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Nithari: CBI searches for hard evidence
Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | January 25, 2007 22:48 IST
Lack of eyewitnesses and unavailability of hard evidence directly linking Moninder Singh Pandher to the crimes is worrying investigators. Pandher and Surender Koli were beaten up by a mob on the premises of a court in Ghaziabad on Thursday. The attack has added to the tension of handling this sensitive case.
The beatings reflect the agony of the victims and anger over the establishment's -- particularly the Noida police's inaction -- in preventing and stopping such heinous crime.
It will not be easy to keep Pandher behind bars for a long time, if sources close to Pandher are to be believed.
Pandher and his servant Koli have been accused of killing more than two dozen children. It is not clear what Pandher's role was in the killings.
Investigators are trying to find some evidence to nail Pandher and Koli to the killings.
A senior lawyer in New Delhi told rediff.com, "I have been asked to appear for Pandher but my wife and daughters are dead against it. No lawyer is coming forward to take up Pandher's case."
He claimed he has seen Pandher's case papers and has been talking to CBI officers about the case.
Adds the lawyer, "Pandher is claiming innocence. He says 'I am innocent. I did not know about Koli's activity'."
Pandher reportedly told the police he made a big mistake in protecting Koli from police inquiries regarding missing children in the past.
Pandher's wife is reportedly also upset with her husband. When the police called her in for questioning she cooperated with them but did not seem keen to help Pandher. She has met Pandher only twice in jail.
Another lawyer, who may take up Pandher's case, told rediff.com, "More than two dozen call girls have been interrogated by the CBI and the UP police. Their names were found from the cell numbers of the accused. The CBI is desperately searching for evidence to prove that Pandher was also a paedophile like Koli."
This is proving a tough call for the investigators who have reportedly found a picture of Pandher in a foreign country with a group of children.
When asked if some kind of orchestrated efforts are on to save Pandher, the lawyer said, "In this case it is impossible to save Koli or Pandher if they are involved. There are reports that Pandher was an alcoholic and a womaniser. But do they have proof that he was a sexual pervert?"
"I am not saying Pandher is innocent," the lawyer said. "But the investigators need evidence to prove that he killed children or sexually abused them. There does not seem to be any evidence of that so far. The CBI may find it but they don't have any now."
For the last eight years Pandher was a director of Classified Autos, a heavy equipment company with a turnover of about Rs 5 crore (Rs 50 million). He has been sacked after the case broke.