The accused in the infamous Nithari serial murders case were acquitted on Monday by the Allahabad High Court citing a lack of evidence. The accused Maninder Singh Pandher and his domestic help Surender Koli were earlier facing charges in 19 cases registered by CBI, including rape and murder.
The sensational serial killings case came to light when skeletal remains were discovered near a house in Nithari, Noida. Parents of two of the victims said they were aware of the whereabouts of their missing daughters. Later, Nithari villagers discovered a decomposed hand in a drain, reportedly in the vicinity of Pandher’s house.
Police took custody of both the accused on December 26 and 27, 2006. Koli was subject to narco analysis and he reportedly gave clean chit to Pandher in the killings. Koli said he would rape the deceased bodies and chop them in his washroom. Reportedly, the serial killings happened between 2005 and 2006 and the victims also include minors. Skeletal remains of eight children were recovered from the drain behind Pandher's house on December 29, 2006.
The victims were said to be of poor women and children who had gone missing in the locality. Allegedly, Koli would lure the children into the house and he and Pandher would rape and murder the victims. The accused would then chop the victims’ and parts were thrown into the drain to destroy evidence.
Taking over the case, the central agency registered 19 cases against the accused in 2007. According to reports, Koli was found guilty of rape and murder of minors and he reportedly confessed that he had physical intercourse with dead victims and also ate their body parts.
In 2009, a special CBI court sentenced the accused to death for murdering 14-year-old Rimpa Haldar. However, the Court in 2015 commuted Koli’s death sentence to life imprisonment owing to inordinate delay in considering his mercy petition.
On Monday, the Court acquitted the accused Koli in 12 cases and Pandher in 2 cases. They were earlier held guilty of murder and sentenced to death by the trial court in these cases.