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Business News/ News / India/  Nithari killings: Rape, cannibalism, murder ends in acquittal of Moninder Pandher, Surendra koli. Explained
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Nithari killings: Rape, cannibalism, murder ends in acquittal of Moninder Pandher, Surendra koli. Explained

Allahabad High Court cites lack of evidence, acquits Surendra Koli and Moninder Singh Pandher in allegations of murder, abduction, and rape of women along with the destruction of evidence, trafficking.

Surinder Koli and Moninder Singh Pandher had been sentenced to death on charges of rape and murder. Pandher was convicted in the Pinki Sarkar rape and murder case, along with several other cases of rape, murder, pornography and cannibalism. Premium
Surinder Koli and Moninder Singh Pandher had been sentenced to death on charges of rape and murder. Pandher was convicted in the Pinki Sarkar rape and murder case, along with several other cases of rape, murder, pornography and cannibalism.

The Allahabad High Court on Monday acquitted prime suspect Surendra koli in the 2006 Nithari case also known as the 2005-2006 Noida serial murders case. Further, another accused Moninder Singh Pandher has also been acquitted by the Court in two cases in which he was sentenced to death by the trial court. The Allahabad HC cited lack of evidence for their judgement. 

Surendra koli and Moninder Singh Pandher had been sentenced to death on charges of rape and murder. Pandher was convicted in the Pinki Sarkar rape and murder case, along with several other cases of rape, murder, pornography and cannibalism. 

The sensational killings came to light with the discovery of the skeletal remains of eight children from the drain behind Pandher's house in Nithari, Noida, on December 29, 2006.

Further digging and searches of drains in the area around Pandher's house led to more skeletal remains being found. Most of these remains were that of poor children and young women who had gone missing from the area.

Within 10 days, the CBI took over case and its search resulted in the recovery of more bones. While Pandher is lodged in a Noida jail, Koli is in a Ghaziabad prison.

Here is a timeline of events 

2006- The murders discovered

The Noida serial murders, as it came to be known eventually were believed to have been committed between 2005 and 2006 by Moninder Singh Pandher and his house-help Surendra Koli

The murders came to limelight when two Nithari village residents reported they knew the location of the remains of children who had gone missing in the previous two years. 

The two were also parents whose daughters had gone missing. 

Later residents claimed to have found a decomposed hand in a drain, after which they contacted the police.

Anxious parents of children missing in the last two years rushed to Nithari with photographs. 

Koli, under the alias Satish, later confessed to killing six children and a 20-year-old woman referred to as "Payal" after sexually assaulting them. 

On 26 and 27 December respectively, Koli's employer, Moninder Singh Pandher, and Koli were taken into custody by the police in connection with the disappearance of "Payal". After Koli's confession, the police started digging up the nearby land area and discovered the children's bodies.

Pandher and Koli were arrested on 29 December 2006

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2007-Investigation revelations, confession

Child pornography- The investigating teams had seized erotic literature along with a laptop computer connected to a webcam, which immediately raised apprehensions of the presence of an international child pornography racket. The police also recovered photographs of Pandher with nude children, which were later found out to be Pandher's grandchildren and the accusations were removed. 

Organ trade and cannibalism- The police initially suspected an organ trade angle as to the motive behind the murders and raided the house of a doctor who lived in the neighbourhood of the primary accused. The police revealed that the doctor had been accused of a similar crime in 1998, although the court had absolved him the same year. The Police were "aghast" when they learned of media reports that one of the accused had confessed to the consumption of the victims' livers and other body parts.

After a brain mapping tests and narco analysis, Koli gave his employer Pandher the clean chit when he said that all deaths had taken place through strangulation. He would then rape them before taking the bodies to his personal washroom and dismembering them. 

Pandher was declared to be a womaniser and depressed.

2009- Convictions for Pandher and Koli

On February 13, 2009, Koli and Pandher were convicted and sentenced to death by a special CBI court for the rape and murder of 14-year-old Rimpa Haldar, one of the several victims.

Both the accused Moninder Singh Pandher and Surendra Koli were given the death sentence , as the case was classified as "rarest of rare".

2014 - Mercy petitions rejected

Pandher and Koli has filked mercy petition after they were sentenced to death. In 2014, then President of India late Pranab Mukherjee rejected their mercy petitions.

However, the court in September of that year stayed their execution. In September 2014, the Supreme Court commuted Koli’s death sentence to life imprisonment.

2015- Death sentence made life imprisonment 

In January 2015, the death sentence of Surender Koli was commuted to life imprisonment by the Allahabad High Court on the grounds of “inordinate delay" in deciding his mercy petition. A division bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P K S Baghel made the judgment. 

2017- Pandher, Koli awarded death sentence again

A CBI special court in Ghaziabad awarded a death sentence to Moninder Singh Pandher and Surendra Koli in connection with one of the murder cases. The sentence was passed by the court in the case of rape and murder of a 25-year-old help.

This was the ninth among all the cases in which Koli was convicted. This was also the third case in which both Pandher and Koli were convicted by the court

The CBI had told the court that the victim was a domestic help who went missing on October 12, 2006. Her identification was done through her clothes found from the human remains found in the area behind Pandher’s house, the agency had said.

2022-  Koli given death penalty

Surendra Koli was awarded the death penalty by a special CBI court in Ghaziabad. The court announced the death sentence in connection with murder charges against the accused.

The judge also awarded seven years’ imprisonment to Moninder Singh Pandher in the case, besides a fine of 62,000 on Koli and 4,000 on Pandher, officials said. 

While Koli was held guilty of murder, rape, conspiracy and destroying proof of crime, Pandher was accused of immoral trafficking. Koli was handed death sentences in more than 10 cases earlier. Pandher too was sentenced to death in three cases.

2023- Pandher, Koli acquitted

The Allahabad HC acquitted the duo citing lack of evidence. 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sayantani Biswas
Sayantani is an editor with Livemint. She covers stories of International and Indian politics, conflict
Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
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Published: 16 Oct 2023, 03:46 PM IST
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