Nithari Killings: The Shocking Acquittal of Moninder Pandher and Surendra Koli

In a stunning turn of events, the Allahabad High Court recently acquitted Surendra Koli and Moninder Singh Pandher, two men sentenced to death on charges of rape and murder in the infamous Nithari killings case. This case, also known as the Noida serial murders, shook the nation with its heinous details, including allegations of rape, cannibalism, and the murder of women. In this article, we will delve into the case details, the investigations, and the surprising acquittal of the accused.

The Gruesome Discovery

The horrifying saga began in 2006 when the skeletal remains of eight children were found in the drain behind Pandher’s house in Nithari, Noida. These shocking discoveries sent shockwaves across the nation. Further searches in the area unearthed more skeletal remains, mostly belonging to poor children and young women who had gone missing.

Within just ten days, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took over the case, recovering even more bones. While Moninder Singh Pandher was incarcerated in a Noida jail, Surendra Koli was held in a Ghaziabad prison.

The Timeline of Events

2006 – The Murders Discovered:

The Nithari serial murders believed to have occurred between 2005 and 2006, were attributed to Moninder Singh Pandher and his house help, Surendra Koli. The gruesome details came to light when two Nithari village residents claimed to have information about missing children’s remains. These residents were parents whose daughters had gone missing, and their grim discovery of a decomposed hand in a drain prompted them to contact the police.

Koli, operating under the alias Satish, later confessed to sexually assaulting and killing six children and a 20-year-old woman referred to as “Payal.” Koli’s confession led to the police digging up nearby land, where they discovered the bodies of the missing children. On December 29, 2006, both Pandher and Koli were arrested.

2007 – Investigation Revelations, Confession:

The investigation took a shocking turn when child pornography and a laptop connected to a webcam were discovered. There were also photographs of Pandher with nude children, which were later found to be his grandchildren, leading to removing these accusations. The police also initially suspected an organ trade angle and cannibalism in the murders.

After brain mapping tests and narco analysis, Koli gave his employer, Pandher, a clean chit, stating that all deaths had occurred due to strangulation. Pandher was described as a womanizer and depressed.

2009 – Convictions for Pandher and Koli:

In a significant development, Koli and Pandher were convicted and sentenced to death on February 13, 2009, for the rape and murder of 14-year-old Rimpa Haldar, one of their many victims. This case was categorized as the “rarest of rare,” leading to the death penalty for both accused.

2014 – Mercy Petitions Rejected:

Despite filing mercy petitions after being sentenced to death, then-President Pranab Mukherjee rejected them in 2014. However, the court stayed their execution in September of the same year. Subsequently, in September 2014, the Supreme Court commuted Koli’s death sentence to life imprisonment.

2015 – Death Sentence Commuted to Life Imprisonment:

In January 2015, Surender Koli’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the Allahabad High Court, citing an “inordinate delay” in deciding his mercy petition. This decision was made by a division bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P K S Baghel.

2017 – Death Sentence Awarded Again:

In a CBI special court in Ghaziabad, Moninder Singh Pandher and Surendra Koli were once again sentenced to death, this time in connection with the rape and murder of a 25-year-old domestic help. This marked the ninth case in which Koli was convicted and the third in which both Pandher and Koli received death sentences.

2022 – Koli Given Death Penalty:

Surendra Koli was awarded the death penalty by a special CBI court in Ghaziabad in a significant development. Moninder Singh Pandher received seven years’ imprisonment and fines for immoral trafficking. Koli faced death sentences in more than ten cases, while Pandher was sentenced to death in three cases.

2023 – Acquittal:

The latest twist in this dark tale unfolded in 2023 when the Allahabad High Court acquitted Moninder Singh Pandher and Surendra Koli due to a lack of evidence.


The Nithari killings case remains one of the most shocking and horrifying chapters in India’s criminal history. The acquittal of Moninder Pandher and Surendra Koli raises questions about the investigation and the legal system’s handling of such gruesome crimes. This case is a stark reminder of the need for a robust and efficient criminal justice system.


1. What were the Nithari killings, and when did they take place?

The Nithari killings, also known as the Noida serial murders, were a series of gruesome murders and heinous crimes that occurred between 2005 and 2006 in the Nithari village in Noida, India. The case involved allegations of rape, murder, and cannibalism.

2. Who were Moninder Pandher and Surendra Koli, and what were their roles in the Nithari killings?

Moninder Singh Pandher was the owner of the house where the skeletal remains of the victims were discovered, and Surendra Koli was his house help. Both were accused of being involved in the rape and murder of several children and young women.

3. Why were Moninder Pandher and Surendra Koli initially sentenced to death, and why were their convictions commuted at a later stage?

Pandher and Koli were initially sentenced to death for their involvement in the Nithari killings. However, their death sentences were commuted in some cases due to various legal proceedings and delays in deciding mercy petitions.

4. What led to the acquittal of Moninder Pandher and Surendra Koli in 2023?

The Allahabad High Court acquitted Moninder Pandher and Surendra Koli in 2023, citing a lack of evidence. This decision came after years of legal battles and controversies surrounding the case.

5. What impact has the Nithari killings case had on India’s criminal justice system and society?

The Nithari killings case has raised significant questions about the efficiency of India’s criminal justice system and its ability to handle high-profile cases involving heinous crimes. It has also had a profound impact on society, highlighting the need for better measures to prevent and investigate such crimes and to provide justice to the victims and their families.