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Nithari families fear businessman Pandher may go scot-free again

The kin of victims, who were allegedly raped and murdered in Nithari, raised concerns that Moninder Pandher might walk out free. They also pointed out that neither accused has been hanged years after being awarded death sentence.

noida Updated: Jul 25, 2017 12:55 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Moninder Singh Pandher was pronounced guilty by the CBI court on Monday. He was awarded death sentence.(Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

Nearly 11 years after businessman Moninder Singh Pandher was arrested for alleged serial killings in Noida, families of the victims said they remain apprehensive if justice will be delivered to them.

The kin of victims, who were allegedly raped and murdered, raised concerns that Pandher might walk out free. They also pointed out that neither accused has been hanged years after being awarded death sentence.

On Monday, a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ghaziabad awarded death penalty to Pandher and and his domestic help Surinder Koli, while hearing the eighth out of 16 cases related to the serial killings. The eighth case pertained to the murder of Pinky Sarkar, one of the victims. CBI special judge Pawan Tiwari awarded death penalty to the duo on charges of attempted rape, murder and destruction of proof in the case.

The families of several victims said they have apprehensions that the businessman would go scot-free, even though he was awarded death penalty. While Koli was booked in all the 16 cases, Pandher was named only in two — the first case related to murder of Rimpa Haldar and the eighth involving the death of Pinky Sarkar.

Surinder Koli in police custody. (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

When Haldar case was decided in February 2009, both the businessman and the help were awarded death. However, the Allahabad High Court later acquitted Pandher in the case, while it upheld Koli’s sentence.

“It has been 11 years since we have been waiting to see the accused hanged. The businessman came clear in the first case and also got released from jail on bail. There have been death penalties awarded in the cases (decided so far), but the punishment is not executed yet. We still feel that the high and mighty will again walk free,” said Pinky’s mother Bandana Sarkar.

Monday’s verdict found Pandher guilty of ‘criminal conspiracy’. He was not chargesheeted by the CBI in any of the 16 cases, except one, under the provisions of the Immoral Trafficking Act.

“It emerged during investigation that Pandher was in Dehradun on the day Sarkar was murdered. Now, Pandher has the option to move High Court. He can further move Supreme Court,” said JP Sharma, special public prosecutor, CBI.

The CBI probe revealed that Pandher was in his office in Sector 2 till 1.30pm on October 5, 2006, the day Sarkar went missing. Thereafter, he left for Dehradun in a Scorpio car with his driver Pan Singh behind the wheel.

The families of Nithari victims said they remain apprehensive, primarily about Pandher.

“The families have lost faith after years of legal battle,” said Karanveer, father of Madhu, a victim.

Meanwhile, Pandher’s son Karan said, “We will now move High Court and have full faith in the justice system. My father has not been keeping well as he is again in jail. We will seek justice before the High Court now.”

Koli, on the other hand, received death penalty in all the eight out of 16 cases decided so far.

First Published: Jul 24, 2017 23:49 IST