Newborn trafficking racket uncovered in West Bengal

Kolkata, Nov 24: Two days after officials of West Bengal’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) busted a newborn trafficking racket, investigations reveal that it is one of the biggest rackets existing in the eastern India.

On Thursday, CID officials made the 13th arrest in connection with the trafficking of the newborns. Police arrested Partha Chatterjee, owner of Shri Krishna Nursing Home. Chatterjee had been running the nursing home for a decade and was involved in the racket for the past three years.
This apart, the police have arrested a number of heads of the NGO involved in the racket. “We have arrested as many as 13 people in connection with the racket. All have been arrested under section 369 (kidnapping or abducting child under 10 years with intent to steal from its person), 370 (trafficking) 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC and 34 of CrPc,” said Deputy Inspector General (CID), Bharat Lal Meena.

The racket was prevalent in nursing homes in the state capital, Kolkata. Agents would liaison with NGOs and the nursing home staff. The nursing home staff and doctors would declare an infant as ‘dead’ and issue a birth certificate to the parents of the newborn without handing over the dead body.

Later, the newborn would be sold off to childless couples through the NGO. While newborn girls with a dark complexion would be sold for Rs 1 lakh and fair babies for Rs1.5 lakh, newborn boys with a dark complexion would be sold for Rs 2 lakh and fair ones for higher than Rs 2 lakh. The racket had been existing for the past three years and involved a dozen of nursing homes in Kolkata.

The racket sold newborns not just across the country in cities like Mumbai and Delhi, but also spread its arms across the United States and the United Kingdom. “Several NGOs would get in touch with the agents here. Agents, in turn, would get in touch with the nursing home staff and pay them a huge commission. Dozens of nursing homes across Kolkata are involved in the racket. The newborns have been sold in Delhi and Mumbai. Sources are telling us that some have been sold in the UK and USA too,” said a senior official of CID.

The network was uncovered on Tuesday when CID officials raided a nursing home at Baduria in North 24 Parganas. Acting on a tip-off, the raid led them to this racket. The police recovered two newborns, wrapped in cotton sheets and placed in a biscuit carton, ready to be handed over to a childless couple.

“While the racket began with the targeting of unmarried mothers, who were paid huge amounts of cash, they later moved on to cheating parents of the newborn. We suspect more NGOs and nursing homes are involved in the racket,” added Meena.