The labour ward at Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital, where a newborn went missing on Saturday, had a CCTV camera but it was not in working condition.

A police team led by deputy commissioner (Kilpauk) R. Ramakrishnan visited the hospital later in the day and carried out preliminary investigation.

Panayathammal, caretaker of Saritha, the mother of the abducted newborn, was in tears on Saturday afternoon. “Around 1 p.m., I went out to buy lunch and returned to find a stout, fair woman in her late 30s, clad in a yellow salwar kameez, holding Saritha’s newborn and sitting next to her. She claimed to be a relative. I went out to eat soon after,” she told The Hindu.

According to a hospital official, there was some uncertainty about the woman who had taken the baby, as she was first thought to be a friend of the mother’s, though Saritha later told officials she did not know the woman.

“Saritha is married to Dinesh, a driver. The hospital officials and investigators tried to contact him but he remained unreachable. The couple married against the wishes of their families as they belong to different communities,” the police said.

The couple relocated to Chennai after marriage. Saritha was living in a hostel and working in a photocopy shop near Poonamallee bus terminus.

The Kilpauk police registered a case and a search is on to locate the woman and rescue the child.

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