Allahabad HC found no evidence in one case against Moninder Singh Pandher, the key accused in the sensational killings of at least 18 young girls and boys in Nithari in Noida(UP).
Court gave a clean chit to Pandher, who was awarded death sentence by the special trial court of the CBI, it upheld the same sentence on his domestic servant Surinder, believed to be an equal partner in the gruesome killings.
Justice Imtiaz Murtaza and Justice KN.Pandey, however, made it clear that the acquittal was only with respect to the rape and murder of 14-year-old Rimpa Haldar, a maid who had disappeared from Pandher’s house about four years ago. The remaining 18 cases against the two accused would continue, the court clarified.
Significantly, the CBI had also given Pandher a clean chit after the UP police handed over the case to the premier investigation agency following much public outcry across the state and Delhi.Pandher and Koli had challenged the death sentence awarded to them on Feb 13 this year by the trial court in Ghaziabad.
The high court, while upholding the death sentence of Koli, who had admitted to have killed the 14-year-old girl, observed that the crime committed by him was “gruesome, heinous and cold-blooded” and “we would not forebear from expressing that the accused Surendra Koli is a menace to the society”.
The bench observed: “The depraved and brutish acts of Koli call for only one sentence and that is death sentence. We agree with the reasoning of the sessions judge awarding death sentence and affirm the same award to Koli.”
The conviction in the murder of 14-year-old Haldar, who was one of the 19 victims to be sexually exploited and brutally murdered at Pandher’s house at Nithari in Noida, was the first one to be pronounced against the duo.
While Koli was found guilty by the court under various sections of Indian Penal Code for murder and rape, Pandher was convicted on the same charges along with Section 120-B -criminal conspiracy.