That West Bengal is one of the most economically backward states of the country is known to all. But if doctors get involved in baby trafficking business, it clearly drags the state to a nadir.
Twelve persons have been arrested so far in connection with the selling of newborns.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which is probing the case, arrested Dr Santosh Kumar Samanta of Sree Krishna Nursing Home on Wednesday besides an owner of another nursing home and her assistant in Behala. A fourth suspect was arrested in connection with the case the same day.
A retired doctor from the famous R.G. Kar Medical College in Kolkata, too, is under the scanner. That three of those arrested are women paints a dystopian picture of the sorry future of West Bengal.
Two of the newborns discovered in a carton in a nursing home in Bengal. Express photo
Authorities say that the baby trafficking has been on for the last three years. It came to light with the first raid and subsequent arrests on Monday and Tuesday at Baduria in Basirhat town in North 24 Parganas district of the state.
The police found, to their horror, babies packed in biscuit cartons to be sold off to the buyers. Citing those arrested the police said that baby boys were being sold off for Rs.2 lakh while girls went for Rs.1 lakh. But the prices could go up as per the buyer and the baby’s colour. The buyers were mainly childless couples across India and abroad.
According to the investigators, the babies were sold via an NGO at Baduria, whose head Utpala Byapari has been arrested. The CID said that Utpala had connections with the hospitals and the doctors for procuring babies. The NGO has been sealed.
The owner of another NGO, Subodh Memorial Trust, Satyajit Sinha too has been arrested in connection with the case. He is believed to be the main conduit of the racket. The owner of Sohan Nursing Home & Polyclinic, Jamal, was arrested for supplying the babies.
And how did they sell the babies? The gang members and their associates coaxed pregnant women to admit themselves in any one of the nursing homes involved in the trafficking.
The exact number of the babies sold by the gang is not known but estimates vary from between 30 and 50.