Moninder Singh PANDHER
Classification: Serial killer ?
Characteristics: Kidnapping - Rape - Necrophilia - Cannibalism
Number of victims: 0 - 18
Date of murders: 2005 - 2006
Date of arrest: December 29, 2006
Date of birth: August 1, 1957
Victims profile: Young girls
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: New Delhi, India
Status: Sentenced to death on February 13, 2009. Acquitted and overturned his death sentence on September 10, 2009
2006 Noida serial murder investigation
The 2006 Noida serial murder investigation began in December 2006 when the skeletal remains of a number of missing children were discovered in the village of Nithari, India on the outskirts of Noida, a planned industrial township in Uttar Pradesh near New Delhi.
On December 26, 2006, a rich and politically connected Punjabi businessman, Moninder Singh Pandher, and his servant, Surender Koli, were arrested by the Delhi Police on the suspicion of murdering a call girl named "Payal". Charges under various sections of the Indian Penal Code included rape, murder, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy. Pandher and Koli were sentenced to death on February 13, 2009.
Events leading to primary investigation
A view of a public place in NoidaOn December 29, 2006, two Nithari residents claimed they knew the location of remains belonging to children who had gone missing in the previous two years: the municipal water tank behind house D5.
Both had daughters who had disappeared, and they suspected Surender Koli, the domestic help at D5, had something to do with the disappearances. The residents claimed they had been repeatedly ignored by local authorities, therefore they sought the help of former Resident Welfare Association (RWA) President S C Mishra.
That morning, Mishra and the two residents searched the tank drain, and one of the residents claimed to have found a decomposed hand, after which they called the police. By the time police arrived, local residents claimed they had found three partial skeletons in the drain.
Anxious parents of the missing children rushed to Nithari with photographs. Koli, under the alias Satish, later confessed to killing six children and a 20-year-old call girl known as "Payal" after sexually assaulting them.
The residents alleged that the police were corrupt and involved with the rich people. Demands were made for an independent probe into the matter. One of the residents asserted that the police were claiming credit for discovering the bodies when it was the residents who dug them up. The police denied having found fifteen bodies. They reiterated that they had discovered skulls, bones and other body parts, and said they were unable to give a figure for the number of victims. The victims' identities and number could only be established with DNA tests. The police then sealed the house and did not allow news media anywhere near the scene of crime.
The Central government tried to ascertain the facts behind the discovery of the skeletal remains and whether it had "inter-state ramifications". Law and order is a state's subject but the Home ministry asked for details about the magnitude of the crime.
It was later revealed by the media that Pandher was picked up by the police on December 26 and Koli on December 27 in connection with the disappearance of "Payal". After Koli's confession, the police claimed to have started digging up the nearby land area and discovered the children's bodies.
Two policemen were suspended on December 31 in connection with the serial murders as angry residents charged the house of the alleged mastermind. The policemen were suspended for dereliction of duty in the wake of the allegations by the locals that the police had refused to take any action when they were informed about a number of children missing.
The situation at Nithari got aggravated as an irate mob of villagers fought pitched battles with the police, both pelting stones at each other, just outside the residence of the accused. The police also detained a maid named Maya whom they suspected had a hand in procuring women for the businessman. As more body parts were dug out from near the premises of the house, hundreds of local residents descended on the spot and alleged that there was an organ trade angle to the grisly killings of young children.
A doctor living close to the Pandher residence, Navin Choudhary, had been under police suspicion a few years prior in connection with an alleged kidney racket at his hospital. Searches were conducted throughout the properties owned by him, and the investigators could not derive any information to support the claim.
On January 1, 2007, the remand magistrate granted the police custody of the two until January 10, 2007, as the investigators said that further interrogation was required to complete the recovery of victims' remains. The court also granted permission for Narco Analysis.
On the same evening, police conducted a raid on Pandher's Chandigarh residence. His wife and son were interrogated and questions were asked about Pandher's habits. Police sources disclosed that their relationship with him was "strained" but his behaviour was "normal". A senior police inspector revealed that there would be a series of searches conducted at Pandher's Ludhiana farmhouse and nearby places. The recent child kidnapping cases in Chandigarh—Pandher's hometown—were re-opened.
It was on the next day that 15 of the 17 skeletons discovered in the village were identified. Ten of them were identified by Koli when he was confronted with the photographs of the missing children. Five others were identified by family members after being shown belongings recovered from the scene. The torsos of the bodies were missing and the investigating team was looking into possibilities of the motivation of the killings to be that of organ trade. The police said that there were at least 31 child victims.
Security was increased as police expected more disturbance, following two days of violence near Pandher's residence. In a press statement, Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan asserted that the investigation was at a preliminary level, and neither the courts nor the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) were involved at that point.
The inquiry committee report
The Central Government, however, constituted a high-level inquiry committee to go into the police lapses, during the period of reporting and investigation.
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav said that he would await the report of the committee looking into the issue before making the decision whether there should be a CBI probe into the matter. The committee is headed by the Joint Secretary, Women and Child Development Ministry, Manjula Krishnan. Under the terms of the reference,
This committee would take stock of the efforts made by the Noida police in locating the children who went missing.
It would assess the level of cooperation and assistance provided by the local administration, to locate the missing children and unite them with their families.
It would go through the modus operandi and the motives of the accused.
The panel met the parents of the of the victims to record their statements even as the police determined that out of the 17 confirmed people killed, 10 were girls. Parents of eight of the sexually abused children were given compensation of Rs. 12 lakh. The DNA samples from the human remains were sent to forensic laboratory in Hyderabad for the identification of the victims while forensic samples were sent to the laboratory in Agra for determining the age, cause of death and other details. It was determined that Payal was the only victim identified as adult in this case, with all other 11 victims below the age of 10.
Seven of the eight families that had been provided compensation of Rs. 2 lakh on January 3, 2007 returned their cheques in protest. However, the cheques were soon returned back to them. They demanded houses and jobs in compensation.
After reeling under a lot of relentless pressure and public outcry, the Uttar Pradesh Government suspended two superintendents of police and dismissed six policemen for dereliction of duty. This action followed the report by the four-member committee.
On January 17, 2007 the inquiry committee submitted its reports severely indicting the Uttar Pradesh police for "gross negligence" in handling the cases of missing persons. The committee said that the local administration was negligent and irresponsible while dealing with the missing persons reports and did not rule out organ trade as a possible motive behind the killings.
The call girl angle
The two accused in the case were already in police custody while the skeletal remains of the young children were being unearthed at the Pandher residence. An FIR had been filed on October 7, 2006. Investigations revealed that Payal's cellphone was being used although the SIM card she owned remained inactive. Through digital surveillance, the investigators were able to track down a number of people and could finally reach the man who sold the phone. The rickshaw cart puller affirmed that the phone belonged to someone from the Pandher residence.
After the affirmation of the facts by the witness, Moninder Singh was called for interrogation, which subsequently revealed nothing. His aide and servant, Surender Koli was picked up the next day and he confessed killing the woman and dumping her body behind the house. The police started digging and henceforth recovered the skeletal remains of the missing children.
Nand Lal, the father of the girl – Deepika alias Payal, alleged that the police had threatened and harassed him. He stated that it was because of the court intervention that the police officers registered the FIR. Nand Lal said that he was accused of being a blackmailer and his daughter was called a woman of easy virtue.
Suspicions of child pornography racket
The investigating teams seized erotic literature along with a laptop computer connected to a webcam, which immediately raised the apprehensions of the presence of an international child pornography racket. The police also recovered some photographs of Pandher with nude children and foreigners, during his four international visits. It was apprehended that Pandher supplied such pictures abroad and could link him to paedophilia.
Suspicions of organ trade and cannibalism
The police initially suspected an organ trade angle as to the motive behind the murders and raided the house of a doctor who lived in the neighbourhood of the prime accused. A team of officials was accompanied by a team of forensic experts to pick up probable evidence for tests. The police revealed that the doctor had been accused of similar crime in the year 1998, although the court had later absolved him in the same year. This was a second raid in a few days.
The police was however, cautious with the news reports indicting the accused of cannibalism even before the polygraph tests had barely begun. They were left aghast when they learned that one of the accused had even confessed to the consumption of the victims' livers and other body parts. Such a possibility was, however, not completely ruled out by the investigating team, considering the amount of brutality the duo had allegedly committed on the victims.
Brain mapping and narco analysis
The accused duo were brought to the Directorate of Forensic Sciences, Gandhinagar city for undergoing a series of medical tests. Brain mapping and polygraph tests were conducted on January 4, 2007 and narco analysis five days later. The police director told the scribes that both the accused had been cooperative during the tests and examinations. The directorate officials did not make any revelations to the public media.
A senior director of the institute announced the conclusion of the extensive tests and declared that no conclusion had been drawn. The police sources said that during the first day of the tests, Moninder Singh revealed a number of his high-profile connections with the ministers and others who frequented his residence in Noida.
The CBI investigation
After four days of discourse and mounting pressure from the Centre, the Uttar Pradesh government decided to hand over the inquiry to the Central Bureau of Investigation. The notification came after the Department of Personnel and Training, which governs the CBI sent a letter to the state government about making a proper request for a probe by the agency in line with the prescribed norms.
The two accused were taken away to an undisclosed location on the night of January 11, 2007, a day before the investigation was to be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation. The CBI continued its investigation and discovered three more skulls and human remains at the site of the serial killings. The investigators searched the drains and found three skulls, believed to be of the children and several body parts, including parts of legs, bones and torso. Several objects were found that are believed to belong to the victims. The exhibits were sealed and forwarded to forensic labs.
The Central enquiry committee that investigated the serial killings discovered serious lapses on the part of the police in handling the cases of missing persons. The published report was provided to the CBI to aid the agency in its probe. The reports were incriminating and proclaimed that the local police failed in their duty to admit their complaints over the past two years.
The discovery of several gunny bags containing parts of human torsos led the investigators to believe that it was unlikely that the accused had links to illegal organ trade. The CBI team discovered the bags in the drains outside the Pandher residence. After interrogating Surinder Koli, they came to a prima facie conclusion that "he is a psychopath who used to carry out the killings". Interrogators also said that it was possible that Pandher had no role to play in the murders.
The seized materials were sent to laboratory for post-mortem, individualisation and DNA extraction. The materials received from the Uttar Pradesh police were also forwarded for forensic examination. Some liquor bottles, a double-barrel gun, cartridges, mobile phones, photographs, photo albums and a blood-stained grill were handed over to the CBI for extensive examination. Preliminary investigations revealed that the bones were not more than two years old. The CBI also revealed that only fifteen skulls had been found thus far, and not seventeen as claimed by the state police.
A three-member CBI team questioned the kin members of Surendra Koli in the Almora district.
In November 2007, the Supreme Court issued notice to CBI in case on the allegation by a relative of the victim that the investigating agency was trying to shield Moninder Singh Pandher, one of the key accused in the case.
The call girl was the only adult victim in the string of serial murders. Young girls constituted the majority of victims. Post mortem reports of the 17 sets of skulls and bones recovered showed that 11 of the killed were girls. The top doctors of the Noida Government Hospital revealed that there was a "butcher-like precision" in the chopping of the bodies. The post mortem reports revealed that there had been a pattern in the killings. A gory revelation was made by the AIIMS on February 06, 2007. It was also concluded that there were 19 skulls in all, 16 complete and 3 damaged. The bodies had been cut into three pieces before being disposed off by the servant Surender Koli. The CBI sources said that the manservant, after strangulating the victims, used to sever their head and throw it in the drain behind the house of his employer. Sources also revealed that he used to keep the viscera in a polythene bag before disposing it off in a drain, so as to prevent detection. The skulls and the other bio-material remains were forwarded to the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad for further profiling.
Surender Koli and Moninder Singh Pandher
Pandher is an industrialist who studied from 1963-73 at the prestigious Bishop Cotton School in Shimla and graduated from St. Stephen's College, Delhi.
On 12 February 2009, both the accused Moninder Singh Pandher and his domestic help Surender Koli were found guilty of the 8 February 2005 murder of Rimpa Haldar, 14, by a special sessions court in Gaziabad. This verdict left the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) red faced, as the CBI had earlier given a clean chit to Moninder Singh Pandher in all its chargesheets. Both the accused Moninder Singh Pandher and his domestic help Surender Koli were given death sentence on 13 February 2009, as the case was classified as "rarest of rare". On 4 May 2010, Koli was found guilty of the 25 October 2006 murder of Arti Prasad, 7, and given a second death sentence eight days later. On 27 September 2010, Koli was found guilty of the 10 April 2006 murder of Rachna Lal, 8 or 9, and given a third death sentence the following day.
On September 10, 2009, The Allahabad high court acquitted Moninder Singh Pandher and overturned his death sentence. He was not named a main suspect by investigators initially, but was summoned as co-accused during the trial. Pandher faces trial in five cases out of the remaining 13, and could be re-sentenced to death if found guilty in any of those killings. The same day Pandher was acquitted, the Allahabad high court upheld the death sentence for Surender Koli, former domestic servant of Pandher
Mohinder Singh Pandher acquitted in Nithari murder case
The Morung Express
September 11, 2009
Allahabad (Agencies): In a major development the Allahabad High Court on Friday acquitted businessman Moninder Singh Pandher in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old teenager Rimpa Haldhar, who was one of the children strangled at his Nithari residence.
The Allahabad High Court observed that there was no substantial evidence to prove Pandher’s criminal involvement in the case. However, the Allahabad High Court upheld the death sentence awarded to his domestic help Surinder Koli. The Allahabad HC ruling has sent shockwaves across the country and disappointed Rimpa’s family, which has confirmed that it will appeal against the judgement in the Supreme Court.
The development comes moths after MS Pandher and his servant Surinder Koli were sentenced to death by a special court in February for rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl Rimpa Halder, one of 19 victims in the sensational Nithari serial killings. Pronouncing the sentence in a packed court room, Special CBI judge Rama Jain held the crimes committed by 55-year-old Pandher and 38-year-old Koli to be ‘‘rarest of rare’’ deserving capital punishment.
While the counsel of victim’s family Khalid Khan termed the verdict as a grave disappointement. The businessman’s son Karandeep Singh on the other hand said his father was innocent and the verdict was an endorsement of the family’s long term stand. He also cited his acquittal in some of the previous cases related with Nithari as a signal for things to come.
The Court had earlier convicted Pandher and his servant under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for murder, rape, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence. In the final arguments on Friday, the CBI had sought death penalty for Koli and left the quantum of punishment for Pandher for the court to decide as the agency had no charges against him in this case. As many as 18 cases have been lodged against Pandher in the infamous Nithari killings case.
Nithari killings timeline
The Times of India
Following is the chronology of events in the gruesome Nithari serial killing of children:
Dec 29, 2006: Nithari killings came to light with the discovery of eight skeletal remains of children from the drain of a house in Nithari, Noida. Two suspects- owner of the house Moninder Singh Pandher and his domestic help Surinder Koli arrested.
Dec 30: More skeletons tumble out of the drainage
Dec 31: Two beat constables suspended as political pressure starts building up.
Jan 05, 2007: The accused taken to Gandhinagar for extensive narco-analysis test by Uttar Pradesh police
Jan 10: CBI takes over investigations in the case.
Jan 11: First CBI team visits Nithari to initiate probe in the case. 30 more bones found near the house
Jan 12: Moninder Singh Pandher and Surinder Koli quizzed by CBI
Jan 20: UP government files report to National Human Rights Commission
Feb 8: Special CBI court sends Moninder Singh Pandher and Surinder Koli to 14 days of CBI custody
Feb 12: National Human Rights Commission forms a committee to study the matter.
Mar 22: CBI files first chargesheet in the case in the Ghaziabad court. Slaps lesser charges on Moninder Singh Pandher. Surinder Koli, charged of committing all the murders besides rape and kidnap
May 1: Parents of three victims of the Nithari serial killings move court against the CBI for letting off main accused Pandher in connection with kidnapping and murder
May 11: Ghaziabad court asks CBI to probe Pandher's role in the killings
Sep 6: Body of Jatin Sarkar, father of one of the victims in the Nithari serial killings recovered from a river in West Bengal's Murshidabad district
Nov 01: The Supreme Court issues a notice to the CBI on the allegation by a relative of a victim that the investigating agency was trying to shield Pandher
Dec 13: Special CBI Court in Ghaziabad frames charges against Moninder Singh Pandher for the rape and murder of two teenagers
Feb 12, 2009: Special Judge of CBI pronounces Pandher and Koli guilty of rape and murder
Death for Pandher, Koli in Nithari case
The Times of India
February 14, 2009
The death sentence is reserved for "the rarest of rare cases". But in the first of the sensational Nithari serial murder cases to be decided, the verdict itself has turned out to be the rarest of rare.
For, businessman Moninder Singh Pandher was awarded death sentence on Friday, along with his servant Surender Koli, as the trial court disregarded the prosecution's contention that he was not even in the country three years ago when Koli lured and killed 14-year-old girl Rimpa Halder from a nearby slum.
Special judge Rama Jain did not dispute that Pandher was out of the country when Rimpa was killed. But still, she held him guilty of conspiring with Koli to rape and murder the young girl on the premise that the businessman had planned the crime which was executed by his servant. The court's reasoning for ascribing "criminal conspiracy" to Pandher was that his "hedonistic lifestyle" was responsible for bringing out "criminal tendencies" in Koli.
This seems to be a deviation from the norm of invoking the charge of conspiracy only when there is "reasonable ground to believe" that the co-accused had conspired to commit the offence. In this case, it may be regarded as no more than an assumption.
The sensational case also saw an unusual situation in which one of the two death sentences was given without any prompting from the prosecution -- in this case, the CBI. Having not named him as an accused in its charge sheet, CBI did not argue on the quantum of sentence to be given to Pandher. In fact, the agency could not establish that he had any knowledge of Rimpa's existence.
After the sentence, CBI issued a statement clarifying that it was not soft on Pandher and that it had gone purely by "legally admissible evidence". It added that its probe was "thorough" and examined from "all angles".
Pandher's wife and son said they would challenge the verdict before the Allahabad High Court, while the counsel for Rimpa's father, Khaled Khan, saw it as "a slap on the face of CBI." CBI had given a clean chit to Pandher on the basis of his wife's statement and his passport, which showed that he was away in Australia at the time of Rimpa's murder.
Relying extensively on Koli's confessional statement recorded before a magistrate under section 164 CrPC, the judge noted, "before joining Pandher's house as a servant, Koli had earlier worked with several other households but he committed this gruesome crime because Pandher brought call girls home and slept with more than two or three of them occasionally. Koli used to cook for all of them while Pandher would drink alcohol, all this brought out worst criminal tendencies and sexual depravity of Koli goading him to commit murders."
Koli in his statement before the magistrate had admitted he was more at peace in Pandher's absence as these tendencies remained at bay. The judge also zeroed in on circumstantial evidence to nail Pandher — that he lived in the house D-5 at Noida from 2004 until the serial killings came out in the open in December 2006 and that several murders occurred during this period; human bones and skulls in polythene bags were recovered from the front and back of the house; and finally, Koli's confession.
"Bones and skulls were recovered in such a mass scale from near a house which wasn't less than a slaughterhouse. The odour would have spread within a kilometre's radius," observed the court saying it was highly unlikely Pandher would have been unaware such mass crimes were happening inside his house.
Making shortwork of CBI's clean chit, the judge made it clear mere knowledge of the crime and circumstantial evidence in the form of recoveries squarely implicates the businessman. "The job of CBI prosecutors during this trial was to aid the working of criminal justice system not to go along with whatever the chargesheet said," was the judges' terse observation.
The court also set much store by the fact that a saw used in the crime had been recovered at the instance of Pandher. His lawyers had argued Koli's confession under section 164 also made it clear that Pandher had nothing to do with Rimpa's murder. But judge Jain held firm.
Pronouncing the sentence in a packed court room, judge Jain on Thursday held the crimes committed by 55-year-old Pandher and 38-year-old Koli to be "rarest of rare" deserving capital punishment.
"In the said case, a helpless, poor girl has been raped by the accused who resorted to extremely barbaric, inhuman and unkind act which has no precedence. The manner in which the horrendous act has been carried out even puts that era into shame when humanity wasn't civilised," the court noted, justifying the imposition of the maximum penalty.
The judge rejected any calls for leniency. She said, "This crime is against womanhood and a blot on society. The manner in which the crime has been done, death sentence can be the only justice because there was not an iota of indication that the convicts will mend their ways or reform their character in the future."
Earlier in the morning, the CBI had sought death penalty for Koli and left the quantum of punishment for Pandher for the court to decide as the agency had no charges against him in this case.
After the verdict, Pandher broke into tears while Koli remained unmoved.
Portraits of the ‘murderers’
February 13, 2009
A class VI dropout, Koli worked as a domestic help in businessman Moninder Singh Pandher’s house in Noida. He is alleged to have sexually assaulted and killed as many as 15 children and three women in Noida’s sector-31 house within a span of one-and-a half years. In first of the 19 cases in Nithari, Koli was convicted of raping and murdering 14-year-old Rimpa Halder.
He allegedly lured children — both girls and boys — to the house of his employer Moninder Singh Pandher. Pandher allegedly abused them sexually and handed them over to Koli who in turn abused the victims before killing them. He disposed the bodies in nearby drains after putting the chopped parts in different bags.
The law caught up with Koli on December 29, 2006, after numerous complaints by Nithari villagers whose children had disappeared. Police search led to recovery of fifteen human skulls, skeletal remains and fragments of clothes stuffed in gunny bags from the drain behind bungalow number D-5 where Koli worked.
Police said during interrogation Koli hardly ever showed any remorse, but he did turn emotional when questioned about his three-year-old daughter Simran.
Before landing in Delhi, Koli did odd jobs, skinned animals for a living and sometimes ate raw flesh. In Delhi, his first job was to wash utensils at a rundown hotel in New Delhi.
He then got a job as a cook at the house of a retired brigadier in Sector 29, Noida, and worked there from 1993 to 1998. In 1998, he returned to his village to get married. Within a month of his marriage, he again left home. He left his wife Shanti behind and landed in Noida.
He worked for six years at the house of a retired army major, who then introduced him to businessman Moninder Singh Pandher. Soon after, he left his job to work at Pandher’s mansion.
Moninder Singh Pandher
Appearances can be deceptive. Nobody would agree more with the adage than friends and relatives of nondescript-looking 55-year-old, Moninder Singh Pandher, the industrialist who along with his cook were charged with conspiracy behind the murder and attempted rape of Rimpa Halder.
Nothing about Pandher ever evoked suspicion from friends and family as to the horrific goings-on in his Noida home. News of Pandher’s crime came as a shock to schoolmates from alma mater Bishop Cotton School in Shimla. For them, “Goldy” as Pandher was lovingly called, had always been an amiable and wonderful chap. Pandher came from an affluent business family in Punjab, graduated from Delhi’s prestigious St. Stephen’s College and inherited a successful family business.
Investigators however have a different story to tell. They say Pandher had a disturbed childhood. His marriage too was a failure. For years he had been living alone at the D-5 house in Noida. His wife Devinder Kaur and son Karandeep lived separately at the family’s home in Chandigarh. Pandher would visit his family once in a while.
Police claimed Pandher lived a life of luxury. He loved his drink, played golf and in his spare time read up on nightmares. He had visited Los Angeles, Switzerland, Dubai, Canada and China. He lived on the ground floor of his double storey bunglow. And his servant, Surendra Kohli, lived on the first floor.
When policemen took mediapersons inside the D-5 house after Pandher’s arrest, they found vintage wine bottles in the cellar, golf clubs and fancy furniture. Police seized laptops and CDs from his house, which they alleged carried photographs of Pandher posing with nude children.
In fact, had Noida Police heeded to complaints of Nithari residents; many young lives could have been saved. Allegations have been levelled that Pandher kept the police happy during the time he lived in Noida.
He allegedly paid Rs 2.5 lakh to a gazetted rank officer after he was rounded up even before December 29, 2006, for his involvement in disappearance of children from the same area.
Indian investigators find 3 more skulls
January 15, 2007
Indian investigators recovered three more skulls near the home of a businessman suspected of killing up to 38 women and children, media reports said Sunday. The skulls were found in a drain outside the home in Noida, an industrial and software hub adjoining New Delhi, bringing to 20 the number uncovered so far, the Times of India newspaper reported.
India's top federal investigating agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation or CBI, resumed searches near the home after taking over the case last week from local police who were slammed for failing to properly investigate dozens of reports of missing children from a nearby slum.
At least 38 children have gone missing from the slum in the past two years. The investigators also discovered a bag containing human body parts, bones and clothes from the drain, the Hindu newspaper reported. CBI officials were not immediately available for comment Sunday.
Police have arrested the businessman and his servant, who allegedly killed the children and women after sexually assaulting them. The two — businessman Moninder Singh Pandher and his domestic helper, Surender Kohli — have been charged with kidnapping, raping and killing the victims and then dumping their dismembered bodies into storm drains near Pandher's house. Angry protests and political rallies have erupted after skulls and other body parts were first found on Dec. 29.
Accused serial killer admits necrophilia
January 12, 2007
A suspect in the gruesome murders of 17 people, mostly children, near India's capital has told investigators he had sex with the dead bodies and ate their organs. The Times of India said Surender Koli admitted to carrying out the crimes alone and that his employer, businessman Moninder Singh Pandher, who was also arrested and charged, was unaware of the killing spree.
The grisly revelations emerged after the two accused were subjected to "narco-analysis" — including truth drugs, polygraph tests and brain mapping — at a national forensic laboratory. Results of the tests are not admissible as evidence in court, but are designed to help police with their investigation.
Residents say at least 38 people, mostly children, have disappeared from the area, and that police had ignored their complaints that the children were missing. The killings have dominated the front pages of all newspapers. The two were arrested on December 29 in New Delhi's affluent Noida suburb after an overwhelming stench led to the discovery of carefully chopped-up body parts in a drain next to Pandher's home. But Pandher was apparently unaware that his servant used sweets and chocolates to lure the victims to the house, before killing them and raping their bodies, the Times of India said.
Koli, who previously worked as a cook in a hotel, narrated how and when he killed his 17 victims with precision. He also remembered the names of 15 victims, the newspaper said, quoting unnamed investigators involved in the tests. "Sahab (master) did not know," Koli was quoted as telling investigators, adding the murders were committed when Pandher was away. Asked what he had done with the missing torsos of the victims, Koli disclosed that he ate some of the organs and cut up others and flushed them down the toilet. The dismembered parts were disposed of separately.
Koli said his first victim was a four-year-old girl. He admitted to trying to eat the child's liver, but said he vomited immediately. His co-accused, meanwhile, emerged from the tests as a womaniser who used Koli as a pimp to find him prostitutes.
Pandher's family said the reports of the narco-analysis test results were a relief. "I had always thought Surendra (Koli, the servant) was behind all this. My father used to be out of town for long periods on business," Pandher's 23-year-old son, Karan, told the newspaper. Police in Noida had been investigating whether organ trade was a motive for the killings because the torsos of the victims were not found and only their skulls, limb bones and clothes were recovered from the sewer near Pandher's house. But according to the Times of India, Koli might have been trying to cure his "impotency".
India's federal Central Bureau of Investigation said it would begin its probe into the case from Thursday. "Our director Vijay Shanker has said that we received a notification from the federal government asking us to begin a probe into the killings," a spokesman for the agency said. "Our office received the notification yesterday (Wednesday) evening," he said, adding the agency will attach the "highest priority to the case" and "probe its entire ramifications."
With fresh FIRs CBI to question Nithari's serial killer
January 11, 2007
Moninder Singh Pandher and his servant Surender Koli alias Satish accused in the heinous serial killings of close to forty children in Nithari arrived in the national capital on Thursday morning.
The narco-analysis test, which was conducted on the duo in Gandhinagar's Central Forensic Laboratory for the past one week, was completed on Wednesday afternoon, the results of which will be completed in the next two days.
The duo were taken to Noida's Sector 20 police station at around seven in the morning, where he will be handed to the CBI later in the day, as the central investigative agency has already taken over the investigations. CBI on late Wednesday night confirmed of receiving the 19 FIRs that were filed by the Special Investigating team of the Uttar Pradesh police and has said that it will file fresh FIRs in the case. "We have received a notification from the Government that we are to take over the case from the UP Police," CBI Director Vijay Shankar told reporters.
The CBI has also called a special team of forensic experts from Gandhinagar and Hyderabad CFSL to analyse the evidence collected from Pandher's D-5 bungalow in Nithari, where the alleged killing took place. It is most likely that the forensic expert may visit the site again and would try to collect fresh evidence from the place.
The central investigative agency finally took over the investigations on Wednesday after it received the notifications from the State Government in the proper format. After much difference with the Centre over the formal modalities involved in seeking CBI probe, the Uttar Pradesh Government finally issued a notification to the Centre for a CBI probe into the Nithari killings case.
Earlier, the Uttar Pradesh had merely asked the Centre to order a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe without issuing a notification. With the Centre pointing out the lacunae in the Uttar Pradesh government's move, the State issued the required notification enabling transfer of the case of recovery of skeletal remains from Nithari in Noida as well as the probe into the Meerut lecturer Kavita Rani murder case to the CBI.
The notification from UP's Home Secretary R M Srivastava came after the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which governs the CBI, sent a letter to the state's home department about making a proper notification under Section 5 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act in proper format.
Coming under pressure from all quarters of the state police's handling of the Nithari case, Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav had announced on January 5 that the State would seek a CBI inquiry into the matter.
The CBI is also slated to probe into the dereliction of duty by the police officers as till date two Superintendents of Police have been suspended and seven other policemen dismissed. 14-member team of the UP police till now has been investigating the incident but it has yet to make any headway into the case.
The police are pinning hope on the results of the narco-analysis test, brain mapping test and polygraph (lie detecting) test carried out on the accused to find new revelations and the motive behind the killings. Apart from this, a high-level inter-ministerial committee is already probing the incident.
The four-member Committee set up by the Centre is headed by Joint Secretary, Union Women and Child Development Manjula Krishnan and is expected to submit its report by January 18. The committee is looking into the alleged negligence of the police and would also go into the modus operandi and the motive of the accused persons involved in it.
CBI begins probe of Noida murders
January 10, 2007
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday registered 19 cases in the serial killings in Noida. CBI Director Vijay Shankar said the cases will be given priority. "The government of India has issued notification, there are 19 cases and separate teams to investigate them". Psychiatrists will examine the two serial killers to check their mental health. The narco-analysis tests on them have been completed.
The police remand of Moninder Singh and Surender Koli, the main accused in the Noida serial killings, has been extended by two days. Meanwhile, major leads are emerging from the narco-analysis test on Surinder, one of the two accused in the case. Sources have told NDTV that during the narco test conducted on him at the Forensic Sciences Laboratory in Gandhinagar on Monday, Surinder said that he killed the victims out of sexual frustration. He also said that he was a necrophiliac, which is one having sexual contact with or an erotic desire for dead bodies.
Surinder, while describing how he would dispose of the bodies, said he would cut the bodies into pieces, dump the bigger bodies in the back drain of their house in Nithari and the smaller bodies in the main drain. When asked whose idea it was to murder the victims after they were sexually assaulted, Surinder is understood to have said that Moninder told him to dump the bodies.
Inconsistencies in statement It could indicate that Moninder had some involvement in the actual murders. There are however, reports of inconsistencies in Surinder's statement on Moninder's involvement in the murders. Surinder has said that the police had earlier come to their house but did not know anything about the bodies and had come in connection with reports of call girls at the house.
He is also believed to have said that Moninder used to entertain VIPs, policemen and call girls and that a lot of cars would arrive at their house between 11 pm and 2 am. Asked about the role of Maya, the domestic help at Moninder's house, Surinder is believed to have said that she was not involved. And when asked whether there was an organ racket going on, Surinder said he did not know what an organ racket was. Meanwhile, Moninder, the main accused in the Noida serial killings, underwent a narco-analysis test at the Forensic Sciences Laboratory in Gandhinagar on Tuesday.
One alleged serial killer undergoes narco analysis test
January 8, 2007
Forensic experts in Gandhinagar Monday conducted a narco analysis test on Surendra, one of the two men accused in the serial killings of at least 20 children in Noida, while police declared the other accused, Moninder Singh Pandher, medically fit to undergo the test. Surendra went through the test at the Forensic Sciences Laboratory in Gandhinagar.
His businessman master, Moninder Singh, was not made to undergo the test after he complained of health problems late Sunday and had to be hospitalised. After checking Moninder Singh's blood sugar level and his complaint of minor chest pain, he was discharged Monday. 'As Moninder had health problems, Surendra underwent the narco test first. Moninder will under go the test soon,' said a top police official in Noida.
Both the men were flown to Ahmedabad Friday morning and were taken to the Forensic Sciences Laboratory for a lie-detection, brain mapping and narco-analysis tests as part of investigations into the gruesome killings of several children in Noida after they were allegedly first sexually molested. The brain mapping and lie detection tests have been done on both.
Meanwhile, police in Noida continued their interrogation of Moninder Singh's maid Maya Sarkar and her husband. Maya has been working in his Sector 31 house for over a year. 'We are interrogating both of them as we believe they can be prime witnesses in the case,' said a senior police official. He refused to divulge details of the investigations.
Police also sealed the D-5 bungalow of Moninder Singh ahead of handing over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). 'We are not allowing anyone except forensic experts from Agra inside the house,' police added. Since Dec 29, skeletal remains, slippers and tattered clothes of at least 20 children were dug out from a drain behind Moninder Singh's bungalow.
Family says serial killer suspect is ‘no monster’
January 7, 2007
The wife and son of a businessman suspected of the rape and mass murder of children in a case that has sparked outrage in India said yesterday he was not a monster and claimed he had been framed.
Moninder Singh Pandher and his servant, Surender Kohli, were questioned by police using truth serum or sodium penthanol for a second day yesterday to try to discover the motive and exact number of killings.
Pandher’s son Karan told reporters that his father should not be deemed guilty before being given a fair trial. "Do not accuse him right now. He is just a suspect. He is not a monster. Come on, have a heart. He has a family. He has a son," Karan Pandher said. "If my father is found guilty — it’s hard for me to say this — he should get the highest punishment. He should get capital punishment," he told the private Zee News network in an interview.
"The people of Nithari, children and my father need justice. But my father has not got a fair trial yet," Karan said. He said because of the case, their family business had suffered. "Now no one wants to do business with us. I appeal to all that we are not bad people."
A woman identified as Moninder Pandher’s wife also defended the man and denied media reports that the couple lived separately because of differences. "He is not guilty, not at all. This thing about children, it’s rubbish. He is being framed. There’s no truth in it," Devinder Kaur told Zee network.
An autopsy report said the 17 bodies, mainly of young girls from poor families, found near Pandher’s house last week had been sliced with "butcher-like" precision. The victims lived in Nithari village in the affluent Noida township near New Delhi and had been missing for up to three years.
Residents say at least 38 people, mostly children, have disappeared from the area and that police had ignored their complaints the children were missing. The killings have dominated the front pages of all newspapers.
The Times of India newspaper yesterday said the accused Kohli had confessed to eating the livers of his victims and having sex with dead bodies, under the headline "Cannibal Surendra?" The report did not reveal the source for the information.
The Indian Express reported that police suspected Pandher may have been involved in an international pornography racket after they found photographs of nude children and evidence he had taken several foreign trips.
Police dismissed the news reports as speculative and declined to give details of investigations that were being handed over to the federal Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). "The case has been transferred to the CBI. We can’t say anything now. The media reports are based on speculation," investigation official Dinesh Yadav said. "I fail to understand how the media has concluded this when the narco analysis test on the accused has barely started," Noida Senior Superintendent of Police R K S Rathore said. "It is rather early and premature to say anything right now. But considering the glaring perversion and brutalities, we do not rule out any possibility."
Police earlier said they were probing whether the victims were killed so that their organs, such as kidneys, could be sold. However, a medical expert here has ruled it out. "Removal of the kidneys from a human body is a very delicate process and has to be necessarily done on a person with a beating heart, so that the blood circulation process is on. You cannot remove the kidney of a dead person," Diwakar Dalela, head of the urology department at the King George’s Medical University in Lucknow said. "Well, unless the kids were first taken to a well-equipped operation theatre for removal of kidneys and then done to death, the question of organ transplant could not arise," he said. "In any case, organ transplant requires so many pre-requisites like blood and kidney matching between the donor and recipient. Besides no Indian hospital so far has facilities to preserve a kidney for more than three to four hours."
The accused will also undergo lie-detection tests and brain mapping — to find out their response to pictures of the victims — but those results, and the outcome of the truth serum tests, cannot be admitted as evidence in court. The tests will be used mainly to lead investigators to clues. Ruling Congress Party chief Sonia Gandhi yesterday visited the village where most of the victims came from and met their families. Gandhi described the killings as "cruel" and "barbaric" and took swipes at the Uttar Pradesh state government, where elections are due later this year, saying "there is no law and order."