Nithari victims' families hoping to get justice in coming year

Businessman Moninder Singh Pandher and his domestic help Surinder Koli were arrested on charges of rape and murder after skeletons and human body parts were recovered from a drain near his now infamous D-5 bungalow here around this time four years ago.

The rape and brutal murder of children and a young woman had sent shock waves across the nation. The CBI special court has decided four cases so far and 12 others are pending.

"We expect all the remaining cases to be decided as soon as possible. It is already four years since the incident occurred and we hope that justice is given to all the families whose children were killed. That remains the only succour for all of us," a family member of 14-year-old victim Rimpa Halder said requesting anonymity.

Halder's case was the first to be decided in February last year by the Ghaziabad court which awarded death sentence to Pandher and Koli.

Pandher was, however, acquitted by the Allahabad High Court and the case is pending before the Supreme Court.

"I am hopeful that at least five cases would be decided next year," said Khalid Khan, lawyer for some of the victims said.

"The victims should get justice and soon.... They have been waiting for it for four long years," he said.

Khan said some of cases have taken more time as families of the victims were giving different versions in court "which led to unnecessary delays".

Karan Pandher, son of Moninder Singh Pandher, said that the family was keen to see that the four other cases in which his father has been named are decided next year and asserted that his father is "innocent".

"My father was not present in his house when some of these incidents happened. He is not in the best of health. My family knows that he is innocent and we wish that all the cases are decided in the coming year," Karan said.

Pandher, who is lodged in the high-security Dasna jail in Ghaziabad, will face the first hearing next year in January followed by another in the Supreme Court in February.
CBI lawyer J P Sharma said the cases took time as the court had to examine a number of witnesses in each case, "sometimes about 50-100".

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