Andhra Pradesh

Surrogacy racket busted in Andhra Pradesh, baby girl rescued

Women and Child Welfare Department officials with the rescued baby in Eluru on July 27, 2022. Photo: Special Arrangement

Women and Child Welfare Department officials with the rescued baby in Eluru on July 27, 2022. Photo: Special Arrangement

In a major operation, the Women Development and Child Welfare (WD&CW) Department officials have busted a surrogacy racket and rescued a baby girl who was allegedly sold away by the gang.

The officials said the suspects, all natives of Vijayawada and Eluru district, had allegedly sold away many babies in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in the last several years. The gang members, which was operating in NTR, Guntur and Eluru districts, were communicating through social media groups. They had sold away babies for ₹3 lakh to ₹5 lakh, the investigation officers said.

Modus operandi

Describing the modus operandi, the officials said the gang would develop contacts in IVF centres and laboratories, meet childless couples and poor women. They would explain both the parties about the surrogacy process and strike deals.

The adopting parents would give ₹50,000 to the surrogate mother and take care of her till the delivery. After handing over the infant to the childless couples, the gang will pay ₹1 lakh more to the surrogate mother and share the rest amount among themselves, the officials said.

The officials busted the racket with the rescue of a baby girl delivered by a 16-year-old girl from Pedavegi mandal in Eluru district.

The ninth class dropout delivered in Eluru Government Hospital on June 4. But, the baby went missing. Acting on a complaint, the Pedavegi police registered a case under POCSO Act, 2012. They arrested husband of the sister of the mother.

During interrogation, the family members reportedly confessed to have sold the baby girl for ₹2.90 lakh to the gang.

“We suspect involvement of more people and some hospitals in Vijayawada and Guntur in the racket. It appears some doctors, egg donors and some women are also involved. The baby girl was traced in Guntur,” said one of the official associated with the investigation.

Women and Child Welfare Director A. Siri said that a detailed investigation would be done.

Meanwhile, the investigation team led by Women Development and Child Welfare Eluru district Project Director K.V.S.L. Padmavathi summoned suspects – T. Durga of Raja Rajeswaripeta; Ch. Bhavani, a native of Ravichettu Centre; anganwadi ayah M. Nagamani of Pedavegi mandal; and G. Vijaya Lakshmi, a resident of Ambedkar Nagar of Gollapudi in Vijayawada.

The officers are questioning the family members and the accused, who was arrested under the POCSO Act. The gang reportedly came in contact with the minor girl through Nagamani and paid ₹80,000 to her family members, District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) Ch. Suryachakra Veni said.

The accused, along with the seized agreement copies and other documents, would be handed over to the police for further investigation, the officials said.

The baby would be shifted to the government-run Sishu Gruha after being produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), and the minor girl would be sent to a Child Care Institution (CCI), the DCPO said.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2022 8:03:27 pm |