LUCKNOW: The CBI court of Ghaziabad on Saturday convicted businessman Moninder Singh Pandher and his domestic help Surinder Koli in the 2006 rape, abduction, and murder case of 20-year-old Pinki Sarkar in the Noida.
According to sources, CBI special judge Pawan Tiwari pronounced Pandher and Koli guilty of murder, attempted rape and destruction of evidence in Pinki Sarkar case. Following the conviction, Pandher, who was out on bail and Koli were taken into custody.
The conviction came in the eighth case of the series of murders committed by the duo during 2005-06 in Nithari the village of . However, the quantum of the sentence for both the convicts will be pronounced on July 24.
The CBI, probing the incident, had lodged FIRs in around 16 cases of serial rape and murder under Sections 302, 376, 364, 201 and 120 (B) of the IPC on December 29, 2006.
On October 5, 2006, when Pinki was returning home from work along the the road outside the D-5 residence of Pandher, Koli, the domestic help, allegedly abducted her, raped her and later killed her. After the murder, he beheaded the victim and threw her head and garments in the drain behind Pandher’s house.
The FIR in the case was lodged after Pinki’s parents identified her clothes in April 2007. Afterwards, her identity was substantiated after her DNA samples were matched with her parents.
The court took notice of the prosecution lawyer J P Sharma’s submission over scientific evidence which he claimed had proved that Koli abducted, killed and raped Pinki, 20, and tampered with the evidence as well.
However, the defence lawyer representing Pandher in the court pleaded non-guilty on the pretext that his client was not present on the day of crime as he was away in Dehradun. However the court held Pandher guilty of conspiracy in the case.
This is the eighth case in the Nithari killings. While Surinder was earlier awarded death sentence in six of the 16 cases filed against him, Pandher was acquitted by the Allahabad High Court, but is facing trial in three other cases.
The shocking and gruesome case of suspected cannibalism came to light in 2006 when the police discovered the skulls and skeletal remains of 16 persons, mostly children, from the drain behind Pandher's house in Nithari village of Noida.
Earlier, many children had gone missing from the nearby slums of Nithari. It was alleged that Koli would lure the children to the house, offering them sweets and chocolates, murder them, have sex with the corpses and consume their internal organs and then would throw the remains and clothes in the deep drain behind the house.