In a shocking incident, a four-year-old girl was allegedly gangraped, brutally killed and buried in a nullah by the accused in Bhayander area, police said.

Three persons have been arrested in this regard. They were today remanded in police custody by a local court.

On January 9, the child's parents had filed a complaint with Navghar police that the child was kidnapped by some unknown person from near their house while she was playing, SP (rural) Mahesh Patil told reporters yesterday.

Source: b'Representational image / Source: Reuters'

"On January 12 evening, the body of the missing girl was found buried in a nullah near Azad Nagar slum area in Bhayander township of Thane district. The police got to know that one of the persons acquainted with the family had committed the crime," he said.

The 24-year-old prime accused, who was known to the victim's family, during interrogation admitted that he had raped and killed the girl, police said.

The accused allegedly took the victim to Azad Nagar, raped her and then gagged her to death. As per the postmortem report, wound marks were found on the child's head, police had earlier said.

A cat had nibbled the body and the child's arm was spotted at the pit in the nullah by some locals who informed police.

The body was exhumed on January 12.

Source: b'Source: Flickr'

Police today said that after committing the offence and burying the child's body in the pit dug by them in the nullah, the accused had dinner at a hotel in the locality.

Three of the accused were arrested on Friday and produced today before a local court which remanded them in police custody till January 24, Navghar's Senior Police Inspector Srikant Padule said.

According to police, the victim's family and the accused had no dispute.

Padule also said the main accused developed closeness with the child's family in the last few months to gain their confidence.

Source: b'Representational image / Source: Reuters'

A manhunt has been launched to nab the fourth accused, who is suspected to have fled Maharashtra, police said.

Initially, the case was registered under IPC section 363 (kidnapping), but now the accused have been booked under IPC sections 302 (murder) and 376(D) (gangrape) and also under sections 4 and 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, they said.

(Feature image is for representational purpose only / Source: Reuters)