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Father killed child for insurance

Four-year-old Ganesh Palodhi was not killed by kidnappers in December 2004. It was his father, Siddhartha, who strangled his adopted son and hid the body in a drain behind their house in Howrah’s Bauria.

The motive, said officers of the Criminal Investigative Department (CID) on Monday, was to claim his son’s life insurance.

The breakthrough followed an alleged confession by Siddhartha during a narco-analysis test in Bangalore on February 21 this year, more than two years after the murder. The investigators arrested Siddhartha in the city on Monday.

In a narco-analysis test, the accused is interrogated after being injected drugs to bring out the truth. The recording of Siddhartha’s test will be produced in court as evidence.

“He told the doctors that he had made his adopted son unconscious by offering him a spiked soft drink and then strangled him. Siddhartha also said that he murdered Ganesh to claim the amount insured against his name. He had even started the process of claiming the Rs 4 lakh insurance,” stated deputy inspector-general (operations), CID, Rajeev Kumar.

Ganesh disappeared on the morning of December 3, 2004, a bandh day, from his house. Siddhartha lodged a complaint with Bauria police station and claimed that he had paid Rs 72,300 as ransom.

Police found the boy’s decomposed body in a drain, about 50 metres from the house, on December 21.

The arrest was the first in the state with the help of narco-analysis, according to Kumar. “Siddhartha plotted a drama to establish that his son had been kidnapped for ransom. He blamed police for inaction and said Ganesh had been murdered even after the ransom was paid.”

Eleven people were arrested earlier in connection with the murder. “We could not establish the charges against the accused. So, we had not filed chargesheets against them,” said Kumar.

The deputy inspector-general added: “Besides, it is strange that Siddhartha received all the ransom calls. We came to know that he was caught by his wife trying to steal Rs 70,000 from her almirah, three months before the murder. Moreover, no kidnapper will ask for exactly Rs 72,300 as ransom.”

The report submitted by the doctors who conducted the narco-analysis states: “Palodhi left his home around 10 am on December 3, 2004, and returned after half-an-hour. He saw Ganesh riding a bicycle and took him inside a furniture shop. There, Siddhartha offered his son a bottle of soft drink, laced with a sedative. As soon as the child became unconscious, Siddhartha strangled him and kept the body behind the furniture. At night, he dumped the body in the drain.”

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