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Childless-couple are the major consumers of child-selling racket

So far, the police have arrested 14 people. The accused are mainly women working at fertility centres in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, and Mumbai who are aware of couples trying to have children.

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child kidnap, child theft, kidnapping, mumbai, mumbai police

Recently, Mumbai Police busted a child-selling racket that is operating across three states. The Mumbai police found that a majority of the couples who ‘bought’ the children were childless couples. These couples were promised that the legal process was being followed. So far, police have not found that any of the children were being used for illegal activities.

Of the 14 children that were sold from Maharashtra, three were given to childless couples by taking huge money from them in Maharashtra, while 11 were sold to couples in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Of the 14, four children were rescued and handed over to the Bal Asha Trust in Mahalaxmi.

A tip-off received by Unit II of the Mumbai Crime Branch that gusted the supposed racket. The police had a tip-off that a Govandi resident, Sheetal Vare, had sold a child to one Dr Sanjay Khandare (BHMS), who, through another agent, had sold the girl child to the Ratnagiri-based couple for Rs 2 lakh. Based on the interrogation of Vare and other agents, the police found out about the 14 instances of children being sold in the past two years.

Ragasudha R, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Enforcement), said, “In most of the cases, there is constant demand for the children from childless couples in Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh. “In one case, we also rescued a five-month-old baby from a couple over 50 years of age and living in Ratnagiri. In their statement, they claimed that the accused woman who promised them a child said that it was being done through a legal process and they should get the paperwork for the adoption too. We are checking if the couple was unaware that this was illegal,” DCP Ragasudha said.

So far, the police have arrested 14 people. The accused are mainly women working at fertility centres in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, and Mumbai who are aware of couples trying to have children. The accused would approach these couples and promise to get children from another state as the adoption process was time-consuming, the police said. The fertility centre agents would then approach their counterparts in other states like Maharashtra, where the agents would look for women from a poor background who were willing to give birth. An officer said that since Telangana is a hub for fertility centres, many of the accused may have been operating from there.

They would lure the women using money and tell them that their children would have a better future. While the women would get around Rs 20,000-Rs 25,000, the agents would generally make Rs 50,000 each. The children were sold for anywhere between Rs 80,000 and Rs 4 lakh, the police said.

The courts have in the past taken a kind view of couples accused of ‘purchasing’ children, especially when they have been together for a few years. In at least two cases, the courts have allowed these couples to get custody of the child, keeping in mind the well-being of the children.

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