Moninder Singh Pandher may have nowhere to hide
Outrage continues unabated as more gory details of the killings
of women and children are revealed.
BY A CORRESPONDENT
January 4, 2007
In the wake of rising outrage over the Noida killings, the government today increased the compensation for the relatives of the victims from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. However, the people's anger is unlikely to subside any time soon. Meanwhile, a news channel carried a report saying that both Moninder Singh Pandher and his servant Surendra have confessed to raping and killing the children. There are indications that the enquiry which is already on will be soon handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The police last week found skeletons and remains of several children who have been missing for years. The bereaved parents say that the Noida police refused to register any complaint despite numerous representations. Now, with the discovery of the Noida skeletons, the police have decided to widen the search to Moninder's ancestral home in Punjab. However, Moninder did not frequent the place, say villagers.
Moninder Singh Pandher, now known as the Butcher of Noida, has been separated from his wife for some time. He is a product of the prestigious Bishop Cotton School, where his son too is enrolled.
According to the police, Moninder Singh lured the children to his house with sweets and raped them before killing them. According to a Times Now report, the duo have confessed to the killing. The report adds that Moninder's servant Surendra Koli even had sex with the corpses to improve his sexual prowess as advised by a Tantrik.
Yesterday, the police for the first time took the media inside the Noida house where the children were raped and murdered. Journalists who visited the place say that Moninder Singh had a luxurious lifestyle and loved hunting and fine spirits.
Walls of Moninder's living room are decorated with huge photographs showing him with hunting gear and the prey. The house sports a mini-bar stocked with Indian and imported spirits.
Moninder Singh is said to be fond of Goldschlager, a spirit with flakes of gold floating in it. He also had Drambuie, Bardinet Curacao Blue and Gold Napoleon in his collection.
According to reports, about 30 children have gone missing from this locality in the last two years. However, the police has so far stumbled only on 22 skeletons. Nithari, where Moninder Singh lives, is home to over 25,000 people most of them migrants from West Bengal. Most of the victims have been from poor families. The villagers have gone on the rampage attacking the police station and blocking officials at Noida.
Uttar Pradesh government has sacked six policemen and suspended 3 officials, as popular fury rages over the criminal negligence that led to the Noida serial killings. The UP government has dismissed six cops, including two inspectors and four sub-inspectors, and suspended ex-Noida SSP Piyush Mordia, additional SP Soumitra Yadav and DSP Sewak Ram Yadav.
The central government too has got into the act, ordering a probe into the Noida killings by the women and child development ministry. This will help the Centre escape the charge that it is meddling into a state affair, law & order being a state subject.
The state bar association has already stated that it will not be defending Moninder Singh in the case. It has also said that it will not let anyone defend Moninder either. However, a lawyer friend of Moninder has agreed to take up the task and argue the case for "Goldie" as he is called.
In school, Moninder Singh Pandher is believed to have been good at studies and a nice student. He was attached to his father and was affectionate towards his juniors. His mother died when Moninder was eight. His uncle, who he was close to, was murdered in the 80s apparently over a business rivalry. In the last few years, he had a strained relationship wth his estranged wife, and had been living separately from her. According to some of his friends, Moninder Singh got into bad company during these days.
Meanwhile, BJP MP Raj Babbar has hinted at the possibility of organ trade being a motive for the killings. However, he has not given any reason why he thinks Moninder Singh is into human organ trafficking. Babbar has rejected the commonly-accepted view that Moninder Singh satisifed his lust on the children before murdering his victims. He says that there is more to it than meets the eye. Following suspicions of organ trading, the police have already searched Noida medical centres in the vicinity of Moninder Singh's bungalow. There have been no leads on this, however.
So far, there have been only two arrests in the case: Moninder Singh Pandher and his domestic help Surender Kohli, have been arrested and charged with kidnapping, raping and killing the children and then disposing their dismembered bodies in the backyard.
According to the police, Moninder Singh used to hire call girls and when they were not available, send out Surendra to get children for him. The process of DNA testing of remains from Moninder Singh's drains is also on, just to confirm the identity of the children. Some distraught parents have already identified their children from their clothes, belts, socks and shoes.
A parent has been quoted as saying that when she went to the police with the complaint that her daughter has gone missing, the cops mocked her saying that the girl may have eloped with someone. The mother was sent back without the police registering a case.
A parent even recalls that Surendra had tried to lure his daughter to Moninder Singh's house several times, and that he had warned the daughter against going there. It is puzzling that despite being in the needle of suspicion, both the master and the servant managed to survive for long.
According to a mother who lost her children, the police even assaulted her and threw her out of the station when she went with a complaint. Such instances have given credence to the view that at least some cops in Noida around may been paid off to drop petitions against Moninder Singh Pandher. According to some villagers, Moninder used to get frequent visits from a certain policeman in plainclothes.
Moninder had bought his D5 Noida bungalow in 2005, soon after which the children started vanishing mysteriously. The house, which he bought from a certain Captain Nabh, was purchased for Rs 33 lakh, and is in his wife's name. The deal was done through a property dealer. Capt Nabh says he does not know Moninder Singh.
The angry villagers have fought pitched battles with the police after news came out of skeletons in Moninder's bungalow. They have broken open the gates of the house and fought street battles with the cops. Politicians have also joined the fray, calling for nothing less than maximum punishment for the guilty.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to interfere in the case following a petition, saying that investigations are already under way.
case following a petition, saying
that investigations are already under way.