Andhra Pradesh

Child trafficking case could be tip of the iceberg, says CP

The detection of an alleged child trafficking case in the city involving a doctor and five others could just be the tip of the iceberg, says Commissioner of Police Rajeev Kumar Meena.

As of now the police have found six cases where newborn children were allegedly sold illegally. Two such recipients have been traced, and one couple has been arrested.

The hospital in Visakhapatnam was opened in January 2019 and so far about 56 deliveries were performed, as per the records.

The police sent a letter to the DMHO to conduct a search and seal the hospital and the process is on, said DCP Aishwarya Rastogi.

It is also learnt that Commissioner of Child Rights has also ordered an inquiry.

The arrested have been identified as Patchipala Namratha, MD of Universal Srushti Hospital in the Zilla Parishad area here, K.Venkata Lakshmi and B. Annapurna, both ASHA workers from V. Madugula mandal, A. Ramakrishna, son-in-law of Venkata Lakshmi, Dr. Tirumala working at the hospital and L. Chandra Mohan. The two receivers of babies have also been arrested.

The doctor allegedly has a criminal history and the police suspect that she could be involved in more cases, including in the hospital branches at Bhubaneswar and Kolkata.

Poor women targeted

Her modus operandi was to target women from BPL segment, especially those who have unwanted pregnancy, said Mr. Meena.

It is learnt that post delivery the doctor would send a newborn to another hospital, on the pretext that her hospital did not have an incubator facility and get the registration done in the name of recipients, who were projected as biological parents of the child. The birth certificates from GVMC were also obtained projecting the recipients as biological parents.

The police are also looking into other aspects such as illegal pregnancy and surrogacy.

The issue had come to light after a woman, a widow, became pregnant after an extramarital affair. The woman was convinced by the middlemen employed by the hospital to deliver the child and the surgery was performed on March 9. The newborn, a baby boy, was handed over to a couple from Kolkata.

But when an anganwadi teacher who was aware of the woman’s pregnancy questioned her, the women divulged the facts.

Further investigation is on and we will unearth more details shortly, said Mr. Meena.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 1:43:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/child-trafficking-case-could-be-tip-of-the-iceberg-says-cp/article32207741.ece

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