Pandher back in jail after three years, kin say his health might deteriorate

Pandher, once a successful businessman who dealt in JCB machines, suffered major setbacks after his name cropped up in the Nithari killings.

noida Updated: Jul 22, 2017 23:22 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Nithari killing,Nithari murders,pandher
Surinder Koli and businessman Moninder Singh Pandher. (Sakib Ali /Hindustan Times)

Nearly three years after he stepped out of Dasna jail for the first time since his 2006 arrest, businessman Moninder Singh Pandher on Saturday walked back into prison after being convicted by a CBI court in Ghaziabad.

Pandher was on Saturday held guilty in a case of murder and attempted rape of a 20-year-old woman, Pinki Sarkar, one of the 19 victims of Noida’s Nithari serial killings. The quantum of punishment against him will be pronounced on Monday.

Pandher, who hails from Chandigarh and is nearing 60, suffers from a number of health ailments, including heart problem and diabetes. His family says that most of his ailments occurred due to his first stint in jail.

“Saturday’s judgment has come as a shocker as there was hardly any evidence against him. Once again, he will be lodged in jail till the appeal is taken up by the high court. In the first case too, he was held guilty but later acquitted by the high court. It seems that we have to go through the same procedure again and the other cases seem to be heading in the same direction,” said Karan, Pandher’s son.

“All this has taken a toll on his health. He now suffers from heart ailment and is very weak,” he added.

Pandher, once a successful businessman who dealt in JCB machines, suffered major setbacks after his name cropped up in the Nithari killings. The CBI initially did not chargesheet Pandher, but he was later made a co-accused after court took cognizance of complaints and issued summoning order.

On the other hand, Surinder Koli, a native of Mangrukhal in Uttarakhand, has been in jail since he was arrested along with Pandher in December 2006 and lodged in Dasna. Koli’s old mother still lives in a small rickety house at Mangrukhal, while his wife — along with two minor children, including a son born after Koli was jailed — have moved to NCR in search of a livelihood and have preferred to remain anonymous.

“They came once to meet me in jail. Since then, I have no knowledge about their whereabouts. I am studying my case documents and contesting my own case for the past couple of years. Initially, I was given legal tips by an inmate who was lodged here in connection with a bomb blast case. After that, I have been arguing my own cases and appearing on behalf of myself in arguments in 55 hearings at the court,” Koli said.

After his arrest, Koli was first put in an isolation cell for nearly nine years, before being moved to the common cell, along with other inmates.

Koli, 43, said that his CrPC 164 (statements before magistrate in 2007) statements have proved to be a nail in the coffin, which will make him guilty in every case.

“I argued that the statements were recorded while I was in CBI’s custody. I never named the 20-year-old victim in my statements. Neither have her parents lodged a case against me. Her DNA matched with her parents. But how can the killing be connected to me? I know I will have similar fate in other cases too, but I will continue to represent my case strongly,” he added.

Out of the 16 cases registered, judgments in eight have been delivered by the CBI court at Ghaziabad. The other cases are at different stages of trial.

First Published: Jul 22, 2017 23:21 IST