Even as police in Uttar Pradesh sent teams to Punjab to raid the house of a businessman accused of conniving with his domestic help in the gruesome sexual abuse and murder of several children in Noida, many locals believe the killings could be part of a large organ trading racket.
A senior police official said: "Parents of some missing children in Noida say the victims could have been used for extraction of kidneys, which is much in demand in the contraband human organ trading racket."
The locals have also tried to draw the attention of the authorities to the presence of a neighbourhood doctor who had been arrested in connection with an organ sale racket a few months ago.
Police in Noida found 16 human skulls and the skeletal remains of children as well as torn bits of clothing from a drain behind a house in Noida's Sector 31 that belongs to a businessman from Punjab, Sardar Mohinder Singh Pandhera.
Pandhera and his domestic help Surendra Kohli, alias Satish, were arrested on Friday on charges of sexually abusing and killing children. Police say 38 children went missing from Nithari village, adjacent to the Noida house, in almost two years.
The doctor, according to reports, was living in a house adjacent to the Sector 31 bungalow where Surendra was engaged as a guard for the past two years. The two houses were reportedly connected through a backyard passage.
Noida senior superintendent of police RKS Rathore told: "We have recovered 16 skulls and human bones from several gunny bags fished out of the dirt in the deep drain behind the residence."
"While Surendra initially confessed to killing six minor girls and two boys, sustained interrogation of his employer Pandhera led to disclosures of the rape and killing of grown up girls too," the police chief said.
"We have sufficient reason to believe in Pandhera's involvement in the heinous crime and hope to get some more vital clues soon," he said.
Police teams have been sent to Ludhiana to interrogate other members of Pandhera's family including his wife. His farmhouse near Chandigarh has been raided in search of other missing girls and boys.
Police believe the two were psychopathic serial killers who would lure children into the house, sexually abuse and strangle them and later dump the bodies in a drain behind the house.