Koli held guilty in 12th Nithari murder case, employer Pandher acquitted
Ghaziabad: A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ghaziabad on Friday held prime accused in the Nithari murders Surinder Koli guilty but acquitted his employer Mondinder Singh Pandher in a case linked to the murders.
The case is of the abduction, attempted rape and murder of a 20-year-old domestic help and destruction of evidence in the crime. Lawyers attached to the case said that the quantum of punishment is likely to be pronounced on Saturday.
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, Noida. Pandher is the owner of the house and Koli was his domestic help.
The CBI 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 12th case was regarding a murder that is believed to have happened on November 12, 2006.
“Koli lured her into the house where he killed her. Her body parts and belongings were recovered in the investigation and the parents identified her clothes. Koli in his statements before a magistrate had also revealed her name. Later, DNA sampling of the remains and blood of victim’s parents also matched,” said JP Sharma, CBI public prosecutor. He said that the prosecution produced 38 witnesses in the case.
The prosecution, during final arguments in all previous cases, had demanded death penalty for Koli while terming the killings as “rarest of rare”.
Koli, a native of Mangrukhal village in Almora district of Uttarakhand, is representing his cases himself in the trial court and had been lodged in Dasna jail ever since he was arrested in December, 2006. Pandher is lodged in Dasna jail.
“Of the six cases we now have only one case which is pending trial at Ghaziabad while the other cases are pending appeal before higher courts,” said Devraj Singh, Pandher’s lawyer at Ghaziabad court.