The 20-year-old man arrested on Monday afternoon for allegedly raping and murdering a three-year-old girl in Gurgaon last week has admitted that the child was his eighth victim, and that he has committed similar crimes in Delhi, Gurgaon, Gwalior and Jhansi in the past, said police.
“The accused would target young girls who came to eat at bhandaaras or collect prashad at temples and were unaccompanied by adults. After sexually assaulting them, he would murder them,” said a senior police officer.
“His earlier victims seem to have been between the ages of three and eight and hailed from poor families. He had been committing these offences for the last two years, but does not appear to have been arrested before,” he added.
Of the earlier incidents, police said two were committed in Gurgaon in November 2016 and January 2017 respectively. In the former, the accused allegedly abducted a girl who had come to eat at the bhandaara at a temple. Police said he sexually assaulted her before throwing her body in some bushes behind Omaxe mall.
In the second incident, police said he has confessed to luring a child who had come to a bhandaara in the city, sexually assaulting her near Rajiv Chowk and murdering her. Her body had been found in a sewer near the busy junction 20 days later.
“He carried out three such crimes in Delhi, and one each in Jhansi and Gwalior. We are still gathering information about those and have contacted the police personnel in the states for further details,” said the DCP.
The accused, who hails from Uttar Pradesh’s Mahoba district, had been arrested from Jhansi on Monday afternoon, eight days after he abducted the three-year-old girl while on a visit to a slum where his sister lived. The girl lived there as well.
Her body had been found a day later in a vacant room in the city, with the autopsy confirming sexual assault and doctors saying they had found a “10-cm-long wooden stick” inside her private parts.
The cause of death had been a “head injury” and “internal bleeding”, they said.
“Regarding the incident, he has confessed and stated that he beat the child to death with a brick while sexually assaulting her because she was screaming,” said Subhash Boken, PRO of Gurgaon police.
According to police, although the accused had remained unidentified in the earlier two cases registered in Gurgaon, two factors gave him away after his latest assault — he had been identified by other children in the slum cluster with whom the girl had been playing when she was lured away; and a CCTV camera outside a building near the room where he assaulted the child, in which his face was “partially visible”.
“After the incident, he had spent the night at Nehru Park in Gurgaon and took a train to New Delhi Railway Station the next morning. He spent a day sleeping under Nizamuddin bridge before taking a train to Jhansi, from where he was arrested on Monday,” said the police officer.
The accused was produced in court on Tuesday and remanded in eight-day police custody.