Moninder Singh Pandher, the wealthy businessman at the centre of the Nithari House of Horror was acquitted by the Allahabad High Court in the Rimpa Haldar murder case- one of the 2005 Nithari serial killings cases which had shocked the nation when body parts of girls were found stuffed in drains on the outskirts of the national capital.
The High Court, however, upheld the death sentence to Pandher’s domestic help Surinder Koli pronounced by the special Ghaziabad court early this year.
A Division Bench comprising Justices Imtiaz Murtaja and Kashinath Singh acquitted Pandher in the Rimpa Haldar murder case for lack of evidence against him.
Rimpa's family said they would appeal against the High Court verdict.
The CBI, investigating the case, had already gave a clean chit to Pandher in the Rimpa Haldar murder case. The Special court of Ghaziabad had given death sentences to Koli and Pandher in the case which was challenged by the accused in the High Court.
Pandher was charged under section 120B of IPC for conspiracy in the murder of Rimpa but the defence counsel said that as his client was away in Australia at that time the question of his involvement in the crime did not arise.
But even after the acquittal, Pandher would not be able to come out of jail, as there are 18 cases pending against him in the lower court.
Rimpa went missing from February 8, 2005 and her father lodged a formal complaint with Noida police in July.
The Nithari cases came to light in December 2005 with charges of Koli and Pandher killing girls of the nearby villages after sexually assaulting them.
The CBI took over the probe on January 11, 2007 and submitted its preliminary chargesheet in May, 2007.
As per the case, about 40 girls in the age of 8 to 16 went missing in the Nithari village, in Gautam Buddha Nagar district between 2005 and 2007.
The verdict said that because the CBI had not filed chargesheet against Pandher in the Rimpa Haldar murder case as he was in Australia at that time, the court had acquitted him in the case.
The High Court said Surinder Koli had already admitted before the CBI that he had killed Rimpa with a knife.
The High Court also took strong exception of the ruling of the Ghaziabad Sessions Judge for summoning Pandher under Section 319 of the CrPC and punishing him for the recovery of a saw from his house where Rimpa was murdered in his absence.
‘When the saw was not used in the murder of the deceased, how could Pandher be involved in the case in his absence’, the High Court maintained.
Karan Pandher, son of Pandher, thanked the CBI for a fair trial in the case on the basis of which the High Court acquitted his father.
Talking to reporters, Karan said the acquittal of his father clearly meant that the CBI had a fair probe. He, however, did not make any comment on Koli.
Karan said the family members were always convinced that his father was not involved in the murder case since he was not in the country at that time.
He said his acquittal affirmed his faith in the probe agency and in the judiciary.
Counsel for Rimpa Haldar, S I Jaffri alleged that the CBI should have clubbed all the cases of Nithari and had filed a combined chargesheet.
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