The police probing into the alleged surrogacy-cum-child trafficking racket are in for a shock after discovering the ‘well-oiled network’ of the gang members operating from different places in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
The suspects would target the poor and broken families and lure women for undergoing surrogacy process. They used to demand more than ₹5 lakh from childless couples, the police said.
The police took seven suspects including five women from Vijayawada into custody. The five-member gang allegedly involved in the case lured more women in Vijayawada and Guntur districts, the officials said.
“The gang allegedly has links with some para-medical and technical staff working in IVF centres, maternity and children’s hospitals and diagnostic centres. Several doctors and hospital managements are also suspected to be involved in the racket,” said an investigation officer.
The suspects were sent to jail earlier for their alleged involvement in child trafficking and selling cases. They were resorting to the same business while facing court trials, the officers said.
The police which seized mobile phones of the suspects. A woman, among the suspects, reportedly threw her phone into a canal, while being taken into custody.
“The case should be investigated by Medical and Health, Police, Juvenile Welfare, Women Development and Child Welfare Departments. The government should order a thorough probe into the racket,” said a child rights activist.
Eluru Superintendent of Police Rahul Dev Sharma on Friday said that the suspects were being questioned.
“We are trying to find out how many babies were sold and who took the infants, apart from the details pertaining to mediators and agents. We are also trying to ascertain whether any agreement was made between the gang members, sellers and the buyers and how much money was involved in the racket,” Mr. Sharma told The Hindu.
“The police have registered cases and a detailed investigation is being done,” he said.