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Top police officers still off the hook

RKS Rathore was Noida?s police chief when the two main accused in the Nithari serial killings were named in a police complaint, report Sobhana K and Umesh Raghuvanshi.

india Updated: Jan 22, 2007 02:50 IST

RKS Rathore was Noida’s police chief when the two main accused in the Nithari serial killings were named in a police complaint, when his men refused to register a case, when a court forced them to do so – and when they were still not arrested for two months.

Still, Rathore, a senior superintendent of police, and Dinesh Yadav, the circle officer, continue in their position, while nine others officers have been punished for alleged negligence of duty.

The sequence of dates, which clearly show negligence by the police, is clear in the documents available with the Hindustan Times, including the First Information Report by complainant Nand Lal that names the main accused Moninder Singh Pandher and his servant Surender Koli.

Government sources in Lucknow said on condition of anonymity that the two-member inquiry committee of the Uttar Pradesh government that came to Nithari had named 15 officers for alleged dereliction of duty. However, only nine were punished – including six who were sacked, and three who were suspended.

Citing the registration of 19 cases in connection with the serial killings, a senior official quoted the report as saying that the "district police did not act promptly in the matter under pressure." The official declined to be quoted because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

The report has not been made public. “I have submitted the report, it depends on the government to take due action against the negligent officers. I can not speak about it,” Alok Kumar Sinha, the principal home secretary of Uttar Pradesh, told the Hindustan Times. He declined to say how many officers had been named by him for negligence.

Rathore has instead claimed credit over the discoveries of human remains that led to the arrests of Pandher and Koli. “It was our team that solved the case. If we had not, the whole issue would not have been unearthed,” he told reporters last week. On Sunday, his mobile phone was switched off and a man who answered his home phone said he was not there.

On 8th May, when 26-year-old Payal’s father Nand Lal went to register a missing complaint, he was turned back from the Sector 20 police station in Noida. In his complaint, Lal had clearly written that his daughter Payal had gone to D-5 to meet Moninder Singh Pandher at 4:30 pm.

Reached by the Hindustan Times on Sunday in his village in Uttarakhand, Lal alleged that Noida Police never questioned the only witness in the case — Amar Haldar, the rickshaw puller who had dropped Payal to Pandher’s house on May 7 before she went missing. “I told the police that he was the only person who saw my daughter enter the house but the police never asked him anything,” Lal told HT. A case was finally registered five months later on 7th October after orders from the city court. In a statement to the court, the police said: “Deepika alias Payal was an adult and she has eloped with a man with whom she had an affair.”

Nithari witnesses rush

With the barricades set up by police gone, the site of the gruesome killings in Nithari here today witnessed a rush of visitors and most of them in the company of their family members.

The people of the village, however, did not like the crowd of curious onlookers. "No doubt, it is a matter of grave shame but the anxiety and the event's publicity drove us here," said Ajit, who came from Delhi's Janakpuri locality accompanied by wife and daughter. Ajeet avoided queries by his daughter as he went around the area 'inspecting' the place with his family.

However, the surge of visitors was not liked by the locals.

"This is not right. People should understand that we do not want them to come here. What is the fun, we don't understand," said Daulatram Pradhan, an elder of the village. Some of the visitors were even carrying their amateur cameras and were seen clicking photographs in front of the site. Many families were even seen cursing the police on the spot.

Some people who knew the victims of the Nithari village, avoided visiting the village saying the roads in it were too labrynthine to reach. "If I enter into the village, I would be lost inside, I don't know the roads," said Jitesh Kasana when asked if he would be also going to the nearby village.

With PTI inputs

First Published: Jan 22, 2007 02:50 IST