updated 1/4/2007 1:24:52 PM ET 2007-01-04T18:24:52

Authorities fired six policemen for failing to investigate dozens of missing children and women, a government official said Thursday, after 17 of their dismembered bodies turned up at a house in an affluent New Delhi suburb.

The six officers were fired and three senior officials were suspended Wednesday, following an inquiry by the Uttar Pradesh state government, said N.C. Bajpai, the state’s chief secretary.

“More action may be taken against them and, if need be, cases can be lodged against them,” Bajpai told The Associated Press in Lucknow, the state capital.

The grisly remains were found in storm drains behind a house in Noida, an eastern suburb of New Delhi.

On Wednesday, a court ordered the state government to provide details of the children reported missing in the past year and the action taken by police to trace them.

Relatives of the Noida victims, nearly all of whom came from families of poor migrant workers, complained that police repeatedly ignored their complaints that people were vanishing in and around the well-to-do neighborhood. The incidents occurred over a period of two years.

The federal government on Wednesday ordered an inquiry into the response of local authorities to the disappearances.

The owner of the house, Moninder Singh Pandher, and his domestic servant, Surender Kohli, have been arrested and charged with kidnapping, raping and killing the victims and then dumping their dismembered bodies in the storm drains.

Police say Kohli confessed to killing 10 children and five women when confronted with photographs during questioning.

Noida Police Chief R.K.S. Rathore has said Pandher used prostitutes, and that when none were available, he had Kohli lure children to his house with the promise of sweets.

There has been widespread outrage in India since police Friday began recovering human remains from the drains abutting Pandher’s house.

So far, authorities say they’ve found the remains of at least 17 people, although residents say 38 people have disappeared in the past two years.

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