SC dismisses Nithari convict's plea

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a review plea made by Surendra Koli against the death penalty awarded to him in one of the 2005-06 Nithari serial killings in Noida, adjoining the national capital.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice H L Dattu rejected the arguments advanced on behalf of Koli by senior advocate Ram Jethmalani contending that the conviction was based on confessional statement obtained after torture.

“We are fully satisfied with the conviction and sentence and reject the review petition. No grounds whatsoever have been made to persuade us to review our earlier decision,” the bench said.

Appearing pro bono (without compensation for public good), Jethmalani relied upon the autopsy report stating that the murder has been carried out with surgical precision by someone having medical expertise.

The surgeon who performed the autopsy of the victim has not been examined by the prosecution, he contended, alleging the crime may have been committed by a doctor, residing in neighbourhood, who was accused of organ trade as well.

He said it would be a miscarriage of justice if the convict was sentenced on the basis of the confessional statement. “One innocent life is more important than anything else. I am shocked that such a thing can happen in the judiciary,” he said.

The bench, however, said that this plea must have been raised earlier before the trial court, High Court and the Supreme Court. The court said that it would not expand the scope of its review jurisdiction by reassessing the evidence.

The court had on September 8 stayed the execution of death sentence of Koli for killing children in a house in Nithari village. Notably, the President had on July 20 rejected mercy plea of Koli.

Koli had assailed the February 15, 2011 judgment wherein he was awarded the death penalty in one of the cases in which 19 people, largely young children, were killed.
The court had found the murder as “horrifying and barbaric”. The matter relating to killing of 14-year-old Rimpa Haldar was the first case which reached the apex court and got adjudicated by it.

The court had refused to show any mercy to Koli and dismissed his appeal against a decision of the Allahabad High Court, upholding the capital punishment awarded to him by a Special CBI Court in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad district in 2009.

It had noted that Koli, 42, an employee of Noida-based businessman Moninder Singh Pandher used a “definite methodology” in committing murders as he lured the victims, ranging from four to 26 years into the house, strangulated them, tried to have sex with their dead body, cooked the body parts to eat them and threw the remains into a drain.
A total of 19 FIRs were registered following the recovery of human body parts from the drain in Noida in 2005-06.

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