Abject poverty is said to have forced the tribal couple, Daravathu Vasundara and Murthy, to give their infant baby, who is their third daughter, in adoption to an issueless couple, say officials.
Ms. Vasundara, a native of Orirala Thanda of Nuzvid Rural mandal, had delivered the baby girl in the Nuzvid Area Government Hospital on November 10.
On the third day of her birth, the family members handed her over to Venugopal Rao and Usha Devi of Duvva village in West Godavari district through some mediators.
“As I have three daughters and am poverty-stricken, I gave the baby girl for adoption,” Mr. Murthy reportedly told the officials of the Women Development and Child Welfare (WD&CW) Department, who were inquiring into the illegal adoption case.
The officials are inquiring into whether the mediator, Vishnu, was involved in any illegal adoption cases earlier and whether money was involved in it.
Eluru District Collector V. Prasanna Venkatesh said the baby was in the safe custody of the WD&CW Department. The baby would be handed over either to the biological mother or the adopted mother only after the court judgment, he added.
The baby’s mother had undergone two abortions earlier, it was said. Investigation officers were inquiring into why Ms. Vasundara had to undergo medical termination of pregnancy, and why she kept quiet on the adoption issue for the last seven months.
“Mr. Murthy is a labourer. They are very poor. The family is unable to take care of the children,” said local residents.
The WD&CW officials and the police were also inquiring into whether the adoption had taken place inside the hospital premises or not.
“Mr. Murthy and his wife had lied that the baby died in the hospital,” said anganwadi workers.
“The anganwadi or Asha workers, or the mahila police did not cross-check the facts with the hospital and kept quiet for seven months,” said the Collector.
“Had the anganwadi workers or the mahila police enquired about on the delivery and discharge summary of the mother with the hospital authorities, the illegal adoption would have been unearthed immediately,” the Collector added.
The illegal adoption case had came to light only when the biological mother, demanding restoration of the baby, approached the officials,” said Nuzvid Rural SI T. Ramakrishna.
Superintendent of Police D. Mary Prasanthi said a case under Section 81 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act had been registered.
No arrests had been made in the case so far, she said.