The target of mob fury at a Ghaziabad court, the Nithari serial killings accused Moninder Singh Pandher and Surendra Koli were on Thursday brought to RML Hospital in New Delhi for treatment amidst tight security.
As both the accused were being taken to the lockup from the courtroom, a mob, apparently enraged over the grisly killings at his Noida residence, caught hold of them and beat them up black and blue. The policemen surrounding them had a tough time controlling the situation. Pandher, in his fifties, fainted after the attack.
While Koli was discharged immediately after check-up and first-aid, Pandher, who bore the brunt of the attack, was kept under observation for around three hours before he was also discharged, the hospital Medical Superintendent N K Chaturvedi told PTI.
"Koli was discharged immediately after first-aid, but Pandher was kept under observation for three hours," he said. Pandher, on whom the crowd had rained blows and who had fainted after the attack, had bruises and abrasions on his forehead and right arm.
"He was conscious when he was brought in. He did not have any serious injury and was discharged," Chaturvedi said.
An ECG was conducted on Pandher, who is in his fifties, and it was normal. In the wake of the mob attack on the duo as they were produced in a local court in Ghaziabad, heavy security arrangements were in place at the RML Hospital, with policemen and paramilitary forces guarding the Emergency Ward where the two accused were brought.
The area around the ward was also barricaded to restrict entry of people. A large number of people and mediapersons had gathered outside the hospital.
Chaturvedi, meanwhile, denied that the security arrangements had caused any inconvenience to the patients, saying 70 cases came to the Emergency Ward during the three hours when Pandher was there.
The CBI, which had taken over the custody of both the accused on January 11, had produced the two accused in court to seek their fresh remand. It had registered 19 cases against them. The investigation agency blamed the UP police for the mob attack, saying it was the duty of the local police to provide protection to the accused.
Describing the incident as unfortunate, CBI Director Vijay Shankar said it was the duty of the state government to ensure that full protection was provided to the persons in custody.
"The CBI is seeking information on the incident from the Home Ministry and the state government," he said, adding that action will be taken in the matter as per law.
Meanwhile, the Union Home Ministry also said that it was up to the state government to ensure protection and safety of the accused and it has no role to play at this stage. A home ministry spokesman, however, said that the Centre will definitely examine the matter if the CBI gave a report to it.
"Prison, protection and safety of the accused is the state administration's responsibility," he said.
Meanwhile, lawyers of the local bar said they were not involved in the assault on Pandher and Kohli and claimed that they even tried to protect them from public fury.
"We were all in the court when the two were produced. We only raised slogans and did not beat them," Ajay Bir, a member of the Ghaziabad Bar Association, told media persons.
Bir said the incident was condemnable and people should not have taken the law in their hands.