Describing his father Moninder Singh Pandher as a "fine, innocent man", Karandeep Singh Pandher blamed the media for his conviction on Thursday for the rape and murder of 14-year-old Rimpa Halder in Nithari in Noida area.
"I thank the media for their help - thanks to them a fine innocent man has been sent to jail. Thank you very much!" an angry Karandeep Singh told IANS.
A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Thursday afternoon convicted businessman Moninder Singh Pandher and his domestic help Surendra Koli for raping and killing Haldar.
The CBI in its May 2007 charge sheet accused Koli of abduction, rape and murder of Haldar, and exonerated Pandher. But the court after hearing the defence argument in July 2007 charged Pandher too with rape and murder.
After the conviction was announced, Moninder Singh Pandher's wife Devinder Kaur and son burst into tears.
Karandeep hugged his father and said: "Sorry Papa, I could not save you." Pandher replied: "Don't cry…"
Asked if the verdict surprised him, Pandher's son said: "I will not say anything on this."
"I feel what anyone whose innocent father was sent to jail would feel," Karandeep said.
Avoiding the media glare, the family immediately left the courtroom. Moninder Singh Pandher and Koli were whisked away by the police.Special judge Rama Jain will pronounce the quantum of punishment on Friday morning.
While both Pandher and Koli were found guilty of murder and rape, Koli was also booked under the additional charge of abduction. Pandher was found guilty of destruction of evidence and criminal conspiracy.
The two men were arrested on Dec 29, 2006, after the Noida police found 15 skulls outside Pandher's D-5 bungalow, touching Nithari village in Noida on the outskirts of the national capital.
Subsequently, more bones were recovered from the drain behind the bungalow. Eventually, investigations revealed that the remains belonged to four young women and 15 girls who had been raped, killed and their bodies mutilated.