Kolkata: Days after arresting members of a racket for trafficking newborns, police in West Bengal have found as many as 10 more stolen babies from an old age home for the mentally challenged and exhumed the bodies of two infants from the campus of a non-governmental-organisation.
So far, 13 newborns have been rescued and fifteen people, including seven women, have been arrested in connection with this case, officials say.
“After questioning, Putul Banerjee, one of the prime accused arrested earlier in connection with the child racket, the CID [Criminal Investigation Department] recovered two bodies from the compound of the Sujit Memorial Trust at Machlandapur in Habra,” Additional Director-General of Police Rajesh Kumar said.
“These places were used to hide the babies until they were 10 months old and fit enough to travel various places, including abroad. [The criminals] used to feed the babies and even inject various drugs so that they develop fast,” Kuman added.
“Several nursing homes, clinics and NGOs across several districts and states are involved in this racket. Whenever babies died while being shifted from one place to another, these traffickers used to bury them in and around the places where they were kept. There could be more bodies buried in other places, we are looking for them as well,” he said.
Police estimate more than 100 newborns have been trafficked by this group to all over the country and abroad.
“An initial probe revealed that at least 50 infants have been sold from the home and the number could be more. We are looking into it. CID is also trying to find out the buyers of these babies,” Kumar said.
Investigators believe many of the babies may have been sold abroad as several foreign currencies have been recovered from Partha Chatterjee, owner of a nursing home in north-Kolkata, who is also accused in the case.
During interrogation Rina Banerjee, owner of the old-age home, admitted to having sold the babies for a price of Rs600,000 (Dh32,161) per head.
The babies were sold according to gender and complexion. While male babies were sold at around Rs500,000, females were sold for Rs300,000 to Rs500,000 depending on their complexion.
“This is so inhuman — the babies were treated like poultry and sold when they were old enough. Many of the arrested are young people who were part of this racket,” said an investigating officer.