Police in western Uttar Pradesh's Kasganj district say they have uncovered a sensational case in which a man, believed to be dead, has been arrested for murdering his wife and children in 2018, burying their corpses at their home and then faking his death to get away with the gruesome crime.
The police say the accused, 34-year-old Rakesh, who worked as a pathologist in 2018 with a private laboratory in Greater Noida (near Delhi), carried out the murders over an affair with a woman who is also part of UP Police.
The accused, three of his family members and the woman have been arrested. The police say the accused's family helped at several stages of the crime; the accused's father is a retired policeman.
Gory visuals from a home in Greater Noida, taken on Wednesday, showed the police unearthing body parts from a pit inside the house. What seemed to be children's sandals caked in mud and gravel were among the items dug out.
"Rakesh's two children were aged 18 months and three years. He killed them and his wife in February 2018 ... and then buried the bodies in the house, covering the pit with cement. After the murder, he even filed a missing person's report, claiming his wife had taken his kids and left the house without any information," Rohan Pramod Botre, Kasganj police chief, said.
The crime took three years to solve.
Mr Botre said a few months after the disappearance of his family, Rakesh's father-in-law went to court and got a police case filed in Noida alleging kidnapping and dowry harassment.
The Noida police were investigating both the missing person's case and the case filed by the father-in-law, but could not find any major clues in either case.
"The accused then hit upon another plan to get the police off his back. The same year he and his girlfriend got together and murdered another person from his village in Kasganj - who resembled the accused," the Kasganj police chief said
"They decapitated him and cut off his hands, and burnt his head and hands. Rakesh then dressed the corpse in his own clothes and also left his identity cards on the body to try and prove this was his body," he added.
"We filed a murder case in Kasganj and got a DNA test done on this headless corpse . A month ago, we were informed this dead body was not of Rakesh... that is when we started investigating further."
It is not clear why it took so long for the DNA report to come out.
The evidence trail then led the cops to Rakesh, who was living in Haryana under the name 'Dilip Sharma' and had told his employers he was from eastern UP's Kushinagar district.
The Kasganj police say that because he was a pathologist, he knew how to destroy evidence, including any possible fingerprints.