The Allahabad High Court on Monday acquitted Surendra Koli and Moninder Singh Pandher in the infamous Nithari serial killings case in Noida for lack of evidence. Both had been sentenced to death on charges of rape and murder.
A two-judge bench comprising Justice Ashwani Kumar Mishra and Justice SHA Rizvi allowed the appeals filed by Koli and Pandher challenging the death sentence given by the CBI court in Ghaziabad.The high court said the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.
A total 19 cases had been lodged against businessman Pandher and his domestic help Koli in 2007. The CBI had filed closure reports in three of the 19 cases due to lack of evidence.
The sensational killings came to light with the discovery of the skeletal remains of eight children from the drain behind Pandher’s house in Nithari, Noida, on December 29, 2006.
Further digging and searches of drains in the area around Pandher’s house led to more skeletal remains being found. Most of these remains were that of poor children and young women who had gone missing from the area.
Within 10 days, the CBI took over case and its search resulted in the recovery of more bones.While Pandher is lodged in a Noida jail, Koli is in a Ghaziabad prison.