Kids killed in panchkula
From left —Sameer, 11, Simran, 8 and Samar, 5. The three were murdered on Sunday, November 19 and their bodies were discovered from a forest in Panchkula on Tuesday, November 21Twitter

A 26-year-old man from Kurukshetra in Chandigarh was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly killing two of his nephews and niece, aged between 5 and 11, at the behest of the father of the victims. The dead bodies of the children, who were shot at point blank on Sunday November 19, were found buried in a forest in Morni, Panchakula.

The arrested has been identified as Jagdeep Malik. The police have also booked Sonu Malik, father of the three children, for allegedly plotting the murder. The dead bodies of Sameer, 11, Simran, 8 and Samar, 5, were discovered from the forest in Panchakula, nearly 100km away from Malik's residence, on Tuesday.

"Jagdeep has confessed to the crime and named Sonu as well," Abhishek Garg, Kurukshetra superintendent of police, was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying.

The motive behind the murder is not clear yet. Jeeta Malik, father of Sonu Malik, alleged that his son had extramarital affairs with a woman in Himanchal Pradesh and that is the reason he killed the children.

"Sonu wanted to marry that woman and we had a big argument 10 months back. We all counselled him, and told him to leave the other woman for the sake of his children," Jeeta added.

The murder plot

A station house officer (SHO) from Pehowa in Kurukshetra said that the kids went to play at around 10.30 am on Sunday and they did not return home.

Uncle Jagdeep lured the kids into accompanying him to a fair after which he took them to a deserted spot in a forest  nearly 100 km away from their home, and shot them point blank, one by one.

"He stopped his Maruti Swift at a deserted point and asked the eldest child, Sameer, to step out and then increased the volume of music system so that the other two children could not hear the gunshot," the SHO said.

The police are yet to recover the murder weapon, which they assume is a country made gun.

How police unearthed the facts?

Sonu's wife alerted the neighbours at Pehowa on Sunday afternoon that the children were missing and initiated a search. Villagers could not find the children and informed the police.

Local people said that Jagdeep also joined the search team and used the same car in which he had carried the children to the spot of murder. Jagdeep even warned the police of protest if his nephews weren't found, the villagers recall.

But the police grew suspicious about the behaviour of Sonu, the father of the three. "...his expressions were peculiar. He didn't look worried and was quite indifferent," a police officer said.

Police picked up Jagdeep and Sonu from their residence in Pehowa, on Monday. The interrogation revealed the real story and a police team on Tuesday recovered the dead bodies of the children buried in the forest.

"We reached Morni around 11am and recovered the bodies of the three children from separate locations," said zilla parishad head Baldev.