The Noida Serial Murders

Cannibalism, necrophilia and organ trafficking are among the rumors swirling around the serial murders that have come to light in recent weeks in Noida, the industrial suburb of Delhi home to numerous technology and outsourcing companies, and are now the subject of international coverage, for instance with a New York Times article today.

What seems established is that the killers were able to abduct, sexually abuse, murder, and dismember upward of 30 young people over more than two years, with reports of missing persons going back at least to 2004.

Also clear is a pattern of police inaction. This Hindustan Times article reports that the police were directed to investigate disappearances in September 2005 but did little. This NDTV report details how a victim’s father suspected Moninder Singh Pandher and his servant Surinder Kohli immediately, and how the police responded:

NDTV has the information that on May 6 [2006] when the girl, Payal, went missing, Surinder had made a call from his mobile phone to her.

The girl had gone to their house that day but never returned.

The next day, her father went to police with a complaint against Moninder and Surinder but the police refused to register his complaint.

Later he went to Noida’s Chief Judicial Magistrate requesting him to get the police to register his complaint.

The CJM ordered the police to register a case of kidnapping against Moninder and Surinder.

But, on 29th of June, the police registered a mere missing person’s report, which doesn’t involve any arrests.

The same day, the police interrogated Moninder and his servant Surinder but decided not to press any charges against them.

NDTV has a copy of the Noida CJM’s order dated September 29, 2006 where he has clearly ordered the police to register a case of kidnapping against the two.

In the enquiry report submitted to the CJM court of which NDTV has a copy, Noida police gave a clean chit to Moninder and Surinder and said Payal had eloped.

Payal’s father then moved the Allahabad High Court and in November 2006, the High Court directed the Noida Police to register a case of kidnapping against Moninder and Surinder.

Six months after Payal’s father first went to the police the complaint was finally registered on November – the FIR no 838/06 under sections 363, 366 of the Indian Penal Code.

The Circle Officer Dinesh Yadav, who was to conduct the enquiry, didn’t touch the case at first and handed over the enquiry to his junior.

On November 29, the junior, a second Circle Officer also refused to conduct the enquiry saying that the case did not fall under his jurisdiction.

So, the case came back to Dinesh Yadav and all this while Moninder and Surinder were roaming free going about their business.

Sources have told NDTV that Moninder and Surinder were questioned at least five times in the course of the enquiry but they were let off each time.

The case has all the ingredients for legitimate outrage about two-tier law enforcement and the lack of recourse for marginal, migrant workers, among whom the killers picked their victims. I’m also disturbed/fascinated by the employer-servant relationship of the perpetrators. It goes back to a feudal conception of household employment that a servant would be expected to — and consent to, perhaps even aspire to — join his employer in criminal activities, let alone ones this awful.

Meanwhile, how many other such cases are out there, the press wonders? Not just in India of course. At least this case has a more positive outcome than the 400+ murders of women maquiladora workers in Juarez, Mexico, which the government gave up investigating last August.

P.S.: From the Noida police department website, this wisdom:

Police and Public are the two participants in the system. They should meet each other half way – only then, the encounter becomes a feast. The mission of Noida Police Force is to ensure that the resultant outcome of the interaction between Police and Public is positive and their synergy leads to overall social benefit.

59 thoughts on “The Noida Serial Murders

  1. Thanx for the link Timepass. Wow quite a bit of investigation to get to this point. How did they find the buried??? bags of bones/remains around the house?

  2. This case has far too many unknowns for us to be speculating on anything. Ultimately I’m afraid what it shows is that if you’re the bottom rung of the society (economically in this case), you’re screwed by the law.

  3. The story should be reported on at every scale day after day, because the only way to move the law fast in India is to embarass the authorities and outrage the people as much as possible, thats how the recent spate of just verdicts (jessica lal case etc) came around.

  4. I am from NOIDA, and let me tell you, the cops here are emissaries from Hell, for want of a better expression…….The worst thing about this place and this country is an honest, meritorious and hardworking man can never make that kind of money or live a life of dignity! U-S-A U-S-A U-S-A…. !!
    The problem with police as with the bureaucracy in India is absolute lack of accountability, as everyone knows.
    the perception that law enforcement fails only the poor is nonsense. It continues to fail everyone.
    much as I hate to say this, that “police brutality” in NY/LA is not in the same league as that in India. For many, e.g., hawkers, it is part of their everyday lives.
    Consider how many more people are victims of all kinds of crimes and atrocities — mostly perpetrated by people in positions of power (power defined by caste and income). Consider that India’s basic institutions are, in the final analysis, rotten to the core. Federal, state and local governments, the police, the media — these institutions only serve the interests of those in power. If you’re middle class, poor, or were born into the wrong caste then you’re sh*t out of luck my friend.
    without connections, cops in India will not give you a second of their day
    The whole infrastructure in every walk of life is very shakey.
    Even if the cops wanted in India, they do not even have the means to investigate cases en-masse. Currently, we can just talk, and talk.
    all i know is that when my friend’s dad was the dgp of UP it was a free pass for all of our friends to act however they wanted to because nothing would ever happen to them, and it was true. yikes.

    Shouldn’t a nation that is so inexcusably unable or unwilling to enforce its laws be considered a failed state?

    India has failed its citizens in practically every way conceivable: from the abysmal policing and justice system, to its criminal inability to provide the basic necessities of life such as clean drinking water, sanitation, sufficient food etc, to its unwillingness to end the abomination of child slave labor which victimizes 10s of millions of little indian children.

    Perhaps one way to stem the rot is to strictly implement caste/communal based reservations in the police, judiciary, bureaucracy and yes even the media. That would be a way to ensure some semblance of checks, balances and accountability. For the rule of law is not being enforced from the top.

  5. The Founding Fathers envisioned a country where the citizenry protected itself and did not rely on the Government. Hence their sacred right to carry guns. When people went to the market, they had a gun

    Lets not rewrite history :)

  6. Those same original landowners (mostly Jats, Yadavs) can no longer afford to live in Gurgaon, etc. From what I hear, their kids have taken to alcoholism and crime. Several have murdered their own fathers out of anger that they sold the land so cheaply.

    Thats hardly a justification for killing your Pa. But then the Gujjar practice ‘killing’ with knife like implements on their cattle what do you expect? My point is nobody should get extraordinarily wealthy without education or accountability. The Jat, Gujjar, Ahirs have an inclination towards resolving disputes through violence. Not necessarily a fault of theirs, since they have had to deal with invaders for centuries, but it does make sure their is little account for the law within their consciousness. Considering that capitalist society is a pyramid anyway, if the developers fleece them, it wouldn’t make a difference to the base if the tips rises higher. But if you give uneducated, rural folk million an acre, its asking for trouble. Besides a lot of these big landowners have been chaudharies and upper-strata within their own communities, so if after centuries of sitting easy on a piece of ancestral land it must be converted into some modern infrastructure – they couldn’t really ask for ceiling prices

  7. My point is nobody should get extraordinarily wealthy without education or accountability.
    But if you give uneducated, rural folk million an acre, its asking for trouble.
    they couldn’t really ask for ceiling prices

    I disagree with all the above statements. Some people happen to be born into land-owning families. That’s their good luck (although it could be due to multiple historical circumstances that they own that land). If due to various market factors, they find they’re sitting on a goldmine, why shouldn’t they cash out to the fullest extent possible? Once having done so, on what basis should they restrain themselves from living the lifestyle that accompanies that wealth? Just to please you? I do agree that for their own children and grandchildren’s sake, they should invest the money rather than squander it (that’s where lack of education combined with relatively limited investment opportunities in India comes in), and they should pursue education (which quite a few families have done). I agree quite a lot of them have behavioral problems, which in part may stem from their cultural background (keep in mind that ALL Indians had to deal with invaders, not all Indians had the guts to actually fight them like the groups you mention did). But bottom line, you can’t begrudge them their wealth…unless you have a problem with the concept of private property, free markets, and capitalism. By the way, I’m not saying that land reform would be a bad thing, or that it’s necessarily FAIR that certain groups own land and others don’t.

  8. India is a falied state, or rather the ‘State’ that only works well for the rich and powerful. It does not work for the low to middle class families. Forget about the poor, their survival is marred by atrocities, rapes, exploitation which has become ‘non-news’ for the country. Who cares if children are getting killed, who cares if a college student is raped, who cares if a students or farmers commit suicides, these are stories which are printed on page 14 of a newspaper, after the news of Ashwarya’s marriage rumors or Shahrukh’s KBC debut. Who care’s if the Police officers in all of India are corrupt or incompetent or have become a virtual private armies of politicians.

    Finding dead bodies in stinking residential drainages near ‘multi-crore’ properties is common. According to the brother of UP Chief Minister, these are ‘routine incidents’. Based on his wisdom, we should not exaggerate what has happened in Noida. In Gurgaon, the law and order is such that god forbid if a girl ventures out after dark all alone.

    So this is the state of India. I was thinking of investing in real estate in Noida or Gurgaon, but I’m not going to anymore. The crime situation, and lack of basic amenities (water, electricity etc) in these areas suggest that high property prices is just speculation. The pricing bubble is going to burst big time.