The probe into the Aarti Prasad (8) murder had begun three years ago, when investigators from the Noida police and CBI had dug out 73 bone pieces from a drain near D5, Sector 31, Noida.
Though it was difficult to identify Prasad from the skeletal remains, her personal effects—clothes—had helped ascertain that she was one of the 19 suspected rape-andmurder victims of domestic help Surendra Koli.
In his testimony, recorded on video between March 1-3, 2007, before a Delhi Metropolitan Magistrate, Koli had owned up to the murders, including that of Prasad. Koli remembered the girl as a “ganji ladki (bald girl)” and recognised the photograph of Aarti that CBI interrogators had shown him.
According to the CBI chargesheet, Aarti had left her her home around 12.30 pm on September 25, 2006. Soon after, Koli had lured her inside bungalow D 5 on the pretext of giving her a chocolate. She had left her house to buy sweets; her father, Durga Prasad, had told the police while filing a missing complaint the same day.
The CBI, in its probe, had established that Koli’s employer, businessman Moninder Singh Pandher, was not present at the house when Koli raped, killed and dismembered Aarti. CBI’s finding, said an investigator, was based on “scientific, verifiable evidence” obtained from his cell phone set then.
Pandher’s cell phone, bearing number 9810098644, had showed that at the time of the murder—between 11 am to 6 pm that day—he was present at his office in sector 2.
“He later went to east Delhi, then to Haryana Tourism’s hotel Magpie at Faridabad. He spent the night there with a call girl,” said the investigator. He added, “The hotel’s bills and the call girl’s testimony proved his stay at the hotel.” The CBI had procured voluminous records from Pandher’s cell phone service provider showing his location in 2005-6 that ran in to “3,000 pages”.