A torn foot mat used to dispose of the body of a four-year-old girl on Ring Road in Pantharapalya gave the police the crucial lead to track down the culprits.

The child was found dead in Devaragudda near the Ring Road, off Mysore Road, on January 19. The police had only the foot mat, normally used in vehicles, found near the scene of crime as a lead.

After learning that it is used only in Ape model goods vehicles, the police began the task of verifying the thousands of such vehicles plying in the West Division. Their efforts paid off when they homed in on two men known to the family. The police verified their location through the mobile towers on the day the body was found. It matched and Chetan (25) and his friend Umesh (26) confessed under interrogation. While Chetan was a family friend of the girl’s family, Umesh was a tenant. They needed money to buy a tarpaulin for the vehicle. They learnt that the child, Harshika’s, father had got Rs. 2 lakh after selling land in his hometown and hatched the plan to kidnap the child for ransom.

On January 17, Chetan lured out Harshika saying he would show her an elephant and handed her over to Umesh who took her in the vehicle and gagged her with a cloth. However, the duo could not muster up courage to make the ransom call for two days. By then the child had died of asphyxiation. They then threw the body at an isolated place on Ring Road but forgot to retrieve the foot mat, Jnanabharati Police Inspector B. Balraj said.

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