The prime accused in the Nithari case, Surinder Koli, is now represented by another set of lawyers to pursue his cases pending trial at Ghaziabad. So far, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court has awarded Koli death penalty in all the six cases decided till now, while the rest are in different stages of trial.
The lawyers representing Koli said they were engaged in the case recently and are contesting his case for free. They have now submitted a petition at the Allahabad high court.
“We have submitted a petition under Section 329 of the Criminal Procedure Code that Koli should be examined. This is because the documents in the case submitted by the prosecution suggest that he is not of sound mind. We submitted an application before the trial court, but it was dismissed later. So, we have moved the high court,” said Ravindra S Garia, the lawyer representing Koli.
“On October 5, when we tried to submit an application for adjournment, citing pendency of the petition at high court, our application was not received at Ghaziabad. We don’t even have the full set of documents and have not even been able to examine all the documents in the case so far,” he added.
Koli has been accused of sexually abusing and murdering 16 women and children between February 2005 and November 2006 in Nithari in Noida and disposing of their bodies. He was working as a domestic help at businessman Moninder Singh Pandher’s house during this time. In the first of the Nithari cases, which was decided at Ghaziabad in February 2009, both Koli and Pandher were awarded death penalty. Following an appeal, the Allahabad high court acquitted Pandher of all charges while Koli’s punishment was upheld. Pandher was released from Dasna jail in September 2014 and the high court granted him bail in five of his remaining cases. Pandher was summoned as co-accused in six cases by the court.
Since his arrest in December 2006, Koli has been lodged at Dasna jail in Ghaziabad. In January 18, 2007, he had disclosed that he used an axe to cut up the victims’ bodies. The axe was recovered at his instance on the same day. A knife was also used during the crime. In March 2007, Koli was subjected to CrPC 164 statements (before a magistrate).
A board of psychologists and psychiatrists constituted by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in February 2007 had opined that Koli was suffering from necrophilia and necrophagia and did not suffer from any kind of psychiatric illness.
In one case, high court commuted his death sentence to life imprisonment in January 2015.
All these years, Koli could not hire any lawyer and the court awarded him services of an amicus curie to contest his cases. After the initial four cases in which he was represented by the amicus curie, he defended himself in the fifth case and also undertook cross-examination of various prosecution witnesses. He also filed RTIs with agencies such as the Noida police, Noida authority, Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, among others.