Moninder Singh Pandher did not know that his servant Surinder Koli had murdered several women and children in his absence at his Noida home, according to investigators in the Nithari serial killings case.
The CBI on Thursday said at a press conference that Pandher, who was arrested nearly three months ago along with Koli, was not involved in 16 of the 18 FIRs of rape and murder the agency had registered, and which had been fully investigated now.
Pandher’s role in the remaining two cases was still being probed, Arun Kumar, CBI joint director, said, adding the agency had registered a separate FIR relating to the recovery of human bones from the drains near Pandher’s home.
Kumar said Koli, a psychopath, had raped and murdered the victims — 17 females confirmed — over two years at his employer’s residence. Pandher had no knowledge of this as he was mostly away from home.
But he said Pandher faced other charges like criminal conspiracy, suppressing facts, destruction of evidence in the case and bribing a police officer to save himself and Koli from legal proceedings. Pandher also faces charges under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act for regularly procuring call girls for himself and friends at his home.
Legal experts said the most serious charge against Pandher was of criminal conspiracy. “He could get the same punishment as Koli who is the main accused now. Punishment for an act of criminal conspiracy is same as that for the crime committed, which in this case is kidnap, rape and murder," said lawyer Mukta Gupta.
Kumar also announced that the CBI had filed its first chargesheet in the case — relating to the abduction, rape and murder of 26-year-old Payal, who went missing on May 7, 2006 — at the special CBI court in Ghaziabad. Along with Pandher and Koli, the CBI has also chargesheeted Simarjeet Kaur, the dismissed Noida policewoman who allegedly took bribes to shield the other two. Kaur was arrested on Wednesday.
The CBI officer denied reports that Koli, 31, and Pandher, 50, were paedophiles. He said Koli suffered from necrophilia (obsessive, erotic interest in dead bodies) and had cannibalistic tendencies. “After committing his first murder, Koli had cut the breasts of the victim, boiled them in a pressure cooker and eaten them. He repeated this after the second murder,” Kumar said.
"After committing his third murder, that of a boy, Koli ripped out the liver and tried to eat it raw. But he vomited this time and never tried eating human flesh again," Kumar said.