Indian police charge three in serial killings of children


NEW DELHI, AFP

Indian police on Thursday charged three people including a businessman and a policewoman over the macabre serial killings of 21 people, mainly children, officials said.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) charged businessman Moninder Singh Pandher and his servant, Surinder Koli, with the abduction, rape and murder of 21 people, court officials said. The pair had been in custody since early January.

Sacked police officer Simranjit Kaur, who was arrested on Wednesday by the CBI, was charged with shielding Pandher in the murder of a sex worker in his plush bungalow, dubbed the “House of Horrors” by the media.

The charges mark the start of formal legal proceedings in the gruesome killings, which have sparked outrage in India.

Kaur has been charged with accepting bribes from Pandher to stave off investigations in the murder of the 26-year-old prostitute, which eventually blew the lid off killings that spanned three years.

If convicted, both Pandher and Koli could receive the death sentence, while the policewoman could be imprisoned for life, legal officials said.

In January, police said Koli had confessed to abducting children from a slum area, then killing them in his employer’s home and disposing of the remains in drains.

The CBI has said Koli has admitted to rape, cannibalism and necrophilia during lie detector tests. But as the confessions took place under the influence of “truth serum” drugs, they are inadmissible as evidence in court.

Victims’ relatives say as many as 40 children have disappeared in the area since 2004.