An Indian serial killer who admitted his involvement in the murder of more than 50 taxi drivers whose bodies were dumped in a crocodile-infested canal has been caught by police after he fled to another state while out of prison on parole.
Between 2002 to 2004, Devender Sharma was convicted of murdering up to seven taxi drivers and sentenced to life in prison in Jaipur, a city in the northern state of Rajasthan.
After spending 16 years in jail, the 62-year-old was given a short parole in January. But when his 20 days on the outside were up, Sharma didn’t return to prison, according to Indian police.
On Wednesday – around six months after he went missing – Indian police arrested Sharma in the country’s capital Delhi, where he had been living with a widow who he had married since failing to return from parole.
When questioned, Sharma confessed that he had broken his parole conditions and didn’t plan to return to jail, according to a news release Wednesday from Delhi police.
According to Delhi police, Sharma also went into detail about his criminal past.
Sharma graduated with a degree in traditional Indian medicine, and ran a clinic at a hospital in Rajasthan for 11 years, starting in 1984, according to police.
After losing money in a scam, he became involved in a scheme selling fake gas canisters. He then took part in a scheme involving illegal kidney transplants, and was arrested in 2004 over the case. According to police, he admitted being involved with more than 125 such transplants, with each earning him between $6,680 and $9,350.
Sharma told police that he and others worked on another scheme in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. They hired taxis and then killed the drivers at secluded places, before dumping the bodies in a canal home to crocodiles – meaning there was no chance that the remains could be retrieved.
After the bodies were dumped, Sharma sold the taxis – either whole or in parts – and made around $270 for each car.
Sharma eventually confessed to being the mastermind behind the murder of more than 50 taxi drivers. However, he has only been convicted of a handful of those killings, according to police.
According to local media reports dating from 2008, Sharma was initially caught by police while in the act of killing a driver.