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Couple who killed daughter get life

An Indian couple have been jailed for life for killing their 14-year-old daughter and the family's housekeeper in a murder mystery that has gripped the country for five years.

Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, both dentists from the New Delhi suburb of Noida, came under suspicion soon after their daughter, Aarushi, was found dead in her bathroom, her throat cut with surgical precision.

Police initially named the Talwars' missing Nepali housekeeper as the prime suspect, until his body was found a day later on a terrace above Aarushi's room.

Defence lawyer Satyaketu Singh said after the sentencing that "there is no evidence against them" and expressed confidence that "this judgement will be overturned."

Another lawyer for the family said the case against the Talwars, based largely on circumstantial evidence, amounted to a "witch hunt" adding: "There has been a serious miscarriage of justice in this case."

The double-murder became one of the most closely-watched whodunits in India, with dramatic turns by police and prosecutors seizing national headlines and launching debates over details of the case.

Prosecutors for the Central Bureau of Investigation have asked for the death penalty. "Such crime comes under the rarest of rare cases," prosecutor Naresh Yadav said. "So they should be awarded maximum punishment."

The investigation found both victims had been hit with a golf club and later had their throats slit.

Police offered several possible motives in prosecuting the parents, including an honour killing.

Several other suspects had been questioned by police. After the case stalled, the Talwars in 2011 demanded a fresh investigation.

The couple were also sentenced to an additional five years in prison for destruction of evidence, while Rajesh Talwar got another year for "furnishing false information to the police regarding the murder of his daughter" by the 45-year-old housekeeper.

-AP

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