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Koli gets twelfth death penalty in another Nithari killing case

Ghaziabad: A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ghaziabad on Saturday awarded death penalty to Surinder Koli, the prime accused in the Nithari murders, for brutal murder, attempted rape and abduction of a 20-year-old woman in November, 2006
By HT Correspondent
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 11:31 PM IST

Ghaziabad: A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ghaziabad on Saturday awarded death penalty to Surinder Koli, the prime accused in the Nithari murders, for brutal murder, attempted rape and abduction of a 20-year-old woman in November, 2006. It was the 12th case related to the murders in Nithari village of Noida and Koli faced capital punishment in all the cases.

On Friday, the CBI court had held Koli guilty but acquitted his employer Moninder Singh Pandher in the case.

The victim in the case was a domestic help who was lured by Koli at his employer’s house on November 12, 2006 and he later strangled her before attempting rape, said a public prosecutor.

“The court termed the crime as the rarest of rare and pronounced death penalty for Koli. In all twelve cases, we demanded maximum punishment and capital punishment was awarded to him in all cases at Ghaziabad. Now, four more cases are pending trial. Three of these are in advanced stages of evidence while statements of witnesses are getting recorded in one other,” said JP Sharma, special public prosecutor for CBI.

Koli was facing trial in the case for IPC sections 302 (murder), 364 (abduction), 376/511 (attempted rape) and 201 (destruction of evidence).

The court on Saturday awarded him death penalty under IPC section 302, life imprisonment under section 364, five years rigorous punishment under section 376/511 and seven years imprisonment under section 201.

“Besides, the court also levied penalties under different sections which amount to 1.10 lakh. During the arguments for sentencing, we said that the act was a barbaric and the accused does not deserve any sympathy,” Sharma added.

Koli’s employer Pandher was also a co-accused in the case. However, Pandher was acquitted of all charges in the case by the court.

The infamous Nithari murders were believed to be committed between 2005 and 2006. In December 2006, skeletons were found in a drain near to a house in Nithari, which led to the discovery of the crime. Pandher is the owner of the house and Koli was his domestic help.

The CBI, which investigated the case from 2007, registered 16 cases, charge sheeting Koli in all of them for murder, abduction, rape, besides destruction of evidence, and Pandher in one for immoral trafficking. The Ghaziabad court, however, summoned Pandher in five other cases after several victims’ families approached it.

In 11 previous cases, the court had found Koli guilty in all and had awarded the death sentence all of which are now pending appeal in higher courts. With Friday’s ruling, Pandher has been acquitted in two cases.

The first case related to the Nithari killings was decided at Ghaziabad on February 13, 2009, when 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. Following a petition later, Koli’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the high court in January, 2015.

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