In a blatant violation of the Pre-Conception (PC) and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Test (PNDT) Act, a doctor was found guilty of conducting sex determination test at a farmhouse near Mandi Ahmedgarh.
A team of police officials from Ludhiana accompanied by a health official raided the farmhouse with this correspondent, who acted as a decoy patient.
Having got a tip-off from gynaecologists who were getting cases of pregnant women who had undergone the sex determination test, this correspondent posing as an expectant mother with 13 weeks' pregnancy contacted Davinder Singh, a laboratory owner, who acted as a mediator between doctors and patients.
The correspondent after fixing an appointment with Davinder Singh met him at his clinical lab at Himmat Singh Nagar near Dugri on Monday (September 10) at 2pm. When the mediator enquired about the family, the correspondent said she was a Hindu woman married to a Jat Sikh; the couple had two daughters and the family desperately wanted a male child.
Davinder was convinced and said the sex determination test would cost Rs 8,000. He also gave the option of getting the test done in the city or outside it at a secluded place. Thereafter, he called up three people and fixed up the time and place.
Ludhiana deputy commissioner Rahul Tewari and deputy commissioner of police Gurpreet Singh Toor were sounded. The police team, comprising Harvinder, Sukhdev and five other policemen, was led by assistant commissioner of police, west, Gurpreet Purewal. Health official Dr Manjit Singh was also part of the team.
One of the policemen and this correspondent posing as couple reached the lab at 10.20am and after receiving the money, Davinder gave them directions about the farmhouse.
He asked the couple to say 'Billu ne bhejaya hai' as the code word after reaching the farmhouse. The police team followed the 'couple' in civil dress.
Soon after reaching the place at 11am, the team from Ludhiana called the police and health officials from Sangrur as the area falls under their jurisdiction.
A caretaker at the farmhouse, acting as the doctor's assistant who brings patients from various other districts, met the decoy patient at the entrance and soon after hearing the code, asked her to go to the washroom. Thereafter, the police in civil dress entered the farmhouse and caught the doctor, caretaker and his wife. The police also spotted a family leaving in a car with the Delhi number.
The doctor later confessed to having conducted the test, saying her report was "negative", meaning a female foetus.
The doctor's diary recovered by the police carried the details of the daily income that went upwards of Rs 40,000.
The caretaker said he got patients with the help of public relation officers of hospitals in Ludhiana, Sangrur and Barnala besides from quacks. The amount charged from each patient varied from Rs 8000 to Rs 12,000 and was divided among the doctor, mediator, doctor's assistant and the PRO concerned.
However, the health officials from the office of the civil surgeon, Sangrur, said the confession of the doctor was not enough and in the absence of a written complaint they would not be able to make a strong case under the PC and PNDT Act.
Also, the ultrasound machine of the doctor was registered and boards saying "no sex determination test is done here" had been put up at various places, they said.
Previous raids found nothing amiss
Ludhiana civil surgeon Dr Subhash Batta and Sangrur civil surgeon Dr HS Bali had conducted raids in the area a few weeks ago and had found nothing amiss.