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Pandher, Koli held guilty in Nithari murder case

Source: PTI
Last updated on: February 12, 2009 23:18 IST
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Two years after the grisly killing of children and women in Nithari came to light, a special court on Thursday convicted businessman Moninder Singh Pandher and his servant Surendra Koli of rape and murder in the first of the 19 cases filed against them.

The quantum of sentence in the case of 14-year-old Rimpa Haldar would be pronounced by special court judge Rama Jain on Friday.

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).

The judgement has come as a major embarrassment for the Central Bureau of Investigation which had probed the case and had given a clean chit to Pandher.

Of the 19 cases, the CBI has filed chargesheets in 16 cases against Koli.

Earlier in the morning, when Pandher was produced in the court, Jain asked him whether he was aware of the statement made by Koli in the Metropolitan Magistrate's court in Delhi, to which he replied in negative.

The judge also asked him whether he knew Payal, a 20-year-old girl and one of the victims, to which he said that he had knowledge about her, Public Prosecutor J P Sharma said. Rimpa, a maid working at Moninder's Sector 31 residence in Noida, had gone missing four years ago and Koli had confessed before CBI to having sexually assaulted and killing her.

According to prosecution, Koli was suffering from necrophilia and had even eaten body parts of his victims. The CBI in its statement said that Koli had committed the crime on February 8, 2005 and that Pandher was not part of it as he was in Australia at that time.

The Nithari killings which shocked the country came to light with the discovery of skeletol remains of children from the drain behind Pandher's bungalow in Nithari in late December 2006 leading to the arrest of the two. A public outcry forced the UP governmnet to seek a CBI probe. Ghaziabad court premises were turned into a fortress today with large number of security personnel standing guard.

Thursday's conviction in the case of 14-year-old Rimpa Haldar, one of the 19 victims who was sexually exploited and
brutally murdered at Pandher's house at Nithari in Noida, was the first one to be pronounced against the duo.
Pandher was found guilty under IPC sections 302, 376, 201 and 120B, whereas Koli was convicted under sections 302, 376,
364 and 511.
The section 302 calls for the execution of the culprits or life imprisonment if found guilty of murder whereas, section 376 punishes a person for a term not less than seven years and maximum life imprisonment for committing a rape.
Pandher was charged with causing disappearance of evidence of offence and giving false information (section 201) and hatching criminal conspiracy (section 120B).
Kohli was charged with the kidnapping or abducting in order to murder (Section 364) and for attempting to commit offenses which are punishable with imprisonment for life (section 511).

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