Nithari verdict a slap on CBI’s face: lawyers

February 12th, 2009 - 8:25 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 12 (IANS) Reacting to the first conviction in the Nithari killings that has superceded the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)’s charge sheet, leading lawyers in the capital said it was a slap on the investigating agency’s face.
“This conviction is a big slap on the CBI. Full marks to the special CBI judge. This shows the corruption in the CBI,” lawyer Prashant Bhushan said.

“It is very rare that a judge looks beyond the prosecution of the case - very few judges understand that,” said Bhushan.

Calling the conviction a “landmark judgement”, Kamini Jaiswal, a leading lawyer in the capital, echoed Bhushan’s views.

“This a slap on the CBI’s face. People will have renewed faith in the justice system. The CBI is not worse but just like police everywhere…only paid more. After this and the Arushi (murder) case - it shows their incompetence - I don’t think that anyone will ask for a CBI probe any more,” Jaiswal said.

“This will go a long way and serve as a basis for other 18 cases (of the Nithari killings),” Jaiswal added.

A special CBI court convicted businessman Moninder Singh Pandher and his domestic help Surendra Koli for raping and killing 14-year-old Rimpa Haldar.

Special Judge Rama Jain held Pandher and Koli guilty of murder and rape of Haldar, one of the 19 young women and children from Nithari village in Noida area whose body parts were found in a drain behind Pandher’s bungalow in December 2006.

“This judgment is a symbol of hope of how the Indian judicial system upheld justice. It exposed the functioning of the highest reputed investigating agency, the CBI,” said Kailash Satyarthi, a child activist and member of NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan.

“The only sad thing about this is that the judgement did not come earlier - it took two years… I suspect there are many more Nitharis out there all over the country - over 12,000 children had gone missing last year,” Satyarthi added.

Sandhya Bajaj, member of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), said the conviction would act as a precedent for other such cases.

“This case may be a precedent for other cases. Much of the missing children and trafficking problem in our country can be solved, if enough precautions are taken by the police,” Bajaj said.

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