Nithari killings: Koli, Pandher get death sentence for murder of Pinki Sarkar
Surinder Koli and Moninder Singh Pandher were pronounced guilty by the CBI court in the murder and attempted rape of 20-year-old Pinki Sarkar. This is eighth of the 16 murder cases against the two. Judgment has already been given in seven cases.Updated: Jul 24, 2017 23:11 IST
A CBI court awarded the death sentence to Moninder Singh Pandher and his aide, Surinder Koli, on Monday in one of the 16 cases of the macabre Nithari serial killings in 2005 and 2006.
The duo was arrested on December 29, 2006, after the discovery of bones and skulls from the backyard of Pandher’s Sector 31 home in Noida’s Nithari. Police found the mortal remains during investigation when children and young women disappeared mysteriously in the area.
The Nithari horror, in which victims were raped, killed and the corpses cannibalized, sent shockwaves and stirred the collective conscience of the country.
The verdict of the CBI court in Ghaziabad is significant as Pandher was earlier let off by the Allahabad high court in 2009 as his cell phone location was traced to Australia when the killings happened. The defence had successfully argued that he was no way involved in the crime as he was abroad.
But this time, the CBI found that he was in Noida’s Sector 2 till about 1.30pm on October 5, 2006, and then left for Dehradun. That day Koli lured Pinky Sarkar, a 20-year-old domestic help, to Pandher’s home.
The charge sheet states that Pinky worked at a house in Sector 30, where she watched a serial on television from 1pm. She left afterwards and disappeared. Her clothes were found at Pandher’s backyard.
The location and time were crucial to nail Pandher as investigators said he was in Noida when Pinky vanished. He returned to Noida on October 14.
“Such culprits deserve hard punishment so that others think a thousand times before committing such crimes. Koli lured victims inside the house where he raped and attempted to rape before murdering them and later threw their body parts and ate some of them in a heinous manner,” CBI special judge Pawan Kumar Tiwari said, pronouncing the sentence.
He said Pandher was part of the conspiracy. “There is no scope for their reform or rehabilitation. This case falls under the category of rarest of rare and both deserve death penalty.”
Pandher’s lawyer argued that there was no evidence against the ailing man and he has spent eight years in jail already.
Koli, who is from Mangrukhal in Uttarakhand, made his closing arguments on Saturday.
“You give me any punishment as you feel like ... there is no evidence against me. The CBI has framed me. The court should be equal to both sides and I feel I have been denied justice,” Koli said.
“There is no eyewitness in the case and the victim’s family never made any allegations against me. The DNA test of the victim did not confirm I committed the rape.”
Of the 16 cases filed against the duo, eight were decided and the Ghaziabad court awarded death penalty to prime accused Koli in each of its verdicts.
They were handed copies of the judgment on Monday and sent to Dasna jail.
“The concept of blood for blood cannot be made applicable in society. Still, the work of the state is to strive for a decent society. This is possible only when such people, who have become dangerous for society, are punished with death,” special judge Tiwari said.
Pandher walked out of Dasna jail in September 2014 after getting bail in all cases. But Koli was never let off.
Families of the Nithari victims are not convinced with the verdict as the cases have dragged for years.
“No one is hanged even after 11 years. It is a relief that Koli is in jail. Pandher may get relief from higher courts,” said Karanveer, the father of young girl Madhu whose bones were found in Pandher’s backyard.
“The Nithari families have lost faith after years of legal battle ... no one is hanged till date.”
Pinky’s family searched the whole area the day she disappeared.
“We could find only her clothes and slippers. We left Nithari after she was presumed dead, as we had to pass Pandher’s house on the way to work. I couldn’t bear the sight of it. Every time I passed the house tears streamed down my eyes. We waited 11 years for them to be hanged,” said mother Bandana Sarkar.
First Published: Jul 24, 2017 11:14 IST