An unassuming tailor has admitted murdering at least 33 lorry drivers across India in a spree of killings spanning almost a decade.
Adesh Khamra confessed to the crimes after being arrested near Bhopal in the state of Madhya Pradesh a fortnight ago, police say.
If true, the revelations would make the 48-year-old one of the most prolific serial killers in modern Indian history.
The murders are thought to have started in 2010, with dozens of truck drivers and their apprentices killed across central regions of the country in the ensuing years.
Police stumbled across Khamra’s name as they investigated a string of recent murders of truck drivers in Madhya Pradesh.
While he appeared not to be responsible for those killings, some of the seven men arrested in connection with the case told police they had helped him in robberies.
Khamra told police he would befriend drivers in roadside cafes and restaurants, slipping drugs into their food and waiting for them to fall asleep.
He would then reportedly take the trucks to isolated areas, strangling the drivers and their helpers and dumping the bodies in forests.
Khamra and his accomplices would then sell the vehicles and their goods, police investigators say.
Indian drivers often travel with assistants who help clean their trucks, change tires and perform other chores.
The news of Khamra’s arrest came as a shock to those who lived in the small town of Mandideep just outside Bhopal where he ran a tailoring business.
“He was a quiet man, well behaved,” one neighbour told the Times of India. “There is no way anyone will accept he has the blood of so many on his hands.”
Police said eight other people thought to have aided Khamra during the robberies had also been arrested as part of the investigation.
Additional reporting by AP
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