On Sunday evening, nine-year-old Dikshith stepped out of his house to play with his friends out on the street. When he did not return home for hours, his parents, Ranjith Reddy and Vasantha, were informed by his playmates that a stranger had picked their son up on a bike. The parents, based out of Mahabudabad in Telangana, then began to receive ransom calls from the abductor. For three days, they anxiously tried to look for their son with the help of the police, while trying to negotiate with the man who claimed to have the child with him. Their hopes of seeing their son return home ended on Thursday morning, when the police found the childâs charred body.
According to Mahabubabad police, Dikshith had been kidnapped by a man named Sagar, who was well acquainted with the boy. Based on the initial confession of the accused, Mahabubabad SP (Superintendent of Police) N Koti Reddy said that Sagar had kidnapped the boy to demand ransom money from his parents. But he soon realised that he hadnât thought the whole plan through, and that the boy would now identify him as the culprit if he allowed him to return home safely, SP Koti Reddy told reporters.
Dikshith, who was in class 4, was the elder son of Vasantha and Ranjith Reddy, a TV reporter. Addressing the media on Thursday afternoon, soon after the childâs body was discovered, the SP shared the details of the events that took place since the boy went missing on Sunday evening, around 6 pm, from his residence in Krishna colony of Mahabubabad town in Telangana.
âAround 9.15 pm on the same day, the parents received a call from a man saying their child had been kidnapped, and asking them to arrange the ransom money,â SP Koti Reddy said. The accused demanded Rs 45 lakh from the parents in exchange for releasing their son.
Police said that Sagar has now confessed that he had already strangulated and killed Dikshith by then. âAbout an hour after taking Dikshith away, he (Sagar) found it difficult to deal with him, as the boy is very active. He started rethinking his plan, as the boy could identify him if he remained alive. He then strangled the boy and killed him,â police said.
The accused had, however, planned other aspects of the abduction carefully, according to the police. A resident of Shanigapuram village in Mahabubabad mandal, Sagar is a mechanic who runs an automobile repair shop. He lived close to Ranjithâs motherâs house in the village, and was familiar with Dikshith as the boy would often visit his grandmother.
He had arrived on his bike to Ranjithâs house on Sunday, having done a recce and having identified the streets with CCTV cameras in order to avoid them, police said. âSoon after Dikshith came out of the house during his regular play time, Sagar asked to sit on his bike, saying âLetâs go out, I have some workâ. The boy told his friends that âannaâ has called so he would go along and return soon. He didnât seem worried as he was familiar with Sagar,â the SP said.
Sagar then took the boy to a remote area where he soon killed him.
As he had covered his tracks by avoiding most CCTV cameras, and making the ransom calls over the internet, it took longer to track him, police said. âWe wish we had found the boy alive, he had killed him within 1-2 hours so we were helpless,â SP Koti Reddy said. He added that the investigation in the case is ongoing, but as of now, Sagar has claimed that he had operated alone in kidnapping and killing the boy.
Denying rumours that the accused in the case was killed in a police encounter, the SP said that the police would build up scientific evidence and the case will go on trial soon. âWe are seeing sensational cases in the state in recent times. In such a sensational case, we will carry out the investigation properly, establish all evidence and go to trial soon and ensure conviction. We will attempt to ensure the accused is given the death penalty,â the SP said.
Watch: Mahabubabad SP Koti Reddy shares details of the investigation