CBI court rejects Pandher’s bail plea


Ghaziabad : A special court Tuesday dismissed the bail plea of Noida businessman Moninder Singh Pandher, facing trial with his domestic aide Surendra Koli for their alleged roles in the murders of at least 20 people, mostly children, in Nithari village.

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Dismissing his application, special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge Rama Jain said "it would not be proper to release the accused at this juncture" as it would hamper the probe into several cases related to the serial killings in the village near Noida, a suburb of the national capital.

Pandher had moved for bail in the case related to the killing of Payal, a sex worker. He had been chargesheeted for destruction of evidence and immoral trafficking.

The judge had reserved her order on Pandher's bail plea Tuesday after hearing arguments from all sides — his lawyer Devraj Singh, CBI counsel Suresh Batra and the lawyer for the parents of the slain Nithari children, Khalid Khan.

Urging the court to release his client on bail, Devraj Singh said the CBI had already competed its probe into Payal's killing and had not been charged with any heinous crimes.

Pandher had also been given a clean chit in the other five cases in which the CBI had completed its probe and there was no likelihood of him being indicted for any heinous crime in the other cases, he argued.

Putting forward the CBI's objections, counsel Batra said the investigation was still incomplete in several cases and it was not right to already predict that he would not be chargesheeted.

Giving the view of the parents of the Nithari victims, Khan said the probe was complete in only five of the 19 cases in which Pandher figures as an accused.

In one of the cases, in which the CBI has already filed its chargesheet, the court has ordered further investigation.

Khan said Pandher was trying to secure bail in Payal's murder to ensure that the grounds for keeping him in jail in the other cases was considerably weakened as CBI was on a spree to give him a "clean chit".

In one of the most macabre crimes in recent times, Pandher and his aide Koli were arrested Dec 29 after the Noida police began discovering skeletal remains of people, mostly children, from drains near his bungalow. The children had been sexually abused as well.