A 23-year-old mechanic was arrested after the partially-burnt and decomposed body of a nine-year-old boy, who was kidnapped four days ago, was recovered by Mahabubabad police on Thursday morning.
Mahabubabad Superintendent of Police, N Koti Reddy, told reporters that Mandha Sagar, who was known to the family, had kidnapped Deekshith on Sunday evening to earn easy and quick money. He added that the boy was killed by strangulation even before the accused made his first ransom call demanding Rs 45 lakh.
Police are investigating further to ascertain the role of any other persons in the act.
According to the police, the boy’s parents — Ranith Reddy and Vasantha — approached the cops after they received a ransom call at around 9.15 pm on Sunday. The child went missing at around 5.40 pm on the same. Subsequently, a case of kidnapping was filed and a probe was initiated.
Sagar, the official said, also conducted a recce of the place and chose the time when Deekshith and his younger brother were playing outside their home in the evening. The accused lured the boy to a place where he knew no CCTV cameras were installed and took off with him on a bike with a fake number plate, he added.
Sagar drove away to a hillock at Kalaposalapally, around 5 km away from Krishna colony where the child lived.
“The initial thought was to earn quick money. He realised that the boy could identify him later as he was acquainted with the family and in the fear of getting caught, he killed Deekshith by strangulation within a couple of hours of kidnapping,” Reddy said. It was only after the boy’s death that the accused made a ransom call to his family.
Police have questioned 30 people, including a few family members, so far. “The investigation is not over. We are trying to find out if more people are involved,” he said.
Sagar made 14 ransom calls to the family ever since he abducted the boy, police said.
On being asked why police took three days or more to trace and nab the accused, the SP said that the accused was using app-based internet calls (Voice over Internet Protocol) due to which the delay occurred.
Ranith Reddy is a journalist and his wife Vasanta runs a private chit funds business in Mahabubabad.
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