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Key witness in Nithari killings retracts statement


Ghaziabad : A key witness in the case of killings of children and young women at Nithari retracted his testimony against prime accused Moninder Singh Pandher Thursday.

Nandlal, whose 22-year-old daughter Payal was one of the 20-odd victims of the serial rape and killings in the village on the outskirts of New Delhi, told a designated court of Special Judge Rama Jain that he did not see Pandher, a Noida-based businessman, helping police recover a murder weapon from bushes near his house.

In his deposition to the designated court July 6 Nandlal had said, “I was present when the police had first quizzed Pandher and he had taken the police to an area beside his house from where the big knife (aari) was recovered by the police.”

He also denied that he ever saw Pnadher’s manager S.K Sharma bribing Deputy Superintendent of Police Dinesh Yadav. In his earlier statement he had asserted that he saw Sharma giving a wad of currency notes of the Rs.500 denomination to Yadav.

Nandlal Thursday told the court that he did not know Sharma at all.

He had also said in the court that few pages of the case diary were torn in his presence. On Thursday, he denied this, too.

He had made three points earlier and retracted all in the cross-examination on Thursday.

On the basis of his earlier statements, the court had framed charges of rape and murder against Pandher and had also directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register a corruption case against Yadav.

Earlier, the CBI had charged Pandher only for mild offences, absolving him of the heinous charges of rape and murder.

But, following Nandlal’s statement, the court had framed charges of rape and murder against him.

The retracing of deposition by a key witness in the case has come close on the heels of the death of another witness, Jatin Sarkar, in West Bengal under mysterious circumstances.