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More arrests in trafficking case as doctor is found hiding

Indian families who lost babies to traffickers hope to get them back

Gulf News

Kolkata: Police in India’s West Bengal state have arrested one more doctor and a woman for their alleged involvement in the child trafficking racket uncovered in Baduria, in the North 24 district.

Doctor Tapan Biswas, associated with the Baduria nursing home, was arrested at the home of one of his relatives in Memari, Burdwan district, where he was hiding.

He becomes the second doctor to be arrested in this case.

“Biswas is one of the kingpins of this racket. We had been in search of Biswas since the racket was busted on November 21,” said a senior official of the CID. “He used to work as a quack doctor and misdirect expecting couples coming to the Baduria nursing home. And when a baby was delivered, the doctor used to tell the family members that the mother had delivered a dead baby.”

Police believe the 10 babies who were rescued from an old age home for the mentally challenged last week had been saved in the nick of time, as interrogation of the accused revealed that they were looking for ways to “dump” the babies.

“During interrogation Reena Banerjee, proprietor of Purbasha, and later Biswas, revealed that they were not averse to discarding these children even if it meant death for them,” a CID officer said.

Police have established that the gang members were looking to sell a girl child for as low as Rs10,000 (Dh536).

“For these people, infants were like livestock, and when they are trying to sell at a low price it would be a distress sale, which means they could have also killed the babies,” the officer added.

Doctors believe many of these babies may have been given hormonal and steroid drugs to enhance their growth.

“The babies are not more than 4 months old but if anyone sees them they look like over two-years. We are conducting medical tests on them to find out if they had been injected with growth drugs. Generally couples in the west look for healthier babies and that could be the reason,” said the doctor of the paediatric ward where the infants are being looked after.

Meanwhile, the CID was continuing its raids at several nursing homes in various districts of the state in connection with the case.

“Raids will continue until we reach the deepest root of this racket. We want to locate all the children that may have been sold and return to their rightful parents,” said Rajesh Kumar, Additional Director-General of Police said.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is said to be personally monitoring the probe and has given the investigating officers a free hand in the matter.

The state health department is also preparing a task force to monitor all such nursing homes all over the state.

“She (Banerjee) is personally monitoring the case and has asked us to ensure that the culprits are booked and cannot escape using loop holes in the law,” said a CID officer.