Some relatives of the 12-year-old boy, who was found dead in Khadavli river on Monday, have claimed that his murder is a case of human sacrifice.
They have claimed that they shared this suspicion with the police, which led to the arrest of the boy’s stepmother, her sister and sister-in-law on Tuesday.
Lata Khanjode, the boy’s stepmother, her sister Varsha Jadhav, 25, and her sister-in-law Latika Jadhav, 30, have been remanded in police custody.
“All the three were produced in the Kalyan railway court and have been remanded in police custody for eight days, till July 30,” said A Rane, senior inspector, Kalyan Government Railway Police.
Devidas Padre, the boy’s maternal uncle, said, “When I visited Khanjode’s house, the neighbors told me she would regularly assault the boy. They also told me that on July 1, Lata bought a tub, and they had seen her carry it out of the house, covered with a cloth. This was the tub the body was found in. The murder is a case of human sacrifice.”
Padre said Khanjode would give the boy a bath every evening and then perform some prayers.
On July 2, Khanjode lodged a missing person complaint, claiming her stepson Daksha had gone missing at Asangaon railway station.
A case of kidnapping was registered at the Kalyan government railway police station and parallel investigation begun by Kalyan GRP and the Kasara police
Daksha’s father, Ramdas, is a labourer, and the family lives in Kasara. Ramdas was interrogated by the Kalyan GRP on Wednesday but he claims to know nothing of the matter, the police said.
On Monday, a fisherman from Khadavli spotted the body.
“The accused stuffed the boy’s body in the tub and covered it with clothes. She took it to the Khadavli river in a train, claiming it was a fish tub, and drowned it. We have recovered the tub and the rope with which the minor was strangulated,” said a police officer.