Homeopath Dr Babasaheb Khidrapure, believed to be the main accused in the dumping of 19 aborted foetuses in Mhaisal village in Maharashtra’s Sangli district, was arrested early Tuesday from Belgaum in neighbouring Karnataka .
Khidrapure will now be brought to Sangli and produced before a local court.
Police also suspect the role of five more medical practitioners in the case.
The police had stumbled upon the foetuses during the investigation of a case in which a 26-year-old woman died during abortion on February 28 at the private hospital of Khidrapure.
Preliminary police investigation indicated that five medical practitioners used to visit Bharati Hospital, run by Khidrapure and his wife. Police recovered few documents and registers from Bharati Hospital, which have names of those five medical practitioners.
The investigating team suspect involvement of these five in the abortion and dumping of foetus racket. Sangli police said five doctors are likely to be called any moment for recording statements. Two of them are from Karnataka state, sources said.
Police suspect an inter-state racket to be behind the abortion of foetuses. Since investigation revealed that Dr Khidrapure does not have a sonography machine, police think that women might be going somewhere else for sonography tests .
A register in Bharati Hospital has entries of women from districts like Kolhapur and Solapur in Maharashtra and Belgaum, and Gulbarga in Karnataka. According to Sangli police, Bharati Hospital has a basement, where Dr Khidrapure used to carry out abortions and the basement is equipped with modern medical tools, which are found in operation theatres.
Police have come to the conclusion that Dr Khidrapure used to wrap foetuses in a polythene bag and dump it near a stream after abortion. Police, so far, have recovered 19 foetuses and sent them for DNA tests, which will help trace parents and also throw light whether they were girls, police said.
Sangli SP Dattatreya Shinde said they had identified a few witnesses in the cases and would be called soon for recording statement.
The incident came to the light when Swati Jamdade died due to over bleeding while Dr Khidrapure was operating her for abortion.
Swati was pregnant with a girl the third time and her husband Pravin forced her to abort the baby at Bharati Hospital. Pravin was arrested and booked under section 304 of Indian Penal Code (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).
Police also plan to register offence against his parents who aborted the child after receiving DNA reports. Police suspect that local villagers might be working as ‘agents’ for Dr Khidrapure. “We have received such inputs and will act upon them,” said a police source.