Gang bought infants from poor couples in Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai and sold them to childless couples
The police, while tracking the high-profile case of a baby stolen two hours after its birth from a civic body-run hospital in Chamarajpet in 2020, have uncovered an inter-state baby selling racket.
Five people, who operated in Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru, have been arrested for allegedly purchasing more than 12 babies and selling them to childless couples.
The South Division Police team, which has been investigating the case since April this year, traced 12 children, and tracked down the biological parents of 11. “There are around five to six more children, and efforts are on to track them down. We have submitted a report to the Child Welfare Committee,” said a police officer.
The five gang members, three of whom are women, operated in slums and lower socio-economic pockets in Chennai, Mumbai and Bengaluru. “They convinced the birth parents to sell their babies for ₹70,000-80,000 depending on the health of the child,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP, South Division) Harish Pandey. Some of the babies were just two months old.
Meanwhile, other members of the gang moved around IFV centres in Bengaluru. After they strike a deal with a childless couple, they take ₹6 lakh to ₹9 lakh and give them fake documents to convince them that the adoption was legal.
The police suspect involvement of hospital staff. “Some of the accused worked with employees in private hospitals. We suspect that they created fake ‘thayi ID cards’ (identity cards for mothers) for the racketeers,” said Mr. Pandey. As many as 28 such ID cards were recovered during a raid on a house of the accused in Kengeri. “So, if they purchased a child in Mumbai, then they would sell it to a couple in either Karnataka or Tamil Nadu,” said a police source.
In some cases, the gang convinced the parents that they would provide a surrogate mother, and nine months later handed them a baby, complete with all the paperwork. The parents, too, were duped as they thought what they were doing was legal and that the child shared their DNA.
Currently, all the children are with their adoptive parents. “Though there is culpability on part of the biological and adoptive parents, we have decided not to arrest them on humanitarian basis. As both sets of parents have families and minors dependent on them, they have been exempted from arrest,” a senior police officer said. But he added that their actions will be included in the chargesheet. “The court will decide what necessary legal action has to be taken.”
Probe into stolen Chamraj baby case leads police to accused
Bengaluru: The racket was uncovered during the investigation into the theft of an infant from a BBMP hospital in Chamarajpet in June 2020. Police Sub-Inspector Srinivas K.R. received information in April 2021 of a baby that was being brought to Bengaluru from Mumbai to be sold.
The team, while undercover, arrested one of the racketeers, Ranjana Devidas outside Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna railway station. They rescued a one-month-old baby girl from Mumbai whom she was planning to sell to a couple in Bengaluru.
During the investigation, the police realised that Devidas was part of a larger network, and subsequently arrested other members of the gang, identified as Devishnmugamma, Mahesh Kumar, Janardhan and Dhnalakshmi.
Using this, the accused would cheat both the biological parents and the childless couple, and make lakhs of rupees, a police officer said.
The accused have been taken into custody for further investigation.
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