Mumbai: Missing toddler's body recovered from backpack after six days

A body of three-and-a-half-year-old boy was found behind the Sudhanshu Maharaj Ashram along Ghodbunder Road in Mira Road on Sunday morning. It was stuffed inside a backpack.

Hitesh’s body was recovered from a backpack that was dumped behind an ashram along the Ghodbunder Road
Hitesh’s body was recovered from a backpack that was dumped behind an ashram along the Ghodbunder Road

According to sources, a few people inside the ashram immediately informed the local police upon spotting the backpack that appeared to be dumped suspiciously behind the ashram.

To the horror of the onlookers present at the site, cops pulled out a toddler’s body from the backpack. The deceased was later identified as Vikas Chaudhari also known as Hitesh.

A resident of Kajupada, Hitesh resided with his parents and grandmother. Prima facie investigation revealed that the boy had been missing since last Tuesday from outside his residence where he was last seen playing with his friends. A missing person’s complaint was registered at the Kashimira police station by his grandmother Leelabai, following which the cops filed a case of kidnapping against unknown persons.

Leelabai said, “Since the day Hitesh went missing, we’ve been visiting the police station daily. However, the police never gave us any satisfactory answer. We’ve lost our boy and the cops are responsible for it.”

Cop speak
Inspector Anil Kadam from Kashimira police station said, “After Hitesh’s family lodged a missing person’s complaint, we searched for him at various location. After his body was found, the family pointed fingers at their tenant Baba Saheb Gautam Vakle. Based on their complaint, Vakle was arrested and booked under Sections 363, 302, and 201 of the IPC. He was produced in the local court and has been remanded in seven-day police custody. A driver by profession, Vakle and his parents reside in a rented apartment owned by Leelabai. He was arrested after Leelabai recorded her statement. She claimed that Vakle was sitting near the spot where Hitesh was playing and went missing for hours following her grandson’s disappearance.” Cops are also probing whether the minor was sexually assaulted and are awaiting the autopsy report.

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