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Parents face trial for India schoolgirl murder


The parents of an Indian schoolgirl stabbed to death in her bedroom will stand trial for her murder, a court ruled Wednesday, the latest twist in a gruesome mystery that has gripped the nation.

Aarushi Talwar, 13, and a domestic servant called Hemraj were murdered at the family home in New Delhi in May 2008, prompting a massive investigation, marred by police slip-ups, which had until now failed to find the killers.

Police originally said the servant had murdered Aarushi, who was found in her bedroom with her throat slit, until they found his body on a balcony of the house 24 hours later.

Aarushi's dentist father, Rajesh Talwar, was suspected of having an affair and his alleged mistress was questioned, as were Aarushi's mother Nupru and several family friends and business associates.

A court in the satellite town of Ghaziabad on Wednesday ruled the couple should be tried for the murders, though no date was set for the trial and they have not yet been arrested.

"Our stand was that the probe of the investigating officer proves that no outsider was involved in this," Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) counsel R.K. Saini told reporters after the court decision.

"Circumstantial evidence is pointing out that whatever has been done, the parents only have done it."

In December, the CBI said it had been forced to close the case due to insufficient evidence, following an investigation during which Aarushi's parents and many other suspects were detained.

Before being taken off the case, local police in the suburb of Noida suggested Aarushi may have been killed for discovering her father's affair or for sleeping with the servant.

The domestic, middle-class setting of the murders, the numerous theories about who was responsible and accusations of gross incompetence by the police created widespread public interest in he case.

Aarushi's parents have consistently maintained their innocence.