Pradip Sahu, a 24-year-old out-of-work driver, wanted to own a passenger vehicle to become self-employed. But he had no money to buy one.
So Pradip, an alleged drunkard from Matiamahul village of Bargarh district, about 420 km west of Bhubaneswar, decided to raise money by selling his wife as a bride in Madhya Pradesh.
Some 1,000 girls from Bargarh district have been sold as brides over the past 10 years.
With the help of a middleman, Minketan Sahu, he took his wife, Kamalini (17), whom he married in 2008, to Tikamgarh district, 350 km north-east of Bhopal, on October 29 last year on the pretext of finding work. He took her to the residence of a farmer called Dasrath Lodhi and left her there.
Lodhi married her and was absconding, the police said.
The police rescued the girl following a complaint by her father, Kirti Sahu.
Pradip and Minketan were arrested on Saturday and charged with kidnapping a minor.
Kamalini was carrying a three-month child when a police team rescued her.
“On her father’s complaint, we sent a team to Tikamgarh and rescued the girl,” Bargarh Superintendent of Police Surya Thankapan told Hindustan Times on Sunday.