Stretching the limits of barbarism, the perpetrators of the baby trafficking racket left underweight and malnourished babies to die, focusing all their care on the healthy ones that fetched fat amounts. The 10-odd newborns rescued from an old-age home in Thakurpukur were condemned to languish in unhygienic conditions as they didn’t find ready takers.
Babies in the first category were all healthy and fair, who found ready takers in the illegal adoption market.
But there’s a third category, whose plight shocked even the seasoned investigators. “Babies born with medical problems were put to sleep and then buried,” said a member of the CID’s probe team. On Friday, two skeletons and three skulls were exhumed from the premises of the NGO (Sujit Dutta Memorial Trust) in Maslanadapur in North 24 Parganas that is under the scanner.
Irrespective of their condition, none of the babies were admitted to any hospital for treatment, said a CID officer. All they got was some attention by gynaecologists who were part of the racket.
“The condition of the 10 babies recovered from the Thakurpukur home shows that the racket involved people with no compassion whatsoever. They were all malnourished, underweight and weak. One will shudder to see the unhygienic conditions in which they were kept. The room was damp, dimly lit and poorly ventilated,” said another investigator, adding, “We have sent the skeletal remains for both post-mortem and forensic examination that can establish whether the babies were killed. In that case, murder charges will be slapped against the accused.”
On Saturday, CID sleuths launched a hunt to nab Basanti Chakraborty, assistant to Dr Santosh Samanta, and one of the key accused. The two were associated with Sree Krishna Nursing Home on College Street. Chakraborty used to smuggle out the babies. She would also scout for pregnant women who could be brought to the nursing home for delivery.
The baby trafficking racket busted last Monday has already become the largest baby-selling racket in the state. A total of 13 babies have been rescued so far. CID has also arrested 16 people so far. Police has slapped four sections of the IPC and three of the Juvenile Justice Act against all the accused. More than 50 babies were sold by the network in the past two years, CID sleuths have alleged. At least one of the babies was sold off to an US-based couple.
So far, CID investigators have found involvement of five establishments in the racket --- two NGOs in Maslandapur and Thakurpukur and three nursing homes in Baduria, College Street and Behala.