Nine members of a gang were arrested by the Madhya Pradesh Police had allegedly looted and killed 33 truck drivers and cleaners in various states since 2010, police said on Tuesday.
The state police had recently busted the inter-state gang which had been operational in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Odisha since 2010, a senior officer said.
"Madhya Pradesh Police has arrested nine persons for murdering truck drivers and cleaners," DIG, Bhopal, Dharmendra Choudhary told reporters.
The arrested gang members have so far "confessed" to have killed 33 truck drivers and cleaners in the last eight years with robbery as the motive.
"They used to sell off the stolen trucks in grey markets after killing the truck drivers," the DIG said.
Police have managed to crack most of the crimes while efforts are on to collect evidences in rest of the cases.
"We have dispatched police teams to various locations for collecting evidence," Mr Choudhary said.
The DIG said Jaykaran Prajapati, 30, and Adesh Khambra, 50, both arrested--are the kingpins of the gang.
Jaykaran Prajapati is a resident of Bhopal while Adesh Khambra belongs to Mandideep industrial town near Bhopal.
Explaining the modus operandi, the DIG said the gang members used to identify and befriend their target truck drivers and cleaners in their respective areas of operation.
"The accused would then offer drinks laced with sedatives to the truck drivers and cleaners. Once their targets were asleep, they used to kill them," he said.
The DIG said the Madhya Pradesh Police has informed their counterparts in other states about the arrests.
He said the accused sold parts of stolen trucks and other looted goods in various states, including Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra.
All the nine accused have been remanded in police custody till September 14, the officer said.
Police have so far recovered a truck, some iron bars, medicines, food items and other material from the accused, the police officer said.
Police have also seized a diary in which Prajapati and Khambra noted down the mobile numbers of those targeted by the gang, the DIG said.
The crimes were committed in Bhopal, Mandideep, Misrod, Bilkhiria, Hoshangabad and Guna in Madhya Pradesh, Nagpur in Maharashtra and Sambalpur in Odisha, police added.