An eight-year-old girl was kidnapped, raped and murdered allegedly by her next door neighbour in Kali Basti near Uttam Nagar on Tuesday night.
The girl’s body was found on Thursday morning buried under mud near a pond, about 150 metres from her home. Her parents had brought her to Delhi from their home town in Uttar Pradesh’s Firozabad a few weeks ago for getting her admitted to a school, police said.
The accused was arrested later. He is said to be a distant relative of the girl. The man was handed over to the police by the local residents who suspected him. The girl had gone missing on Tuesday around 5.30pm. The police, however, failed to establish his role behind her disappearance and let him off on Wednesday morning.
The accused had managed to hoodwink the police and dodged grilling by claiming to be a minor. To support his claim, he even produced a fake school admission paper, which showed that he was born in 2003.
The 18-year-old was caught again on Thursday soon after the girl’s body was found by some children when they were playing near the pond.
This time the local residents showed the police the Aadhar Card of the accused, which gives his year of birth as 1997. A local boy claimed he had seen him with the girl around 6pm, almost half-an-hour after she went missing.
The accused has told the police that he was drunk when he lured the girl to an isolated place near the pond and sexually assaulted her.
“When she screamed for help and pleaded with him to spare her, he strangulated her. He feared that the girl would inform her parents and he would be arrested. After killing the girl, the accused buried her body in the mud,” said a senior police officer.
Police suspect that the girl was alive when she was buried. “Prima facie, it appears that she died of drowning or asphyxia. Her autopsy report, which is awaited, will confirm the exact cause of death,” the officer said.
Local residents said the teenager was with them when they went looking for the girl. They said he kept them away from the spot where the body was later found.
Ram Shankar, a local shopkeeper, claimed the accused had bought two packets of biscuits from his shop to lure the girl away to the isolated spot.
On Thursday afternoon, over a hundred people, including family members, relatives, and neighbours of the girl, gathered outside the Uttam Nagar police station and shouted slogans against the police for letting off the accused.
The protesters set the accused’s motorcycle ablaze and damaged the gates of the police station.