Two of the men arrested for allegedly raping and murdering two cousins whose bodies were found hanging from a tree in Badaun district, Uttar Pradesh, have confessed to the crime, police said on Sunday.
Police have arrested five main accused, including two policemen, in connection with the crime in Katra village. Two unidentified accused are absconding.
Amid a raging controversy over the incident, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Sunday turned the heat on the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) over the rising crime rate in the state, demanding the imposition of President's rule in UP.
A day after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi met the family members of the girls, Mayawati reached Katra, alleging the SP government was perpetrating a "jungle raj" and there were attempts to put the case on the back-burner.
Facing outrage over the Badaun incident, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had on Saturday recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the gang-rape and murder of the two Dalit girls.
Local SP parliamentarian Dharmendra Yadav, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's nephew, also visited Katra on Sunday.
He faced the anger of the inconsolable parents, who have alleged that the police did not take prompt action in the case because of their caste.
Joining the group of politicians visiting Badaun, Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan is expected to turn up on Monday.
The two cousins, aged 14 and 15, went missing from their home last Tuesday and were found hanging from a mango tree the next day — leading to nationwide outrage and severe criticism of the SP government and local police.
On her visit to Badaun, Mayawati announced Rs 5 lakh each to the victims' kin from the party fund, claiming that though they had refused the government compensation, they would accept her assistance.
Calling the crime "more gruesome" than the Delhi gang-rape, the father of one of the girls had rejected the government's offer of financial assistance and demanded public hanging of the culprits.
"The family members told me that the local MP came this morning and offered compensation and all help, but they refused. They told that whatever I will give them, they will accept gladly," the BSP chief said after meeting the family.
Taking credit for the decision to rope in the CBI, Mayawati said, "After I got to know that the state government was delaying action, I sent my party's national general secretary Naseemuddin Siddiqui to the village and held a press conference."
"The outcome of my decision was that the state government decided for a CBI inquiry into the matter."
Alleging there was complete "jungle raj" in the state, she threatened that if "atrocities" were committed on the people in the future, she would stage a sit-in protest.
Mayawati also demanded the imposition of President's rule in the state and said the Centre should also take an initiative in this direction.
"Otherwise the people of the state would not forgive the BJP along with the SP."
Meanwhile, police asserted they were in the process of collecting "concrete" evidence to nail the culprits in court.
Those already arrested in connection with the case are brothers Pappu, Awadesh and Urvesh Yadav, and constables Sarvesh Yadav and Chatrapal Singh. Both policemen have been sacked.
"Two of the accused… have confessed to their crime during interrogation," superintendent of police Atul Saxena told PTI, but refused to identify them.
He said that in such cases the accused usually resile from their statements in court and so they will ensure that there was evidence which can stand judicial scrutiny.