Next day the police filed a case of culpable homicide against 500 people. Time alone will tell if the case was filed merely as a ritual or if genuine investigation and punishment really will follow. The fact is that, with impunity, the mob took the law into its own hands while the police watched. The police role in the Nithari serial murders had destroyed its authority to act.
In Nithari scores of people, mostly children, were declared missing by relatives. The police did nothing. After remains of dead bodies were discovered in clogged drains the serial murders came to light. From among the scores of people yet missing eighteen victims were identified. Cases were lodged against Moninder Singh Pandher and his servant Surendra Koli. Confessions were obtained from both. Several local police officials were suspended for failing to take action. The CBI took over the probe.
The CBI regularly leaked reports to the media which compounded the confusion. Eventually, on March 22, the CBI filed its first charge sheet in the case. It dealt with the murder of Ms. Payal, daughter of Shri Nand Lal, of Sector 19, Noida. She was murdered in May 2006. Surendra Koli, domestic servant of Pandher, was charged with abducting Ms. Payal, raping and murdering her, disposing of her body, and destroying the evidence. His master, Moninder Singh Pandher, was charged with procuring call girls including Ms. Payal, and of using his house as a brothel for friends, thereby committing offences under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956. He was also charged with exerting pressure on witnesses, and bribing police officers to protect himself and his servant from criminal proceedings. Simranjeet Kaur (ex SI, UP Police), was charged with conspiring with accused Moninder Singh Pandher, accepting bribes, and destroying evidence to protect Pandher and his servant Surendra Koli. Simranjeet Kaur was arrested and produced in the Court. According to the CBI, Pandher was not aware of the murders committed by his servant at the time they occurred. After psychological tests conducted on him the CBI concluded that Pandher was not a psychopath, but his servant Koli was.
In his confession to the police Koli said that he procured girls for Pandher and after the latter had done with them he raped and murdered them. There were two maid servants, Maya and Nisha, who also helped procure children. One six year old child who providentially escaped murder identified both Koli and the maid who attempted to lure her. Earlier, the CBI had named the maids as suspects. Now the maids are reported missing. It is not known whether they are in CBI custody or have fled. They do not figure in the charge sheet.
According to the CBI charge sheet therefore Koli the psychopath committed the murders. Pandher, his master, indulged in immoral traffic. Pandher was unaware of the eighteen or more murders committed by his servant. Yet Pandher bribed the police to protect himself and his servant. Even if he was unaware of Koli's murders when they occurred, he presumably knew of them during the time he bribed the police. Thus to protect himself from the relatively minor crime of indulging with call girls, Pandher knowingly became complicit with a serial killer by protecting him. Apparently, the vanished maids did not mind procuring children to satisfy the lust of their master and the murderous intent of his servant. The bribed police official was accused of distributing money and gifts to her subordinates. She too became complicit in protecting a serial killer in order to save Pandher from the charge of indulging in immoral traffic.
The CBI charge sheet sounds absurd. What is worse, it has been effectively punctured by the weekly, Tehelka. In an exclusive report the magazine procured the first confession of Pandher made to the local police before CBI got into the act. Pandher had confessed that he was aware of the murders committed by his servant. He hatched a plot with Koli to kill Payal because she threatened to blackmail him.
The question arises: with what could a call girl, herself complicit in immoral traffic, blackmail Pandher? The CBI charge sheet appears flawed. But is Pandher's confession to the bribed Noida police dependable? In his confession to the Noida police Pandher could be declared a psychopath. As a mental patient a psychopath can escape the death sentence. Presently, Koli is being paraded as a psychopath. Would serial criminals keep the police on payroll unless their crimes generated funds?
The CBI has repeatedly stressed that no organ trade was involved in the killings. There is little reason to disbelieve the CBI, but less reason to believe it. Its credibility is shattered. The CBI claims that experts have ruled out that the intestines, livers, kidneys, and other body parts recovered from Pandher's premises indicated organ trade. The CBI has not explained why the body parts were there. A large number of the Nithari victims were children. Cannot a child's organs be transplanted into adults? And is it not true that children's organs are preferred because they are less likely to be damaged? There have been cases of organs extracted from people killed. It happened in China's military hospitals. In June 2001 Dr Wang Guoqi testified before the US Congress that he had extracted organs from 100 prisoners executed under orders of the Peoples' Liberation Army. After initial denials the Chinese authorities acknowledged this. They are from all accounts trying to eliminate organ trade.
The third world poor are an obvious target for this trade. Few heed their complaints. The government must make sure this did not happen in Nithari. It must also ensure it is not happening elsewhere in India ' even if it has to handover the probe to international-level investigators. The CBI is unreliable. The Nithari murders are too serious to be covered up. They must be probed exhaustively, methodically and convincingly.