Unnao: One man has been arrested and a minor detained for allegedly poisoning three teenage cousins in the Babuhara village of Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, Wednesday, police said at a press conference Friday.
Two of the cousins died the same day while the third is fighting for her life at a Kanpur hospital.
Inspector General (Lucknow Range) Laxmi Singh identified the adult arrested as Vinay, describing the motive as his “one-sided” love for one of the cousins. The duo, she said, has confessed to the crime.
The family of the girls welcomed the arrest but have sought a CBI inquiry into the matter.
Addressing the press conference, Singh said Vinay, a “resident of an adjacent village (Pathakpur), is the mastermind of this case”. “It’s a one-sided love story,” she added, saying the accused only meant to kill one of the girls.
Vinay’s farm, she said, is adjacent to the field owned by the girls’ family, where they were found.
According to police, Vinay and one of the cousins “used to talk in the field”. “Vinay has confessed that, during the lockdown, he became friends with one of the girls,” Singh said.
Vinay, she added, “proposed to the girl recently but she refused”.
“He used to pressure her. On Wednesday, when they met in the field, Vinay offered her namkeen and water. He laced the water with pesticides. All the girls drank the water and fell unconscious,” she said.
“Vinay wanted to kill just one girl but her sisters drank water from the same bottle. Vinay and his accomplice fled after foam started coming out from the girls’ mouths.”
Police, she said, discovered a cigarette butt and empty water bottle at the site where the girls were found. His mobile phone location, she added, placed him in the field at the time of the crime. The minor’s involvement, she added, was discovered during the subsequent investigation.
Police in Unnao had filed an FIR in the case Thursday, based on a complaint filed by the father of one of the girls. They had said the autopsy had shown no external injury on the girls — a point Singh reiterated Friday.
“The post-mortem report states no ante-mortem (before death) injuries,” she said. Asked about reports that the girls were found tied, she said the father’s complaint didn’t say anything to this effect. “The FIR was registered on the basis of the complaint,” she added.
The autopsy report, according to police, hasn’t found signs of sexual assault.
‘We demand CBI inquiry’
Aged 13, 14 and 17, the three girls had gone to collect fodder Wednesday afternoon, and their family sensed something amiss when they failed to return by evening.
The family, which cremated the two girls Friday, has sought a CBI probe into the crime. “Meri beti ke saath galat kaam hua hai (wrong things have happened to my daughter),” said the mother of one of the girls, speaking to ThePrint earlier in the day.
“Galey ko dupatta tha (her neck was tied with a dupatta). We need a higher inquiry in this matter. We had no enmity with anyone,” she said, before the two girls were cremated.
After the arrest, she added, “We got to know about the arrest through the media. Right now, we are not in the right condition to say anything. If police have arrested anyone, then it’s a good step, but justice should be done with us.”
The brother of the hospitalised girl said “we still demand a CBI inquiry”. “We also demand that our sister, who is currently at a hospital in Kanpur, should be treated well. Her condition is still serious,” he added.