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Nithari serial killings: Pandher, Koli convicted of murdering 20-year-old woman

Moninder Singh Pandher and his domestic help Surinder Koli are facing trial over the killing and disappearances of many women including minor girls in Nithari in 2006.

noida Updated: Jul 22, 2017 23:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ghaziabad
Nithari serial killings,Nithari,Moninder Singh Pandher
Moninder Singh Pandher was arrested after the court’s verdict and sent to Dasna jail.(Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Saturday held businessman Moninder Singh Pandher and his domestic help Surinder Koli guilty of the murder and attempted rape of a 20-year-old domestic help in Noida in 2006 -- one of the 19 victims of the Nithari serial killings that shocked the nation.

The quantum of the sentence will be announced on July 24.

After their arrest in December 2006, Pandher walked out of Dasna jail in Ghaziabad in September 2014. Koli is still in the same prison. Pandher was later again taken into custody and sent to Dasna jail.

Saturday’s verdict was in the eighth case in the 19 killings and the second one involving both Pandher and Koli.

In the first case involving both accused, a CBI court in Ghaziabad gave them death penalty in February 2009. But after an appeal, the Allahabad high court acquitted Pandher of all charges and upheld Koli’s punishment.

Pawan Tiwari, CBI Special Judge (anti corruption), on Saturday held prime accused Koli guilty of murder, abduction, attempted rape and destruction of evidence in the eighth case related to the murder of Pinki Sarkar.

“Pandher was held guilty of murder, destruction of evidence and attempted rape. The charges were accompanied by the section of criminal conspiracy. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on July 24 where both will be present before the court during final arguments,” said JP Sharma, special public prosecutor, CBI.

The victim worked as a domestic help in Noida Sector 30 and left the house of her employer after watching a television serial on October 5, 2006. She disappeared and could not be traced.

After the bones, skulls and other items of the Nithari victims were discovered from the backyard of the house belonging to Pandher, the Noida police arrested him and Koli on December 29, 2006 after a nationwide uproar over the horrific killings.

Moninder Singh Pandher at the CBI court in Ghaziabad. (Sakib Ali / HT Photo)

“The parents of the 20-year-old identified the clothes and slippers of their daughter. The DNA test later confirmed that she was among those killed,” Sharma added.

In January 2007, the CBI took over investigation from the police and re-registered 19 cases in which they could file charge sheets in only 16.

Koli was chargesheeted in all 16 cases for murder, abduction, destruction of evidence and attempted rape. Pandher was only chargesheeted in a single case under the sections of Immoral Trafficking Act.

But after complaints by the victims’ families, the CBI court in Ghaziabad in November 2007 summoned Pandher as a co-accused in five other cases. He is now facing trial in four more cases, including the one in which he was chargesheeted by the CBI.

“It is the repeat of the first case (decided in 2009) where we were held guilty and later acquitted by the high court. We have no option but to move high court for relief after the quantum is pronounced. My father is still in bad state of health and suffers heart ailment along with diabetes,” said Karan, Pandher’s son.

The Nithari killings took place in 2005 and 2006 when minor girls, young women and children disappeared mysteriously from around Pandher’s Sector 31 residence in Noida.

The CBI said Koli, who is from Mangrukhal in Uttarakhand, lured victims to his employer’s house where he attempted rape and later dismembered their body parts, which were later packed in bags and thrown in the backyard.

“I am still innocent and will contest my other case myself. I have taken up all the arguments myself in the case and need no lawyers for other cases as well,” Koli said.

First Published: Jul 22, 2017 13:23 IST