Nithari Killings: SC Notice to CBI on Pandher's Acquittal

New Delhi
Nithari Killings: SC Notice to CBI on Pandher's Acquittal
The Supreme Court today issued notice to the CBI on the acquittal of Moninder Singh Pandher in one of the Nithari killings in which several women and girls were raped, murdered and some of them devoured by main culprit Surinder Koli.

A bench of justices Swatanter Kumar and Ranjan Gogoi sought the CBI's response on the acquittal and posted the matter for further hearing after the summer vacation.

The apex court issued the notice to CBI after counsel B P Singh Dhakray and Shakti Singh Dhakray appearing for the father of one of the deceased pleaded that the premier investigating agency be made a party to the case.

On February 15 last year, the Supreme Court had upheld the death sentence to Nithari serial killer Surinder Koli for murdering 14-year-old Rimpa Haldar, one of his first victims in the serial rape-cum-killing episode six years back, saying the case was "horrifying" and "barbaric".

A bench of justices Markandey Katju (since retired) and Gyan Sudha Misra confirmed the death sentence to 39-year-old Koli, who has also been awarded capital punishment by the trial court in three other cases of rape and killing of young women and children in Nithari village near Noida on the outskirts of the national capital.

A total of 16 cases were registered against Koli. His businessmen employer Moninder Singh Pandher was sentenced to death in Rimpa Haldar case but he was acquitted by the Allahabad High Court. 54-year-old Pandher is facing trial in other cases.

Anil Haldar subsequently filed an appeal in the apex court challenging Pandher's acquittal which came up for hearing today.

The apex court had earlier, while upholding Kohli's death penalty, said the convict in his confessional statement, had given "graphic details" of how he used to allure and kill young girls in Noida.

The court said, "The confessions had been made voluntarily before the magistrate and there is no defect in it."

The bench confirmed Koli's death sentence, first awarded by CBI special court at Ghaziabad and later endorsed by the high court, dismissing his appeal in one of the first of the 16 cases.

This case pertains to the rape and murder of a minor girl Rimpa Haldar.

While confirming Koli's death sentence, the apex court kept pending with itself the CBI appeal against acquittal of Pandher, saying any order passed against him or in his favour can have a bearing on remaining cases which are at the trial stage.

The court had said that before deciding the CBI's appeal, it would wait for the outcome of the trial of other cases in which Pandher is accused along with his servant Koli.
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