The four decomposed bodies found in an abandoned rice mill are believed to be of children of migrant labourers who went missing two months ago, officials in Muktsar said as a team of forensic experts from Chandigarh Wednesday started probing the macabre discovery.
The half burnt, highly decomposed bodies were recovered on Tuesday evening from the rice mill belonging to senior Congress leader and former MP Jagmeet Singh Brar.
The bodies were identified by labourers living near the rice mill, officials at the site said.
According to district police chief K Nageshwar Rao, the children - aged between 9 and 13 years - could be the four who went missing from Muktsar, 200 km from the state capital Chandigarh, on Nov 12 last year.
The bodies would be taken for post-mortem Wednesday afternoon, and would be left untouched till then as police look for any evidence that the killers might have left behind.
Police stumbled on the grisly discovery when a team stationed itself in another building in complex in preparation for the Maghi religious festival held in the area. They detected a foul smell from one of the warehouses and informed senior police officials.
Brar, a member of the Congress' national Congress Working Committee (CWC), said he was ready for any probe, including by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), into the unfortunate killing of the children.
He claimed that the rice mill, which he had been leasing out to contractors earlier, was lying unused for over five years.
Brar, a known baiter of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, despite both belonging to the Congress, ruled out political rivalry behind the incident.
"I don't think any political rival could stoop to such low levels to get back at me. A thorough probe must be done in this matter to know the truth. I am ready to cooperate with any probe agency," Brar said.
Elections to 117 assembly seats in Punjab are to be held Feb 13 and the issue of recovery of bodies from Brar's property has already assumed political overtones.
Shiromani Akali Dal general secretary Sukhbir Singh Badal has demanded a CBI probe into the matter.
The sensational recovery has come at a time when the discovery of the remains of at least 20 children in Nithari village of Noida in Uttar Pradesh is still fresh. The main accused in those killings, Moninder Singh Pandher, belongs to Punjab.