West Bengal: CID Arrests NGO Chief And Shuts Down Orphanage For Selling Babies
On Monday, 20 February, a seven-member CID team arrested the chairperson of an NGO, Bimala Shishu Griho, from its office in the Falakata area of Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal.
The chairperson, Chandana Chakraborty, was reportedly running a racket of illegally selling children at high prices to buyers including childless couples in India and abroad. She sold at least 17 children between the ages of 1 to 14 years for an amount between Rs 100,000- Rs 200,000. The CID also arrested Sonali Mondal, the chief adoption officer of the NGO.
“What is shocking is that the head of the (orphanage) was also running a shelter for destitute women and selling their babies,” Rashmi Sen of the West Bengal state women and child development ministry told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Ongoing investigations will also probe if the women were trafficked to the home to keep the adoption racket going,” she added.
Surprisingly, this is the fourth such case of baby sale crackdown by the police in the last three months.
The CID is suspecting Ms Chakraborty’s links with a local BJP leader who had been helping her with the funds and other concessions. Juhi Choudhury, the local BJP leader, is allegedly on the run.
As many as 18 people were arrested including doctors, midwives and the owners of charities and clinics, who were suspected of taking babies from women immediately after they had given birth and telling them their children were stillborn.
Reportedly they used forged documents, fake stamps and certificates to sell babies and had been warned multiple times by the government in the past.
The orphanage was registered with the Central Adoption Resource Authority and was the only orphanage in Jalpaiguri district that was permitted to put up children for adoption.
Human trafficking in India has significantly increased by 25 percent in 2015 compared to 2014, with more than 40 percent of cases involving children, according to government crime data.