New Delhi, January 16:

The death toll in a serial murder case that has shocked India may top 40 after detectives found over a dozen more skulls stashed in plastic bags, a report said today.

“In the 40 bags, we have found more than a dozen skulls,” an unnamed senior official of the federal Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told the Hindustan Times newspaper.

“Apart from this, the other human remains found in the bags indicate that the death toll could cross 40,” the official said.

The CBI declined to confirm the figures officially, but said in a statement that “biomaterials” in more than 40 polythene bags were recovered from the drain in front of the house of the two men accused of the lurid crimes.

“The seized materials have been sent to the laboratory for post mortem,” the federal agency said in a statement posted on its website yesterday. Local police say at least 17 people, mostly children, have been confirmed murdered in the area outside New Delhi. The CBI said it had so far registered 19 various cases of kidnapping, rape and murder of children and women. The new finds have been made in the past three days around a bungalow that the media has dubbed the “House of Horrors”, where the main suspects — affluent businessman Moninder Singh Pander and servant Surender Koli — lived. The gruesome details of the murders have shocked India.