Ranchi: The Missionary of Charity, set up by Nobel laureate Mother Teresa, has got embroiled in allegations that babies born to unwed mothers were being sold to issueless couples. A nun and a staff member at the charity were arrested on Thursday on charges of child trafficking, the police in the state capital Ranchi said. They could face up to five years in prison.
The institution founded by the Nobel laureate cares for unwed pregnant women and mothers in distress. The police said the infant was sold to a family in Uttar Pradesh for $1,700 by the two suspects. The charity could face more charges as investigations widen into the illegal adoption scam, said Ranchi senior superintendent Aneesh Gupta. “The women have admitted to four more such cases which we are in the process of verifying. The families which bought the babies are also under our radar and will face action,” he told AFP. Authorities grew suspicious after the state’s Child Welfare Committee discovered a new born boy was missing from the centre last week. Nuns at the charity told police that the boy’s mother had taken the child away, said Ranchi inspector general Ashish Batra.
“However, on being contacted, the mother said that she did not have the baby with her,” Batra said. The hospitals where the children were delivered will also be investigated, the police said. Te accused arrested by police has been identified as Anima Indwar. She worked at Nirmal Hriday, the office of the Missionaries of Charity. The mother of the boy, who was sold, had taken shelter at Nirmal Hriday in March. The boy was born in Ranchi’s Sadar Hospital on May 1. Thirteen other pregnant women were staying at the Nirmal Hriday shelter home. The Child Welfare Committee has transferred all of them to a different location.