6 held for trafficking boys in name of adoption; 2 rescued

Mumbai: The Mumbai crime branch have busted a child trafficking racket, running in the name of adoption. Two boys, 3 years old and 4 months old, sold earlier were also rescued.

According to the police, two of the six arrested women had been involved in surrogacy and egg donations. One is a security guard at a government hospital. In two separate cases, crime branch arrested a man and a woman for purchasing two infants. The two rescued boys are now with the child welfare committee. The gang has been active for the last several years. Chances are they might have sold over two boys, said police.

The arrested gang members have been identified as, Asha alias Lalita Danny Joseph, 35, Bhagyashri Koli, 26, Sunita Masane, 30, and Savita Chavhan, 30. Police have also arrested Amar Desai, 30, and Bhagyashree Kadam, 48, for purchasing a boy.

Police said on a tip-off recently that a gang in Govandi was running a child trafficking racket in the name of the adoption, the Crime Branch unit 6 launched a probe. Gang’s modus operandi was such they would buy infant boys from the poor parents in need of money and sell them off to the richer couples. During the probe, the sleuths came across a woman, who admitted to selling her infant for Rs 1,00,000.

“It was discovered a gang was conducting illegal adoption activities. We got a lead while speaking to a mother who felt compelled to sell her son. We began questioning the concerned people,” said Akbar Pathan, DCP. “We have booked all the accused under IPC sections for trafficking of a person (370-4), common intentions (34) and the Juvenile Justice Act.”

Three of the four gang members worked in medical field. Chavhan works for a security agency at Shatabdi hospital, Govandi. She was previously arrested by Kandivali police in 2016 in a kidnapping case. Joseph and Koli worked as coordinators for surrogacy and egg donation activities. Koli also runs an egg donation and surrogacy consultancy, Little Steps, in Govandi.

Police said it’s been found people go to any extremes to have a boy child. Desai is a private radio taxi driver, who has three girls. his family was desperate to have a boy child. His wife delivered a third girl in February after which he resolved to bringing home a boy. So, he bought an infant from this gang for Rs3,85,000 after mortgaging his wife’s jewellery and his car. He told his family, his wife had delivered a twin. His lie came to light when the biological mother was traced, who confessed to selling her son to the gang.

In another case, Kadam, who married 19 years ago, was issueless. She was desperate for a boy, so got in touch with the gang, and paid Rs2,50,000, 3 years ago. At the time, the boy was 6 days old. The biological parent are yet to be traced, said police.

By Sachin Gaad

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