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NGO Director caught red handed selling baby over the counter for Rs. 3 Lakhs

July,5,2015: In a sting operation, in Andhra Pradesh, the Eluru town police on Saturday arrested the director of an orphanage for allegedly selling a baby boy to decoy policewomen for Rs. 3 lakh.

Children not for Sale
Children not for Sale

Upon receiving a tip-off that Self Help and Rural Development Society, located on Ponangi Road in Venkatapuram panchayat in Eluru Rural mandal, was running an adoption racket, women police personnel posing as prospective adoptive parents approached the NGO’s director, Mr. Ravi Prakash, for the sale of a baby.

When he handed over a baby boy after accepting Rs. 3 lakh, he was arrested, according to Eluru One Town Circle Inspector N. Raja Sekhar. Self Help and Rural Development Society, which is approved by the Women Development and Child Welfare Department (WD&CW), houses about 30 children.

The decoy party tailed Mr. Ravi Prakash for the past few days and a deal was struck for Rs. 3 lakh. On Saturday, he was caught red-handed and the baby was handed over to WD&CW officials.

A case under Section 372 of the IPC has been registered, Mr. Raja Sekhar told The Hindu .

The project director of WD&CW in West Godavari district, G. Chandrasekhar said the NHO would be closed and the inmates produced before the Child Welfare Committee. “The government will cancel licence of Self Help and Rural Development Society and the children would be shifted to other homes, said Mr. Chandrashekar.

Similar racket was caught in Delhi/NCR

Recently in Delhi as well it was found that Women who couldn't conceive became mothers overnight after a brief stay in hospital. Childless couples returned home with their 'natural children' meeting their preferences of sex and colour. Becoming a parent was so easy after you registered on the website of Rashtriya Janhit Jansewa Sansthan (RJJS) and agreed to do as told.

But what the 30-odd couples who fell for the promises made by the Dwarka-based 'NGO' weren't told was that their babies had been stolen at birth from hospitals and nursing homes across the NCR. Police said two men and a woman who ran the racket had been arrested in a raid after a tip-off and a two-month-old baby was rescued from them.

The trio promoted their 'adoption service' openly, even advertizing with handbills at traffic signals. People could log onto their website or visit their office to register. They even arranged for babies meeting the preferences of their prospective clients.

Joint commissioner of police, southwestern range, had reported that the kingpin of the gang, Vinod Kumar (42), set up RJJS in 2011 and then roped in Shiksha Chowdhary (28) and Anil Pandey (29) as co-directors of the unregistered NGO. It was Vinod's job to convince prospective clients to sign up. The NGO charged an initial fee of Rs 10,000 and asked the couple to wait for a week. While they searched for a suitable baby, they also kept the couple under watch to ensure they weren't being trapped.

As soon as they had a newborn to sell, they would admit the prospective mother to a nursing home as a pregnant woman. A day later, the woman would go home with her 'natural' child. "Hospital admission served as proof of birth and the parents were given a notarized document as a birth certificate," said a police officer.

They usually charged Rs 4.5 lakh for a girl and Rs 5.5 lakh for a boy, but women who refused to get hospitalized had to pay more and were given older babies. Their fake adoption papers bore the stamp of Central Adoption Resource Authority. Some lawyers from Tis Hazari and Karkardooma courts helped clear legal hurdles. 

Police suspected the NGO had tied up with at least 10 nursing homes to admit false pregnancy cases and are investigating their owners.The trio had admitted to selling babies to 30 couples across Delhi and NCR and signing up 75 more. Vinod told police that their agents in Aligarh, Bulandshahr, Meerut and Ranchi tied up with hospitals to steal or kidnap babies from maternity wards. But in some cases, surrogate mothers were used.

Delhi Police had requested anti-human trafficking units in neighbouring states and the crime branch to help them track these agents. Vinod, Shiksha and Anil have been booked under sections 370 (4) IPC (bonded labour) and 34 IPC (acting with common intention).

Mumbai- Rogue doctors arrested for selling babies

On December 2014, the Ulhasnagar police had arrested Dr Manlik Joshi of Joshi Nursing Home in Dharavi, Dr Digna Sharma of Sai Clinic in Kandivli’s Charkop area, and her husband Ajay and booked them under Section 370 (buying or disposing of any person as slave) and 34 (Common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. Another Thane-based doctor is also under the scanner. Investigation has revealed that the accused have been involved in the commodification of babies for years and would send prospective adopters images via Whatsapp and even let them inspect the babies like products before settling on the one they wanted. The cost for the sellers’ service seems to have doubled since 2012, with the babies now selling for Rs 4-6 lakh.

Modus operandi
Dr Digna Sharma’s husband, Ajay, was the ringleader who used to run the racket in connivance with doctors, including his wife. Ajay used to look for couples who were seeking babies for immediate adoption. Since the legal adoption process is tedious and lengthy, couples would be swayed by Ajay’s offer of selling them a baby, with their name on the birth certificates, which would make it seem like an adoption. Once a couple finalised the deal, Ajay would approach Ratna Ubale and her group, who would arrange for a baby. 

Ubale and the other women in her network used to keep an eye on couples going to government hospitals for abortion, who could be willing to give away their infants. They would convince the couples to make some money by giving birth and selling the child instead of getting the foetus aborted. 

After these ‘babies-for-sale’ were born, Ajay and his wife would keep them at Joshi Nursing Home in Dharavi. “The group would send photographs of the babies to the couple on Whatsapp and, if they liked what they saw, the babies were shown to them at Joshi Nursing Home in Dharavi,” an officer from Central police station said.

Ajay, with the help of his wife and another doctor in Thane, helped the couple get the birth certificate and medical papers of the newborn. On the night of December 16, the police had found two more babies admitted in the clinic, not registered on the clinic’s record, who are now untraceable.

Rs 6 Lakh The amount that the doctors charged a couple wishing to buy a baby

Rs 2 Lakh Amount paid to the middlemen, who sourced the child

Rs 1 Lakh The amount paid to the parents of  the child

Punjab- Accused use social media to sell babies

Not long ago Punjab Police had arrested three people in connection with the attempted sale of a newborn baby through the Facebook social media website.

According to reports when an infant boy was born in the Satyam Hospital in the city of Ludhiana, his 47-year-old maternal grandfather, Feroz Khan, abducted the baby (after telling his daughter, Noori, that the child was still-born).

The grandfather then reportedly sold the child for 45,000 Rupees to a hospital nurse, who subsequently sold the baby for 300,000 Rupees to a lab assistant at the same facility named Gurpreet Singh.

Gurpreet Singh then placed the baby for sale on Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) – a friend of his in Delhi, a businessman, offered 800,000 Rupees. That man from Delhi reportedly arrived in Ludhiana, about 200 miles to the north, to pick up the baby.

But the plot unraveled after the infant’s mother suspected something was wrong when she became aware that her father was suddenly flush with cash. Noori then filed a police complaint against her father (the baby-snatcher). Police investigators were able to eventually find the infant, reunite it with its mother, and then arrest the grandfather.

The nurse and lab assistant were also arrested but the businessman from Delhi who offered to purchase the baby on Facebook remained a fugitive.

Kidnapping gangs around India have been known to abduct children and sell them into prostitution or begging rings.

Data on the number of children kidnapped across India are difficult to accurately determine since some are runaways and others are taken by relatives as a result of family disputes.

India’s increasing wealth is also exacerbating the problem. As India’s middle class grows,  the incidence of kidnapping children for ransom are also increasing.

It is estimated that some One Lakh children are reported missing every year in India and that more than two-thirds of them are never found.  

 

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