KAKINADA: Two days after the abduction of six-year-old Surada Deepthi Sri Ishani from her school at Pastorpeta on the outskirts of Kakinada in East Godavari district, the police started a massive search in the local Upputeru (salt canal) after the girl's stepmother reportedly told the investigators that she killed the girl and dumped her body in the canal.
Police have engaged the services of Kakinada-based Dharmadi Satyam, who had recently retrieved the capsized Royal Vashista boat from river Godavari waters to fish out the body.
Deepthi was abducted by a woman from her school on Friday between 1 pm to 1.30 pm and her father lodged a complaint late in the night after failing to find her near the school.
Investigating into the case with the help of CCTV footages and also after inquiring with the inmates of an old age home near the school, police came to the conclusion that a woman wearing a scarf took away the girl from the school.
The woman was found running with the girl in some of the CCTV recordings and later left on a bike driven by a man.
Meanwhile, probing into the case, police came to know that Deepthi's mother passed away three years back due to illness and her father Syam Kumar was married again to Santhi Kumari. According to family members, Santhi Kumari used to ill-treat Deepthi following which Syam Kumar shifted the child to his parent's house at Pagadalapeta.
According to police, Syam Kumar was giving some money to his parents for the maintenance of Deepthi and Santhi Kumari was opposed to it. This led to disputes between the couple.
"Santhi Kumari developed a grudge against Deepthi and is said to have discussed her plans to eliminate the girl with some of her close relatives and executed the plan,'' police said.
Police, however, said he woman is giving contradictory versions. While on one hand, she is claiming that she killed the girl and threw the body in a salt canal, on the other hand, she told police that Deepthi was left at a nearby dump yard. Police have simultaneously launched a search for the girl at the residences of the woman and other places.
Meanwhile, 8 police teams have taken up massive search operations in the canal near Jagannayakpur and by afternoon as they found it difficult to trace the body, they have roped in the services of Dharmadi Satyam. Eight members of Dharmadi Satyam team joined the search but have to call the operations in the evening.
The teams are searching for the girl's body in the canal till the downstream of the Indrapalem bridge. Kakinada DSP V Bheema Rao said the search will resume on Monday morning.