A 24-year-old youth arrested by Delhi Police for allegedly raping and killing a six-year-old has now turned out to be a serial offender as he has reportedly confessed to have sexually abused and murdered 15 others since 2009 in parts of Delhi and western Uttar Pradesh.

The accused, Ravinder Kumar, told the police that he was incited by film Maa, wherein an actor portrays the character of serial rapist and murderer whose victims are children, to commit the crime repeatedly, according to a Hindustan Times report.

The police had arrested Kumar on Friday for allegedly raping and murdering a minor, but his confessions during the interrogation revealed that the man, a bus cleaner by profession, had been committing the crime since 2009.

Kumar reportedly told the police that he would lure the children with toffee, kidnap them and take them to an isolated area, where he would rape them before strangling to death. He would either dump the bodies into drains or in fields or bury it.

Kumar was arrested for a similar crime he had allegedly committed with a minor boy last year, but was set free on bail, the police said.

"He abducted the boy near his house after luring him with money. He escaped after strangling the boy and slitting his throat, assuming that he the died. However, the child was saved as cops found him bleeding in the septic tank of an under-construction building in Begampur. Kumar was subsequently arrested. In the same year, he targeted a three-year-old girl in Samaipur Badli," The Times of India quoted a senior police officer as saying.

He is also found to be involved in other cases, including the assault and murder of a girl in Kanjhawala in 2011, another in 2010 in Mundka and of a boy in Vijay Vihar in 2009. Kumar is said to have allegedly committed similar crimes in his native place Badaun in Uttar Pradesh.

A special police team has been formed to verify the details of his claims and investigate the matter, DCP (outer) Vikramjeet Singh said.

"We are verifying all his claims. The connected FIRs and families are being identified. He has confessed to having targeted at least 15 children," Singh said.

Six-year-old girl's murder and arrest

The minor was abducted on the night of 14 July, when she had gone to the fields to relieve herself in Begumpur area of North West district in Delhi. Her parents lodged a missing complaint after she did not return.

"She had gone to relieve herself. She did not return. We went to the police station, they said you look for her and we will also search for her. Her body was found by our neighbour's son. I was not allowed to see her body," NDTV quoted the girl's mother as saying.

Kumar, who had escaped arrest almost every time he committed such crimes, was tracked through a licence the police found near the girl's body. The licence belonged to one Sunny, who was in hospital when the police arrived.

Sunny claimed that he was assaulted and looted by his brother Sunil, friend Ravinder Kumar and a juvenile on Tuesday. He said they took away his motorcycle, mobile phone and wallet with the licence in it.

"Sunny's mother had also made a PCR call that her son had been robbed and beaten by his friends. We immediately formed several teams and managed to trace him," DCP Singh said.