Surinder Koli, the prime accused in the Nithari killing cases, was awarded the death penalty again by a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ghaziabad on Friday. This is the seventh — of the 17— cases in which trial has been completed at Ghaziabad. Koli has been found guilty and awarded the death penalty in all the seven cases so far.
On Friday, Koli was awarded the death penalty for the murder of a 12-year-old girl, who hailed from Darjeeling and had come to stay at her aunt’s house at Nithari. The girl had gone to a local vegetable market on the morning of July 24, 2006, but did not return. She was lured by Koli inside his employer, Moninder Singh Pandher’s, house in Sector-31 Noida. Pandher’s mobile locations indicted his presence in Punjab during the period when the girl was killed by Koli in his house.
“Koli attempted rape, strangulated her and later chopped the body parts of the victim before throwing them behind the house in polythene bag. He was also awarded life imprisonment for abduction, 10 years imprisonment for attempted rape and seven years imprisonment for destruction of evidence,” said JP Sharma, public prosecutor, CBI.
Koli was chargesheeted by CBI in 16 out of 19 Nithari cases. He had been contesting his cases without any hired lawyers, but a Supreme Court advocate, Ravindra S Garia, took up his cases. During arguments on conviction, Garia said that he had put forward his argument but attracted the attention of the court over several issues related to the case.
“Repeated applications seeking inspection of documents and copies were dismissed. We had also put up an application under section 329 of CrPC but this was dismissed. We later approached Allahabad high court and notices were issued to the UP government. The CrPC requires that a trial court — if faced with material indicating unsound mind of the accused — should before proceeding trial hold a preliminary trial to ascertain whether the accused is mentally capable of facing trial,” he said.
“Till date, we have not been provided all copies of the exhibited documents on which the prosecution’s case if based. In such case, it was unethical for me to put forward my arguments in the case,” he added.
Before the seventh case judgment, Koli’s ailing mother Kunti Devi also arrived from her native place in Uttarakhand and met her son inside Dasna jail on Thursday.
“She is old and was barely able to walk. Still, she undertook the long journey and met her son. Koli told her of his innocence and said that he will keep fighting the legal battle,” said Narayan Singh, a villager from Koli’s native place at Mangrukhal.
One of Koli’s earlier cases, decided at Ghaziabad, was commuted to life imprisonment by the Supreme Court. The other cases are pending appeal at Allahabad high court.