PRAYAGRAJ: Surinder Koli, who received 13 death sentences from a CBI court for the Nithari killings in Noida that surfaced in December 2006, was acquitted on Monday by the Allahabad high court, which expressed its “disappointment” with the “botched-up” investigation into the brutalities that shocked the country.

Big twist in Nithari case, Allahabad HC acquits Surinder Koli and Pandher

Also acquitting Koli’s employer Moninder Singh Pandher, a bench of justices Ashwani Kumar Mishra and Syed Aftab Husain Rizvi said the “prosecution failed to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt, on the settled parameters of a case based on circumstantial evidence”.”The failure of the prosecution was nothing short of a betrayal of public trust by responsible agencies,” the bench said. “The loss of lives of young children and ladies is a matter of serious concern particularly when their lives were brought to an end in a most inhuman manner but that, in itself, would not justify denial of fair trial to the accused nor would it justify their punishment even in the absence of evidence to implicate them,” it added.
The judges noted that the basic norms of collecting evidence had been brazenly violated by the investigators, who opted for the easy course of implicating a poor servant of the house by demonising him. A fair trial, the judges observed, had clearly eluded the accused appellants. Of the 16 cases that the trial court heard, Koli was handed the death term in 13, of which one was commuted to life.

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