A technical surveillance team of the Ahmedabad Crime Branch arrested three persons on Friday in connection with the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in Surat, earlier this month. Police also seized a vehicle that might have been used to dump the victim's body, sources said.
While the prime accused, identified as Amar Singh who worked as a construction labourer in Surat, was arrested from Gangapur in Rajasthan, two of his associates were arrested from Surat city. All three are from Rajasthan, police said.
A case against unidentified persons under the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was registered after the mutilated body of an unidentified minor was recovered from beside the Hazira-Mumbai highway a few days ago.
Autopsy reports had suggested that the victim was confined for several days and tortured before being brutally raped and killed. The report showed 86 injuries on her body, including her private parts.
Police had launched a massive search operation for the accused and were working to determine the identity of the victim.
Earlier this week, a couple from Andhra Pradesh contacted the police, claiming the victim was their daughter and provided them with a photograph of their missing child.
Police said the photograph shows a tattoo on the girl's hand but the body recovered does not have any such markings. A DNA-test has been conducted to ascertain the truth.
But the arrests have shed new light on the victim's identity. Police said that an examination of CCTV footages and primary investigation suggest that the victim lived with her mother, who also worked as a construction labourer in Surat.
Police sources said the three accused were identified after closely examining CCTV footage and call records from all mobile towers in the area.
Though the arrests mark an important development in the case, police investigations are on to ascertain the identity and location of the victim's mother.
Sources said the victim continued to live with the three accused persons after her mother went missing. Police are to trying to locate the victim's mother for further leads.
"The primary accused was arrested from Rajasthan and two of his associates have been arrested from Surat city," police said, adding that a vehicle that was allegedly used to dump the victim's body on the highway has also been seized. The motive behind the heinous crime is yet to be established.
The author is a member of The NewsCart, a Bengaluru-based media startup.
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Updated Date: Apr 20, 2018 17:35:41 IST