How a cancelled infant sale deal spawned Bengaluru baby trafficking racket

Police investigations into the kidnapping unearthed a larger gang operating a baby sale racket. They have arrested seven people, who allegedly sold nine babies.
Last Updated : 30 June 2024, 22:04 IST

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Bengaluru: A cancelled infant sale deal was behind the kidnapping of an 11-month-old boy that the Tumakuru police cracked down last week, police investigations have revealed. 

Police investigations into the kidnapping unearthed a larger gang operating a baby sale racket. They have arrested seven people, who allegedly sold nine babies. 

The Gubbi police identified the ringleaders of the operation as Mahesh UD and Mehboob Sharif. 

Mahesh, a former nurse at a government hospital in Tumakuru, and Sharif, a pharmacist running a homeopathic hospital in his wife’s name, conspired to sell babies to childless couples and those desiring children. 

The two met through their medical contacts. 

Mubarak, a tamarind merchant from Bellur Cross in Nagamangala, approached Sharif through a common friend, expressing a desire to buy a baby boy.

“Mubarak has three daughters, but desperately wanted a son. Though he took care of his family, he felt there was a necessity for a boy. So, he approached Sharif,” a police officer close to the investigation told DH. 

Sharif informed Mahesh of Mubarak’s request. Mahesh knew a woman who lived on the streets and was too poor to raise a baby. He contacted the woman, offering her family money in exchange for her baby. Initially, a deal was struck, but the family backed out after the baby’s birth, causing the plan to collapse. 

Eleven months later, Mubarak, still desperate for a son, approached Mahesh and Sharif once again. The duo planned to steal the same baby, knowing the family was homeless. Mahesh roped in Ramakrishna and Hanumantharaju, both tattoo artists, to carry out the kidnapping. 

On June 9, Ramakrishna and Hanumantharaju abducted the 11-month-old baby from a shanty near a temple in Gubbi while the family was fast asleep. 

Clues from a Maruti 800

After the family filed a police complaint, investigators reviewed CCTV footage and found a suspicious Maruti 800. They also detected two mobile phones’  active in the vicinity during the crime. Both numbers were close to the car, and their location changed as the Maruti 800 moved, leading the police to the kidnappers. 

Eventually, Mahesh and Sharif were detained after the car was tracked down, and the suspects led the police to Mubarak. Police rescued the baby and arrested Mubarak. 

Mahesh and Sharif told the police how they sold nine babies with the assistance of nurses Poornima N and Sowjanya. 

Modus operandi

Mahesh and both nurses looked for women who conceived out of wedlock and took their babies by offering them large sums of money. Sharif facilitated connections with couples wanting children, while the four others acted as intermediaries. 

Police have identified five babies out of nine and sent four of them to a government adoption centre. One baby is believed to be dead. 

Published 30 June 2024, 22:04 IST

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