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Three people were arrested on Tuesday after the body of a 16-year-old boy, who was allegedly abducted the previous day, was recovered from the house of his former tutor’s boyfriend in Kanpur, police said.
According to the police, Kushagra Kanodia, a class 10 student, went missing after he left for his coaching centre around 4.30pm on Monday. Hours later, his family members received a letter demanding ₹30 lakh ransom, following which a complaint was registered at the Raipurwa police station.
During the investigation, the boy’s body was found at the house of his former tutor’s boyfriend in Fazalganj area on Tuesday morning, a senior police officer said.
“The teacher Rachita Vats (23), her boyfriend Prabhat Shukla (25), and their aide Shivam Gupta alias Aryan (25) were arrested for the abduction and murder,” Kanpur joint commissioner of police (law and order) Anand Prakash Tiwari said, adding that prima facie it appeared the plot to kidnap and murder the 16-year-old was hatched by Shukla.
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The police have recovered the jute rope allegedly used by the accused to strangulate the boy, the JCP said. “The accused will be produced before the court and the police will seek their custody remand for interrogation.”
The officer further said that the police pieced together the sequence of crime — Kanodia being abducted, his confinement in a room where he was murdered, his scooter being abandoned at some random location and a ransom letter being dropped at his Acharya Nagar residence — using CCTV footages obtained from various locations.
In one of the footages, Vats was seen speaking to the boy, whom she home tutored from class 7 to 9, near Jarib Chowki. Further investigations revealed that she intercepted the boy at a busy crossing and asked him to drop her off at the house of Pratap Shukla, with won she was in a live-in relationship for the past six months, the JCP said.
“The footage around Shukla’s house showed that the boy followed the teacher and Shukla inside the house around 4.45pm. Soon after, Shukla came out and locked the main door of his house and left with his aide Shivam,” the officer said. “We believe the boy was murdered soon after he went inside the house. It may have happened between 4.45pm and 5.15pm.”
Later, Prabhat left the boy’s scooter near a club on GT Road. He also allegedly went on his two-wheeler to the boy’s house to drop the ransom note, police said. “Prabhat and others tampered with the registration number [of the motorcycle] in a way that it was not captured by a CCTV camera,” DCP (Central) Pramod Kumar said.
The boy, whose father Manish Kanodia runs a textile business in Surat in Gujarat, was staying with his grandfather Sanjay Kanodia, also a textile businessman, in Kanpur, police said.
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A case under sections 302 (murder), 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered against the three accused.
Vats was taken into custody on Monday night while Shukla and his friend Gupta were arrested on Tuesday morning after Kushagra’s body was found, police said.
Prabhat, the son of a home guard, is currently jobless, Vats works as a home tutor while Gupta works in a canteen of LLR hospital.
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