With the arrest of the stepfather -- who initially misled the probe and even took part in the last rites -- the police on Sunday claimed to have cracked the rape and murder of a three-year-old girl whose body was found in the bushes in Sector 5, Panchkula, on Saturday night.
A resident of Mauli Jagran, tailor Ikraam, 32, had an eight-year-old son and four-year-old daughter from his first marriage with Shabbo, who died a few years ago. Then he married Phool about a month and a half ago. Phool, whose first husband had committed suicide, had two daughters - one is the victim and the other a four-year-old -- from her earlier marriage. Commissioner of police, Ambala-Panchkula, Rajbir Deswal told the media at a press conference that Ikraam "wanted to teach Phool a lesson" for allegedly mistreating his children from his first wife. Ikraam, a native of Bijnore (UP) who had been living on rent at Mauli Jagran, has reportedly claimed that she made them run chores like lifting night soil.
Deswal added that the police zeroed in on Ikraam as he was trying to fool them, "but confessed during interrogation". Not only did Ikraam initially file a missing report for the child, but even took her body on Sunday morning and took part in the cremation. Police cracked the case using his mobile phone location, as he had falsely claimed he was at work when the crime was committed.
Ikraam allegedly worked with a plan. Around 8am, he lifted the girl to go and get her a snack. First he took her to Zirakpur in an autorickshaw, but could not find any secluded place to commit rape. Then he went to Rajpura where he went to a saloon for a shave.
After that he reached near Suraj Theatre in Panchkula, in the bushes he allegedly committed rape and then used her shirt to strangulate her.
Then he started looking for space to dump the body. He took an autorickshaw to reach near Hotel Bella Vista roundabout in Sector 5. He told the auto driver that his daughter was not well and he was going to get her treatment. There, he allegedly dumped the body behind the Hafed building.
Then, he went to the Mauli Jagran police post and reported that his daughter was missing.
Deswal said Ikraam had been telling the cops the whole day that he was at work. But the lie was caught when his mobile phone tower location came out to be in Zirakpur, Rajpura and Panchkula at the time of the crime.
Ikraam would be produced before the district courts on Monday.
"We have added the charge of rape, besides murder," said SHO inspector Mukesh Kumar. Sources said rape was confirmed in the post-mortem besides through Ikraam's alleged confession.