Alert Vani Vilas Hospital staff prevented a newborn being sold when its mother got into an argument with her friend over the sale. The baby belonged to Lakshmi (28), flower vendor and a single mother, who was abandoned by her in-laws after she was widowed two years ago.
The police said the Parvathipura resident became friends with fellow flower vendor Manjula, who introduced her to Kiran, a private firm employee. Lakshmi moved in with Kiran and became pregnant. Kiran wanted it terminated but when Lakshmi refused, he also abandoned her.
However, Manjula came to her rescue and offered to look after her on the condition that Lakshmi hand over the baby to her if it was a girl. She then took Lakshmi to a diagnostic centre on the pretext of getting a general check-up and bribed the doctor into revealing the baby’s sex. The doctor confirmed it was a girl.
Things, however, took an unexpected turn when Lakshmi, who was admitted to Vani Vilas Hospital earlier this week, gave birth to a boy on Tuesday. Frustrated over this, Manjula demanded that Laskhmi give the infant to her saying she had spent a lot of money on her which she wanted to recoup by selling the baby.
Lakshmi refused and a huge and very public row erupted between them at the hospital.
When the Vani Vilas staff cottoned on to what was going on, they informed the doctors who called the Victoria Hospital police. Realising that matters had gone out of hand, Manjula fled, warning Lakshmi not to come home.
The police called members of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) who took the mother and baby to their centre for counselling. CWC member Vijayalakshmi T.S. told The Hindu both were sent back to their house and that Manjula had been warned to keep away. “We even informed Lakshmi’s mother to support her daughter and we are keeping an eye on the baby and the mother,” she added. The Victoria Hospital police claimed they could not take action against Manjula as there was no evidence against her. “We have handed over the case to the CWC to enquire and submit a report. We will initiate action based on the report,” inspector H. Anand said.
Taking strong objection to the lackadaisical attitude of the police, senior doctors at the Vani Vilas Hospital said the police could have interrogated Manjula about the people running the racket.