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Arguments on the quantum of punishment to domestic help Surender Koli, convicted for the rape and murder of seven-year-old Arti from Noida’s Nithari village, have been deferred till May 12 following a lawyers’ strike, an official said Wednesday.

The arguments were deferred after Ghaziabad bar association lawyers struck work to voice their protest against their colleagues in Kanpur being baton-charged.

A.K. Singh, judge of special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court, adjourned the hearing after Koli’s lawyer submitted that he was unable to argue as the Ghaziabad bar association called for a total boycott of courts.

The court reached a resolution at about 11.45 a.m. after Ghaziabad bar association president Shiv Dutt Tyagi requested the bench not to conduct business.

A special Central Bureau of Investigation court had Tuesday convicted Koli of the rape and murder of Arti who had disappeared from her home in September 2006. She was among the 19 women and children from Noida’s Nithari village whose body parts were found in a drain.

Of the 19 cases of abduction, rape and murder, the CBI filed chargesheets in 17. All the cases are being heard separately.

While Koli, 38, has been charged with rape, abduction and murder in all the cases, his businessman employer, 55-year-old Mohinder Singh Pandher, behind whose bungalow in suburban Noida the body parts were found, is co-accused in only six cases.

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