Seven-year-old Mansij and his five-year-old sister Yasvi would have been alive had it rained last Tuesday.
It was, after all, their absence from school due to unseasonable February rain, precisely a week before they were found murdered, that had kept them from the clutches of their abductors during the last weekend they lived.
"Usually, it was their mother Yogita who used to pick them up from school. On Tuesday, according to their classmates, someone whom they referred to as 'chacha' turned up instead. The kids bragged about the bike ride home which they would get with their uncle," said Rajender, one of the victims' relatives.
Inquiries made from school staff and the siblings' classmates, sources said, revealed that 'chacha' and one of his friends had last surfaced to pick them up on the previous Saturday too. But they didn't know that the siblings weren't attending school that day.
Five hours later, when their father Manoj Kumar Chahar, a sales executive at a share brokerage firm in Connaught Place, was paying one of his clients a visit, he received a phone call from his wife Yogita.
"I was on a sales call when I was told that my children had been kidnapped," Manoj said.
"From that call onward, the kidnappers called every day. But the police just told us to keep the matter secret keeping their safety in mind even as they were unable to do anything about it themselves," he said.
Chahar rushed to the Mandawali police station and registered a written complaint, naming his landlord's son Vivek, a local cable operator with whom he had had a fight recently and one of his wife's distant relatives.
Yogita joined him soon and told the police that she was locked inside her house before she was supposed to go and fetch her children from school in the afternoon.
"The family, which has been residing on rent in the area for the past year and a half, had recently procured around Rs. 30 lakh which they intended to use to buy a house of their own. This amount seems to have triggered the abduction bid," said an officer.