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Nithari Killings
It’s gallows for Pandher, Koli

Ghaziabad, February 13
Four years after a 14-year-old girl was raped, killed and cannibalised, affluent businessman Moninder Singh Pandher and his domestic help Surendra Koli were on Friday sentenced to the gallows.

This was the first toll of justice for the families of the 19 children and young women from Nithari village, on the outskirts of New Delhi, whose body parts were found in a drain.

The courtroom in this Uttar Pradesh town packed with relatives of the victims of what have come to be known collectively as the Nithari killings, the series of gruesome murders, rapes and cannibalism that shocked the nation, fell into silence as Special CBI Judge Rama Jain pronounced her sentence.

Of the 19 cases of abduction, rape and murder, the CBI has filed chargesheets in 16 cases. All the cases are being heard separately. While Koli, 38, has been charged with rape, abduction and murder in all the cases, 55-year-old Pandher is co-accused in only six cases.

The Punjab businessman, dressed in a front-open black and grey tartan sweater, looked dejected and resigned. It was behind his villa in suburban Noida, not far from national capital, that the body parts of the victims were found in December 2006.

His estranged wife Devinder Kaur and son Karandeep were present as the death sentence was pronounced. “Don’t worry, we’ll appeal in a higher court,” Devinder told her husband and tried to hug him before police whisked him away. “I can’t let my dad die,” said Karandeep.

“Although my father said 'let me die', we will be filing an appeal in the high court,” Karandeep said. — IANS

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