NEW DELHI - Indian police said Monday they are investigating whether a man arrested for the murder and sexual assault of a six-year-old girl may have been a serial child killer after he confessed to 14 more crimes.
Ravinder Kumar made the confession after he was arrested in New Delhi on Thursday, Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police Vikramjeet Singh told AFP.
Singh said police questioned the 24-year-old labourer after discovering he had been detained in a separate assault case last year and released on bail.
"We specifically arrested Ravinder Kumar over the assault and murder of a six-year-old girl," he said.
"After we realised that he had previously been arrested in a similar case, we interrogated him... and he told us of at least 14 other cases." A police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said Kumar had confessed to the "assault and murder of 14 or 15 children over the last few years".
"We are in the process of ascertaining all his claims and separate teams are looking at every claim," the officer told AFP.
The case has drawn comparisons with the gruesome discovery in 2006 of the dismembered bodies of 19 people in sewage drains near a house in Noida, a satellite city of the Indian capital.
Many of the victims in that case - dubbed the "house of horrors" - were children abducted from the poor neighbourhood of Nithari nearby.
Parents of the victims later said police had not taken them seriously when they initially reported their children missing because they were poor.
Police arrested Kumar after finding his identity card at a construction site where they discovered the body of the six-year-old victim, who had gone missing last week.
Kumar, hooded and flanked by two police officers, told the NDTV news channel that he killed his victims after assaulting them while drunk.
"I lose control over my mind after consuming excessive alcohol... and must have assaulted and killed around 14 or 15 children," he said.
"I killed them to avoid getting detected." Police have sent teams to the areas where Kumar claimed to have committed the crimes, and have ordered a psychological profile.
But they said their investigations would take time.
"We have the evidence to link him to his present arrest, but it could be a long investigation process for other claims as he has given a broad time frame of his acts and also doesn't know the exact area where he committed those acts," Singh said.