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Justice still far away in 18 Nithari cases

Last updated on: December 28, 2009 19:31 IST
Three years after the gory Nithari killings rocked the country causing widespread outrage over the cannibalistic and necrophiliac traits of convict Surinder Koli, 18 out of 19 cases continue to linger on.

While businessman Moninder Singh Pandher, at whose D-5 Noida residence the crimes were committed, and his servant Koli were sentenced to death by a Central Bureau of Investigation court in February this year for the rape and murder of 14-year-old girl Rimpa Halder, 16 more cases are under judicial process.

The Allahabad High Court had on September 11 this year acquitted Pandher while confirming death sentence of Koli.

The victims' families want the courts to take up the Nithari killing cases on a fast track mode.

"The next hearing could be in the case of another victim Aarti who was allegedly raped and murdered at Pandher's house. We hope the courts take the cases on a priority basis. The families want justice," Khalid Khan, a lawyer representing families of Nithari victims, said.

"Chargesheets have been filed in 16 cases, while one case is under investigation. In two other cases the closure reports have been filed," Special Public Prosecutor for CBI J P Sharma told PTI.

The 2005 killings in Noida, which evoked uproar in December 2006, was transferred to CBI in January 2007 and the agency has so far submitted 16 chargesheets out of 19 first investigation reports.

Investigations into the serial murders began in December 2006 by police in Noida when the skeletal remains of a number of missing children and women were discovered from a drain near Pandher's house.

Besides rape and murder, police had also probed allegations of organ trade in the killings.

The CBI has said the chargesheets were finalised in 16 cases after thorough probe from all angles, including scientific tests like DNA fingerprinting, skull superimposition and other legally admissible evidence.

While in eight cases, the identity of the victims was fixed through DNA test, in five cases, the identity could be established through skull superimposition test, the CBI said.

CBI said Pandher, owner of the house, was away when the incidents took place. "This is borne out from the documents, statement of witnesses and mobile phone records," it said.

Rimpa's case was the first to be given a verdict and Koli was found to be suffering from necrophilia (having sex with corpses) and charged with cannibalism (eating human flesh).

Many activists have filed applications under the Right to Information Act seeking access to the documents pertinent to the case. Hearing one such appeal filed by Commodore (Retd) Lokesh Batra, the Central Information Commission has rapped the National Commission for Women for poor maintenance of related files.

Family members of Rimpa had recently sought restoration of death penalty for Pandher through a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court.

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