The victim had gone missing from a slum in Wazirabad village on January 16, and was found dead at building under construction in Saraswati Kunj on January 24.
Gaurav Phogat, station house officer, Sushant Lok police station, who is investigating the case, said it took five days of intense questioning and combing of the slum to find an eyewitness.
A young girl from the slum had seen the victim boarding a black Skoda car with the accused. She was threatened by the accused while fleeing with the victim, but still mustered courage to tell her mother about the incident. The information became a crucial lead for the police.
The investigation team scanned a number of Facebook accounts to find the owner of the car, in which the victim was abducted.
From details of the car procured from Regional Transport Authority, police found that the vehicle was registered in the name of a Gurgaon-based businessman. However, they hit a road block in tracing him, as the vehicle was purchased on a rent deed, and the man had shifted from that residence.
Resorting to the cyber route again, police tracked all the profiles in the name of the car owner, and subsequently managed to track him. “I looked for the owner’s name on Facebook and located his office. I visited his office and was able to contact him,” said Phogat, adding that the car was in the custody of one Ejaz Ahmed, who worked as a driver for the owner.
After a 27-day long probe, the police finally rounded out the three accused— Ejaz Malik, 26, Mukhtar Ali, 30, and Jalil Ahmed, 22, all hailing from West Bengal. They were arrested from Sector 43 early on Monday.
The first accused to be picked up was Mukhtar Ali. On interrogation, he admitted to the crime, and revealed the name of his two accomplices, including the Skoda driver.
WHAT THEY REVEALED
Deepak Saharan, DCP (east), said that the trio was drug addicts. Mukhtar Ali, who worked as a ragpicker, knew the victim and her family too hailed from Murshidabad in West Bengal.
On January 16, they picked up the girl with an intention to rape her. They took the girl to three different places during the three days they incarcerated her for the act. “Our forensic teams are visiting the spots to collect evidence, so that we could ensure they are punished for the brutal crime,” the DCP said.
“The trio took the girl to Sector 43 slums, where they all raped her for three days, and gave no food to her. They had tied her hands and legs, and stuffed cloth in her mouth, so that she could not raise an alarm,” Phogat said.
After three days, they smothered her to death and kept the body in a box. They carried the box in the same car, and searched for a safe place to dump the body.
When police found her body in a room built on a vacant plot in Saraswati Kunj, Sector 53, on January 24, it was partially burnt. There was a fibre rope around the neck, her mouth was gagged, and there were several injury marks on the 10-year-old’s body.
The accused, after committing the crime, even came back and offered condolences to the family members. One of them was regularly in touch with the father to get updates on the investigation. He passed on the details to his friends, the police said.
Sushant Lok police had registered a case under Sections 363 and 366-A of the Indian Penal Code on January 16. Later, Sections 302 and 201 of the IPC and Section 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, were added in the FIR, Phogat said.