The Jalpaiguri child trafficking racket in West Bengal continued to unravel with the CID arresting Mrinal Ghosh, the Darjeeling district child protection officer (DCPO) and Debasish Chanda, a doctor and member of the Darjeeling Child Welfare Committee (CWC) on Friday night for their alleged involvement in the scandal.
On Saturday, a district court sent Ghosh and Chanda to CID custody. Chanda used to help Chandana Chakraborty, the first one to be arrested when the north Bengal racket was busted, CID officers said.
The CID also interrogated Sashmita Ghosh, the Jalpaiguri DCPO and wife of Ghosh. Shasmita, too, may be arrested, CID officers said.
Interestingly, Mrinal Ghosh, the first government officer to be arrested in this case, was felicitated by the government in Kolkata last year for his performance.
The administration in the adjoining Cooch Behar district on Saturday asked Kalyani Barman, wife of former Trinamool minister Hiten Barman, to explain why she had shifted all the children from Matri Ashray - a home she runs for orphans and abandoned children - to her residence.
Barman has been given time till March 7 to reply to the notice and hand over the children. Keeping them at home was in violation of rules, the administration told her.
Though the notice issued to Barman and the CID probe into child trafficking had no link, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh alleged that the police was hesitant to touch people close to the ruling party.
The latest child trafficking case in Bengal has snowballed since the arrest of the BJP’s former Mahila Morcha leader, Juhi Chowdhury on Tuesday. During interrogation she named some “influential political personalities,” CID sources said.
Chandana Chakrobarty, her associate Sonali Mondal and Juhi Chowdhury have been interrogated for hours over the past few days. Chandana’s brother Manas Bhowmik has also been arrested.
In a parallel development near Kolkata, the South 24 Parganas police raided a private nursing home at Palta and arrested the owner and his son on Saturday. Both were sent to police custody by a district court. An investigation was ordered after three babies were rescued in November from a street in Palta. The babies were allegedly abandoned by a nursing home staff after a transaction fell through.
The racket was first busted by the CID in November last year during raids at nursing homes in the North and South 24 Parganas and outskirts of Kolkata.