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Bengaluru baby trafficking racket: Kids, recipients & parents traced, CID registers 5 more cases

Bengaluru police's Central Crime Branch (CCB) unearthed the racket last November and rescued a 20-day-old baby boy.
Last Updated : 30 June 2024, 15:53 IST

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Bengaluru: The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has registered five more cases against those who bought babies from agents running a child trafficking racket that was busted in the city last year.

Bengaluru police's Central Crime Branch (CCB) unearthed the racket last November and rescued a 20-day-old baby boy.

Ten people were arrested in the case but all of them secured bail.

The CID identified the babies, recipients, agents involved and biological parents.

Documents accessed by DH revealed the gang had sold five babies so far. Separate FIRs have been filed in police stations under whose limits the gang handed over the babies to recipients. Agents, biological mothers and recipients have been named in the FIRs booked under the Juvenile Justice Act.

The gang sold a baby for the first time in February 2018.

Mahalakshmi, one of the accused, sold her baby to a Bengaluru couple for Rs 1 lakh. Four more babies were sold in November 2021, May 2022, September 2023, and November 2023 for Rs 3 lakh, 3 lakh, 4.5 lakh and Rs 4 lakh, respectively.

The babies were handed over to recipients in Vijayanagar, Kamakshipalya, Parappana Agrahara and Upparpet police station limits.

A CID officer overseeing the case told DH they maintained secrecy throughout the probe to avoid any problems. “Even during the probe, we ensured none of the biological parents came into contact with the recipients. This was to prevent blackmail in the future," the officer said.

While the police had arrested Kannan Ramasami, Hemalatha, Sharanya, Murugeshwari, Suhasini, Radhamani, Gomathi, Mahalakshmi, Ramadevi and Karan, tracing the recipients was not an easy job.

The trail

Police mined details of online payments during the sale of babies. Also, technical leads such as CDR analysis and mobile network locations helped the officials. This process took months for the police to zero in on babies and the recipients.

Investigators have recorded self-statements from all the accused and people involved in the case. Further, they have done a DNA analysis to establish a relationship between the babies and their biological mothers. The hospitals where the babies were born were approached, and birth details were gathered. They have carried out the panchnama process wherever necessary.

Modus operandi

The accused previously worked as agents for in vitro fertilisation (IVF) centres before the Surrogacy Act imposed stricter rules.

They maintained contacts at the IVF centres to identify couples failing in the procedures.

They also got in touch with people who wanted to abort a child or people with accidental pregnancies and bought babies from them.

The CID traced the accused’s roots to Erode in Tamil Nadu. This is not their first attempt to traffic children, and there is an old case against them in their hometown.

Dilemma

Though the investigation is nearing an end, officials are in a dilemma. All five parents who bought the children are taking good care of them and have displayed compassion and benevolence towards the babies.

“There is a clear violation of the law in this case from both the biological parents and those bringing up the children. However, morally, there is a scope to let them keep the babies,” an investigating officer said.

Hence, the department has sought directions from the Child Welfare Commission (CWC).

A well-placed source in the CWC told DH that the cases have been booked under the sections of the JJ Act that are bailable. Hence, there is a way.

According to a source, parents bringing up the children can obtain bail and apply for the adoption process. “The CWC will always look for the best interests of the child. So, if the commission is convinced that the parents can raise the child well, legally we can initiate an adoption process,” said the source.

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Published 30 June 2024, 15:53 IST

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