The Allahabad High Court Monday acquitted the prime accused in the 2005-06 Nithari killings, Surinder Koli, in 12 cases. It also acquitted his employer, Moninder Singh Pandher, in two cases, and set aside their death sentences.
A bench of Justices Ashwani Kumar Mishra and Syed Aftab Husain Rizvi heard the matter. The duo, sentenced to death on charges of rape and murder, was acquitted for lack of evidence. Koli is lodged at the Dasna Jail in Ghaziabad and Moninder Singh in the Noida jail.
Koli allegedly killed several girls, chopping their bodies to pieces before throwing them in the backyard outside their house. The two were arrested on December 29, 2006, after the police recovered skeletons and other belongings of missing girls from the drain outside their house D-5 in Nithari near Noida.
“Moninder Singh and Koli had filed an appeal against their conviction in cases of 2005-06 Noida serial murders. The high court clubbed their appeals. Last month, The high court reserved its judgment in the case after the hearing was completed. On Monday, the court acquitted Moninder Singh in two cases and Koli in 12 separate cases,” said defence counsel Manisha Bhandari.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) counsel said Moninder Singh and Koli were facing death sentences in the case in which the high court had acquitted them on Monday.