaminated. The police were also criticized for failing to search the apartment properly, causing Banjade’s body to remain undiscovered for two days.

The city of Noida had been hosting a visit from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the day Aarushi’s body was discovered, which meant high-ranking officers were largely tied up with policing his visit.

The murders remain unsolved to this day. Some theories have emerged, such as one that implicates friends of Banjade who may have visited him on the day of the murders.

INFAMOUS: Aarushi Talwar & Hemraj Banjade is available to stream now on Crime Junkie.

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