The accused was arrested last night based on CCTV footage, police said.
Kerala Police today posted an apology after an overnight search for a missing five-year-old girl ended with the recovery of her body from a dump site in the state's Ernakulam district.
The girl was sexually assaulted and strangled to death after being kidnapped by a man who had moved to their building a few days ago, officials said.
"Sorry daughter," Kerala Police said in a tweet.
"Our efforts to bring her alive to her parents were unsuccessful. The suspect who kidnapped the child was arrested," read the post in Malayalam.
The accused was arrested last night based on CCTV footage, but interrogation was delayed since he was in an intoxicated, said police. Meanwhile, a massive search operation continued overnight with social media being flooded with information .
The opposition Congress alleged lapses on part of the state police in tracing the child. Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, V D Satheesan, said the police failed to act despite knowing that the accused had kidnapped the girl.
However, the police rejected the charges of delay on behalf of the investigators.
"The girl went missing around 3 pm and she was sexually assaulted and killed by 5:30 pm. The parents lodged a complaint around 7:10 pm. Based on this, an FIR was registered by 8 pm and the accused was arrested by 9:30 pm. But he was too inebriated to answer any question that night. It's unfortunate that the police are being accused of a delay," he told NDTV.
Kerala Congress chief K Sudhakaran has also sought financial assistance for the girl's family from the state government.