Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Expressing “serious concern” over human trafficking racket, the Madras High Court has ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into three cases of inter-country adoptions in Chennai.

A Division Bench, comprising Justice P.D. Dinakaran and Justice R. Regupathi, passing orders on habeas corpus petitions filed by three parents who alleged that their children were taken away from their houses in 1998-99, said: “Human trafficking is the modern-day slave trade, which poses a global threat. The trafficking is increasingly becoming an organised crime and the same raises serious public health concerns. It spreads across continents, which is a matter of serious concern.”

The Judges asked the CBI to constitute a special cell under the supervision of Ashok Kumar, Joint Director (Southern Region), to expedite investigation into the three cases. The official shall file a copy of the charge sheet before the court as well. They asked the Registry to post the matter before the Bench after three months for reporting compliance of the orders.

While one of the petitioners said his son Satishkumar, aged 18 months in March 1999, was taken away from his home in Washermenpet, the second petitioner said his four-year-old son was abducted by an autorickshaw-borne gang. The third petitioner said his son, aged 18 months, went missing from home in February 1999.

As cases were registered and pending, the police informed the parents in 2006 that the children had been given in adoption to recipients in the Netherlands, Australia and the United States.

In their petitions, the parents contended that their children were yet to be reunited with them, and that the statutory agencies entrusted with the responsibility of verifying claims and records before approving inter-country adoptions had failed to act diligently.