An Indian court has acquitted two men suspected of murdering 19 children and young women 17 years ago due to a lack of evidence.
Businessman Moninder Singh Pandher and his groundskeeper Surender Koli – the prime suspect in the case – were arrested by police in December 2006.
Authorities filed 13 cases against Koli and six against Pandher in relation to the killings.
The Allahabad High Court on Monday acquitted Koli in 12 of the cases and Pandher in two cases, Koli’s lawyer Payoshi Roy said.
“There is a single case against Koli now in the Supreme Court… We hope to overturn that as well,” Ms Roy said, adding that the high court ruled the evidence against Koli as being inadmissible.
Pandher’s lawyer said that all six cases against him related to the killings have been disposed of, as he was previously acquitted in four cases.
The men’s death sentences have also been overturned, Ms Roy added.
In 2017, the pair were sentenced to death after they were found guilty of killing domestic worker Pinki Sarkar, who went missing in October 2006.
As well as Ms Sarkar’s remains, police found nearly 70 bags stuffed with human remains in sewers in Nithari, a village in the state of Uttar Pradesh outside New Delhi.
The men were accused of killing and raping numerous children and women from the slums close to Pandher’s mansion – at the time dubbed the “house of horrors” – before dumping them in nearby drains.
Servant Koli had previously allegedly confessed to raping the corpses and eating human remains, but later retracted his statement.
Meanwhile, Pandher had said he was oblivious to serial killings going on inside his home in Nithari, saying he had
mobile phone records showing he was usually out on business when they happened.