Extreme poverty drove a cart-puller in Assam's Barak Valley to sell his newborn daughter for Rs 700 barely three days after she was born.
According to an inquiry committee's report, Kalpana Das, the wife of cart-puller Niranjan Das of Bajimara village in Hailakandi district, was admitted to state-run Silchar Medical College Hospital's obstetrics department on November 24 and gave birth to a daughter the next day.
The report, quoting Das, said he discussed his financial problem with relatives of another woman in the same ward, and gave away his newborn to them for Rs 700 without informing the hospital authorities on November 28.
Das claimed he gave the baby of his own accord after consulting his wife and that the people who took his baby could not be traced.
The woman whose relatives bought the baby had also been discharged from the hospital, he said.
The inquiry commission was constituted by the medical college's principal following media allegations that a child trafficking racket was operating at the hospital and Das had sold his baby to meet the expenses on his wife's treatment.
The inquiry also stated that Das was a below poverty line (BPL) card holder and there was no question of him making a payment of Rs 1,200 for the delivery of his child.
Border Areas Development Minister Gautam Roy, who is also chairman of the hospital's governing body, visited the institution to take stock of the situation.
Questions were raised as to how the baby was taken away from the ward in the presence of nurses and doctors.