The Gorai teenager who allegedly abducted and killed his eight-year-old cousin on Sunday is an aviation geek and an electronics whiz-kid, police said.
Investigators found a complex set up of electronically-powered working models of aircraft inside the teenager’s Gorai home. “The accused has mounted several airplane models inside the house. All of these are connected by an electronic circuit,” a senior police official said.
“The apparatus is remote-controlled, and is a commendable piece of intelligence.”
The official said the boy wanted to be an engineer and, over the past few months, had surreptitiously withdrawn Rs50,000 from his father’s account to build this model. To replace this money, the teenager kidnapped his cousin. He asked for Rs1 lakh as ransom, and planned to use the rest of the money to buy more hardware for his project.
However, eight-year-old Dheeraj Pandit started shouting when his cousin took him to his residence by force. There, the teenager strangulated him with a necktie the child was wearing. Confirming he was dead, the teen bundled Dheeraj’s body in a box, sprayed phenyl to mask the odour and kept it in his room overnight.
The next morning, the accused wrapped the body in a gunny bag and dumped it in a nullah nearby. The teenager later told police he had picked up the kidnap-and-murder sequence from a popular crime drama on television.
Dheeraj’s father, Shivkumar, is a coconut vendor. He has three brothers who live nearby. The teenager held for murdering Dheeraj is one of Sivkumar’s nephews.
Police said Dheeraj was last seen at around 1pm on Sunday, when he was out playing cards with his friends. “When I returned for lunch at 2pm, I could not spot Dheeraj and started looking for him. Eventually, late on Sunday, I filed a missing person’s complaint,” Shivkumar said. “Even on Monday, there was no trace of Dheeraj.”
On Tuesday, Shivkumar received a ransom note, which threatened that Dheeraj would be killed if the money was not paid, said Mahesh Patil, zonal deputy commissioner of police. The sheet looked like it had been torn from a school fullscape book, he added. Police then started questioning everyone Shivkumar knew, including his brothers’ families.
While leafing through a notebook that belonged to the accused, investigators came across a half-torn page. The rest of the macabre story was pieced together in no time.