Admitting "laxity" and "negligence" by his men, Uttar Pradesh police chief Bua Singh on Sunday ordered a high-level probe into the sexual abuse and serial killings of several children in Noida.
Singh has also ordered the suspension of five officers who were in charge of the police in the area close to Delhi where the horrendous crime took place over a period of two years.
"We have suspended two station officers and three sub-inspectors who were posted at the police outpost and police stations concerned while the present station officer has been transferred since he had been there for only about two months," the director general of police said in Lucknow.
"The probe will be carried out by an officer of the rank of additional director general, who has been asked to submit his report within a week," he said. "Once we have the report, action will follow against other police officials."
The Noida police have come under all round attack following the discovery of skeletons of children from a drain behind businessman Moninder Singh's house in Sector 31 of the upscale suburban town.
The skeletons are suspected to be of 38 children, mostly girls, who went missing while playing near a water tank at Nithari, a semi-rural village on the edges of Noida, over the past 21 months. The first kidnapping was reported in March 2005.
Moninder Singh and his domestic help Surendra Kohli alias Satish were arrested on Friday on charges of molesting and murdering children.
Bua Singh admitted his men had failed to investigate the crime properly. Parents of the victims, who all came from poor families, alleged that the Noida police were indifferent to their pleas for a thorough investigation.
"There is no denying that this was a case of gross laxity, negligence and failure on the part of some policemen who did not pay the desired attention to repeated reports of missing children from the area. Those found guilty of neglect will be severely punished," Bua Singh said.
He, however, felt that the media was undermining the efforts of the police by highlighting only their failures.
"The fact remains that if the police had eventually not acted, the killings would have continued," he pointed out.
"After all, it was on account of our electronic surveillance that we could track down the killer who was using a mobile belonging to one of the victims."
"What surprises me that even as body after body was being dumped in a drain running between the area and village, no one ever complained of the stench that was bound to be emanating from the place."
He denied that parents of some of the victims had alerted the police about the involvement of now arrested Surendra in the heinous crime.
"No one ever raised doubts about Surendra whom we arrested only because of our electronic surveillance."
About the possibility of the killings being a part of organ trading racket, Singh said: "We do not rule out anything. I am sure everything will be in place once the probe is complete."