Mumbai Crime Branch Busts Child Trafficking Gang, 7 Including Doctor Held

Mumbai Crime Branch Busts Child Trafficking Gang, 7 Including Doctor Held

Between September 2022 and February 2024, a total of 14 children were sold. Three of them were girls, and the remaining 11 were boys. These children ranged in age from five days to nine months old.

Vishal SinghUpdated: Sunday, April 28, 2024, 09:40 PM IST
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Mumbai crime branch arrested 7 for their involvement | Vishal Singh

Seven individuals, including a doctor, were apprehended by the Mumbai crime branch on Saturday in connection with a child trafficking case. The suspects, predominantly women, served as agents within two fertility hospitals in Thane. Following police intervention, two children were rescued, and authorities successfully located both the biological and adoptive parents. The children had been sold to couples struggling with infertility in Malad and Ratnagiri.

Vandana Pawar (28), Sheetal Ware (41), Sneha Suryavanshi (24), Naseema Khan (28), Lata Survade (36), Sharad Deore (45), and Dr. Sanjay Khandare (42) were among those apprehended. Police mentioned that Dr. Khandare, a homeopath, operated a hospital in Thane, while the others were identified as agents at fertility clinics. Additionally, crime branch has received details about 12 additional children, many of whom were reportedly sold in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Police said that they received information on April 27 that a woman, a Vikhroli resident, had allegedly sold her son on December 13, 2022 to Sheetal Ware for Rs two lakh. A case was registered with the Vikhroli police station. Later, Ware and other accused, all from the same gang, were arrested.

In this case, the arrested accused Dr. Sanjay Khandare contacted Sheetal Ware and told her that a couple wants to adopt a child. Upon this, Ware contacted Pednekar and facilitated the sale of the child.

DCP Ragasudha explained that this child was sold to the couple who have no offspring.

"We have rescued the son of Pednekar from Ratnagiri and another girl whose parents are from Nalasopara. The girl from Nalasopara was sold in Malad. We have handed over both children to the Bal Asha Trust. Our teams are working on the case. We have also received information about 12 other children who were sold by these agents, and their search is ongoing," said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Enforcement) Ragasudha R. 

Cases have been registered against the accused under the IPC and the Juvenile Justice Act. Ware had along with other accused, Deore and Suryavanshi, sold the Nalasopara baby girl for Rs 2.5 lakh to the Malad couple.

Between September 2022 and February 2024, a total of 14 children were sold. Three of them were girls, and the remaining 11 were boys. These children ranged in age from five days to nine months old.

A police officer stated that all the female suspects arrested in this case are egg donors, and they target parents who want to sell their children. According to the officer, the suspects target parents who are unable to support their children.

"The minors were traded for amounts ranging from Rs 80,000 to Rs four lakh," Ragasudha disclosed. Crime branch units are currently investigating in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Authorities have identified nine mothers, with ongoing efforts to locate others. The children were trafficked from Maharashtra and predominantly purchased in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, according to police.

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