A special Central Bureau of Investigation court sentenced Surinder Koli-- servant of businessman Moninder Singh Pandher--to death, for rape and murder of a nine-year -old girl in the sensational Nithari killings in 2006, saying he deserved a more severe punishment for his crimes.
Judge A K Singh said the crime was in the rarest of rare category and awarded death penalty to 38-year-old Koli for murdering Rachna, the third case related to killing of young children and women in which he has been awarded capital punishment, CBI counsel J P Sharma said. "The judge awarded life imprisonment to Koli for kidnapping with fine of Rs 1000 and seven-year imprisonment and fine of Rs 1000 for committing rape and death penalty under section 302 IPC for killing Rachna who was identified by her parents on the basis her belongings and DNA test report," he said.
The judge said that Koli "deserves more severe punishment but nothing more can be awarded than the death penalty," according to the counsel. Koli alleged that he was victimised as he was poor. "Yeh to andha kanoon hai. Jab chaho latka do kyonki mai garib admi hu (The law is blind. Hang me whenever you wish because I am a poor man)," he said after the verdict.
Both Pandher and his domestic help Koli have been accused of killing young children and women. The crime came to light when the remains of the victims were found dumped in a drain behind Pandher's house in Noida. Pandher, who is still lodged in Dasna district jail, was not an accused in this case. 13 other cases remain to be decided.
During the 122-day trial, the court examined 46 witnesses, Sharma said. Rachna Lal was found missing in April 2006 after she left her home saying she was going to meet her grandparents. After Rachna went untraceable, her parents lodged a police complaint. Her parents later identified Rachna's clothes and other belongings from the D-5 residence of Pandher when a search was carried out.
On February 13, 2009, the duo were sentenced to death in the Rimpa Haldar case in the first verdict in the Nithari killings. However, Pandher was acquitted by the Allahabad High Court on September 11, last year. On May 12 this year, Koli was sentenced to death by the same judge in Aarti murder case.