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Five more arrested in infant trafficking racket in West Bengal

The gang had spread its tentacles in Kolkata, India, and several nursing homes were part of it

Gulf News

Kolkata: The Crime Investigation Department (CID) of West Bengal police which had busted an infant trafficking racket, in Baduria of North 24 Parganas district on Tuesday, has arrested five more people, including owners of two nursing homes in Kolkata, for aiding the operation.

The owner of Sri Krishna Nursing Home in College Street, Partha Chatterjee, was arrested on Thursday morning, a senior CID official said. “He was initially detained for questioning but he failed to satisfy us with his answers following which he was arrested,” the official said.

Dr Santosh Kumar Samanta, attached to the same nursing home, was arrested yesterday for his alleged involvement in the racket. Paromita Chatterjee, of the same nursing home, and Prabha Parmanik and Putul Banerjee of South View Nursing Home in Behala were arrested on Wednesday evening.

As part of the racket, newborns were smuggled to other states and also overseas and were sold to childless couples for a few hundred thousand rupees.

Police fear that at least 45 newborns had been trafficked by the gang to couples all over India and even to United Kingdom and United States. The investigators said they were also keeping a close watch on a retired doctor of a government hospital for suspected association with the gang.

“So far, we have arrested 13 persons. We have taken the arrested in police custody. Investigations are on as to who else aided this gang,” said Bharatlal Mina, Deputy Inspector General, CID.

Police sources said the gang duped unwed couples and poor families who could not afford to rear a child post birth and even paid them money to sell their newborn for small sums of money.

“Their modus operandi was to ensure that the parents did not complain to authorities, and considering their poverty and illiteracy they had few options but to keep quiet. In others cases they just informed the parent that the child was stillborn and that the body would be disposed off by the nursing home,” said an investigating officer.

However, the involvement of nursing homes in the heart of Kolkata has shocked even the authorities and they believe that there is a possibility of a large cross-border gang operating in this. “This was a well thought-out operation and they did everything to maintain secrecy. Even the couples who bought the children never knew the source and adoption agencies were used,” the officer added.