A special CBI court on Monday sentenced to death businessman Moninder Singh Pandher and his domestic help Surinder Koli in one of the sensational Nithari killings cases.
Pandher and Koli were found guilty of rape, murder and abduction by special judge Pawan Kumar in the killing of a 20-year-old woman, Pinky Sarkar.
Special Judge Pawan Kumar Tiwari observed it is a rarest of rare case which had shaken the society.
Pandher and Koli were held guilty of kidnapping, rape and murder in the case, CBI spokesman R K Gaur said.
Police had discovered 16 skeletons from Pandher's house in Nithari in Noida on December 29, 2006.
Pandher and Koli were charge-sheeted in 16 of the 19 cases, while three were closed for want of evidence. Most of the victims were young girls.
Prosecution lawyer JP Sharma sought the death sentence and argued that forensic evidence proved that Koli abducted, killed and raped the woman and also tampered with evidence. Since Pandher was in collusion with his domestic help, so he deserved the same punishment for the crime rarest of rare, he said.
On October 5, 2006, the woman was returning home from work. She took the road outside Pandher's residence. Koli lured her inside where she was killed and beheaded. Investigators found her skull behind the house, and its DNA matched with her parents. Her parents also identified her clothes, which were recovered from Koli.
Defence lawyer Devraj Singh contradicted the prosecution's argument and said that on the date of crime Pandher was not present at the crime spot. He said that it has been proved that on that date of the crime, Pandher was in Dehradun. However, after taking stock of arguments from both sides the court held them guilty.
The gruesome cases surfaced when the police discovered the skulls and bones of 16 persons, mostly children, near Pandher's house. The bone-chilling details that were revealed during investigations included Koli's cannibalism.