In December 2006, the story of this horror house sent the entire nation dithering. After a decade, one shudders to recall the savagery that should not have been. When the news broke, the icy-cold city of Noida shivered with fear. It was the longest and the ghastliest of all winters. The fact that this story was not borrowed, begged or stolen from a sensational detective novel makes this case more hapless than any other in the file.
If you have seen the American crime flick Changeling (2008), you will know of the disconcerting premise that it was. In the film, a mother runs helter-skelter to find her missing son, who has been kidnapped by a sociopath; the man murders children and buries them in his yard. She is not aware of her son’s whereabouts, does not know if he is alive, but stirs a rambunctious protest against the corrupt LAPD.
Akin to the film’s plot, the Nithari case too was unnervingly murky. The biological remnants and other body parts – including skeletons – were traced to the house of an affluent businessman Moninder Singh Pandher in Nithari. Police investigations tossed the very foundations of the society. It was found that his servant Surender Koli, had been raping children and women, and killing them. He had even allegedly cooked their organs and consumed them.
Pandher was first convicted, but later acquitted of charges in 2009 in one case. He is co-accused in other cases, but his death sentence has been overturned. And after skirting the court on numerous occasion, pleading mercy, accepting his appalling crimes – including necrophilia, Koli was sentenced to life imprisonment.
This monstrous case was first of its kind. It grabbed eyeballs and traumatized the country because it was repugnant and plain-barbarous. In his confession and defence, Koli had said he had strong sexual urges that he wanted met. The man’s carnal gratification had reached an obsessive point, wherein he would deliberately stand in the house’s gate and try to lure women and children in. In his narco-analysis, he gave a clean-chit to his employer saying the latter was unaware of his infamy.
The Central Bureau of Investigation labelled him as a psychopath – someone with a severe personality disorder. And the man needs help. It is clear that he is not going to face the hangman in this life. It is just a matter of time before the man gets scot-free. The society does not want a repeat of the Nithari cannibalism. It is, therefore, pertinent that the man receives psychiatric examination and help both inside and outside the jail.
Moreover, it is important to take up this case in the media, to highlight the social recklessness, apathy and perils that are a part a part of our everyday lives. The skeletons were unearthed two years after the people they belonged to went missing. Can we afford to have another horror of a story?