Compulsive Necrophilic Predator
On December 30, 2006, the complete and partial skulls of nineteen people — four women, eleven girls and four boys — were discovered on the property of an upscale home in Nithari, a suburb of New Delhi, precipitating a search for more remains. It was obvious at once that the police were dealing with a serial killer, but investigators would soon learn that they in fact had two suspects, possibly three.
At first, according to the Telegraph and other news sources in India, the police announced that the businessman who owned the home, Moninder Singh Pandher, was their prime suspect, but then they included his domestic servant and cook over the past two years, Surendra Koli. Both were arrested and charged with many counts of murder, rape, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy. But it would get worse.
After investigators administered a truth serum to Koli, he admitted to killing eight children, and said that he ate parts of them. According to the Times of India, he apparently admitted to consuming the liver of a female child, which made him vomit. Nevertheless, he continued to try flesh from other victims until he got used to it, even making "kebabs" from the meat. The same report claimed that Koli also had sex with some of the corpses. He stated that he was tasting the flesh as an antidote to infertility. However, he had one child and his wife was about to give birth to a second, so this statement seemed questionable. (After she delivered in January, his 23-year-old wife claimed that the rumors about Koli were absurd and that she was convinced he was innocent and being framed.)
Koli's employer, Moninder Singh Pandher, was also taken in for custodial interrogation and he, too, was administered a truth serum to get a confession. Supposedly he did admit to his involvement, but his shocking status as a team killer would soon shift.
On January 15, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) announced that it had recovered forty polythene bags of human flesh, tissues and bone fragments from the drain in front of Pandher's house. One hundred meters away, they picked up two more bones, but no remains were found inside the home. Among other items seized were a double-barrel gun, cartridges, mobile phones, photographs, photo albums, and a blood-stained grill. Later, they found a blood-stained axe from the bushes near one of the bungalows on Pandher's property. They sent it for analysis.
The thirty-member task force planned to call in scientists to assist in laying out the remains to attempt to identify at least some of the victims. Since they knew of some 40 people reported missing in the area — most of them children — the task would be slightly easier. They hoped to use that information to match the remains to the missing, and they asked relatives for DNA samples. The CBI sent the remains to be "individualised" by the AIIMS forensic team in Hyderabad.
As January 25 arrived, the date on which the law would free the suspects, the CBI extended their detainment another two weeks, in part for the suspects' own protection. In fact, as they emerged from court one day, a crowd of people, including lawyers who had been barred from the proceedings, surrounded them, overwhelmed their police guard, and beat them. Yet as the case progressed, stories about their confessions grew more confusing.