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Six-yr-old could be key Nithari witness

The girl is ready to testify that she was stalked for days by serial-killing suspect Koli, reports Meenal Dubey.
None | By Meenal Dubey, Noida
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2007 03:04 PM IST

A six-year-old girl says she is ready to testify that she was stalked for days by Nithari serial-killing suspect Surendra Koli, who allegedly tried to walk her into the white mansion around which dozens of children were killed and dumped. The girl says Maya, a maid at the house where Koli and his co-accused Moninder Singh Pandher lived, too made a similar attempt on one occasion.

Lawyers say schoolgirl Mehnaz Khan, whose friend Pooja was one of the victims of the alleged serial killers, could become a key witness in the investigation against Koli.

Mehnaz's mother Shamshad Begum said Mehnaz had shuddered when she saw the white-coloured house and Koli's face on television last month.

When a Hindustan Times journalist showed the girl a picture of Koli, she stiffened and clenched her fists. She said "yes" when asked whether she was willing to go to the police station to identify Koli, and record her statement there.

Begum said she had no doubt the man her daughter had met was Koli and the woman she referred to was Maya. "When the pictures of Surendra and Maya appeared in the papers and on television, Mehnaz recognised them immediately," she said.

Social activist Usha Thakur, who campaigned on behalf of the missing children's families, said she knew of Mehnaz's story. "Luckily, both times, someone saved the little girl before she entered Pandher's home," said Thakur.

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