SC dismisses Talwars' plea on witnesses

New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday dismissed a plea by dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar seeking a direction to the CBI to examine those dropped from the investigating agency's list of prosecution witnesses.

The names of 14 witnesses were dropped before their statements could be recorded by a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court in Ghaziabad which is holding the trial in the Aarushi Talwar-Hemraj double murder case.

While declining to entertain the plea by the Talwars, the apex court bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice Dipak Misra said: "We cannot compel the CBI or the prosecuting agency to examine certain witnesses. It is absolutely their prerogative."

As Rajiv Nanda, counsel for the Talwars, pressed for the plea to be admitted, the court said: "When your turn comes (before the trial court), you can call them as defence witnesses. There is no law that prohibits you from doing that. There is no need to hurry."

As Nanda tried to take the court into the details of the Talwars' house where the double murder took place, the court said: "We are not here for a mini-trial and issue a certificate to you. We are only concerned with your plea challenging the high court order."

Earlier last week, the Allahabad High Court dismissed the Talwars' plea seeking directions to the CBI to examine witnesses that the agency had chosen to drop. "There is no need to force the prosecution to call witnesses other than those it deems proper," the high court said May 21, while rejecting the dentist couple's plea.

Rajesh and Nupur Talwar moved the high court against the May 4 order of the trial court declining their plea for examination of the 14 witnesses.

The Talwars were seeking the recording of the statements and examination of 14 witnesses which included Arun Kumar, former joint director of the CBI.

Kumar had presided over the investigation into the case from June 2008 to April 2009. However, the investigation came under criticism as it allegedly suffered from many loopholes. Subsequently, a new team was constituted to carry out the probe.

Aarushi, 14, was found brutally murdered in the Talwars' Noida residence May 16, 2008. The body of the Talwars' domestic help Hemraj, who was first suspected to be the girl's killer, was found the next day on the terrace of the house.

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