Representational Image
Representational Image

Mumbai: The city crime branch, investigating a child selling racket, has arrested a homeopathic doctor on Monday, taking the total number of arrested in the case to nine. The crime branch has identified at least seven children, who had been allegedly sold by the gang members in the last six years, the police said.

Dhananjay Boga (58), a doctor who was arrested on Monday, had allegedly received Rs 30,000 as commission for selling a baby girl, the police said. The nine arrested in the case include two mothers, who allegedly sold their kids while the rest have been identified as Rupali Verma (30), Nisha Ahir (38), Gulshan Khan (34), Gitanjali Gaikwad (38), Arti Singh (29) and one father who bought the kid from one of the mothers.

The accused were arrested under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections of human trafficking, along with the Juvenile Justice Act.

According to the police, Gaikwad, a nurse at a private hospital and Singh, a lab technician with a pathology lab, appeared to be the masterminds of the gang. On the other hand, Khan, Ahire, and Verma work for a surrogacy centre.

The mothers who sold their kids were in need of money, while the families who bought them had allegedly paid Rs 2.5 - 3.5 lakh to the agents, the police said.

Recently, police inspector Yogesh Chavhan of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch, had received information that few women from the Kherwadi area had been running child selling rackets for a couple of years. Acting on the tip-off, the crime branch unit one took two women along with Verma in their custody last week.

'During interrogation, it was revealed that one of the mothers sold her new born son to a Pune-based family in December last year, days after he was born on December 1 at VN Desai hospital. Meanwhile, the same woman had previously sold her newborn girl to a family in Dadar around a year ago. The second mother said that she sold her newborn son to a family in Dharavi for Rs 60,000 in 2019," said Chavhan.

A police took the mother to the family's house in Dharavi to whom the kid was allegedly sold and after preliminary enquiry arrested the kid's current father (name withheld) for illegally buying the kid. Police are yet to trace the month-old baby boy which was sold to a family in Pune.

According to the police, a woman claiming to run an NGO which reportedly works for women's issues, allegedly sold the kid to the family. The cops are now trying to trace the woman.

"Out of the seven children who had been sold by the gang, we have traced six. Instead of taking them into custody and sending them to a children's home, we have informed the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) about the issue and they would take the call," a police officer said.

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