Baby-selling racket busted in Mumbai, 6 held
The Mumbai crime branch on Monday arrested four people for allegedly kidnapping or buying babies and then selling them. Two boys, aged three months and two-and-a-half years respectively, were rescued, said police.
Two others were arrested for allegedly buying the infants.
“The gang sold newborns to childless couples or parents who wanted a boy. The gang was operating for more than three years and we are trying to find the number of children they kidnapped or bought and sold,” said Akbar Pathan, deputy commissioner of police (crime branch).
The police are also investigating if the group was linked to kidnapping babies from hospitals, after it was found that one of the accused — Savita Salunkhe, 30 — was arrested by the Kandivli police in 2016 for kidnapping a baby and she was later released on bail.
The five other accused have been identified as Sunanda Masane, 30; Bhagyashree Koli, 26; Asha alias Lalita Joseph, 35; Amar Desai, 30; and Bhagyashree Kadam, 42. Masane is a homemaker and Salunkhe works at Shatabdi Hospital as a security guard. Both live in Govandi. Koli is an agent at a surrogacy centre in Kurla, while Joseph worked at a private hospital. Both of them are residents of Kalyan.
Pathan said Masane and Salunkhe would approach pregnant women living in slums and then convince them to sell their children, while Koli and Joseph would search for couples who wanted a child.
Following a tip-off, unit-6 officers nabbed Masane, Koli, Joseph and Salunkhe, and during interrogations, they confessed to the baby-selling racket.
“During questioning, we came to know that three months ago, the gang sold a week-old boy to Desai in Bhiwandi. A police team then arrested Desai, a driver, for buying a boy for Rs3.85 lakh, because he had three daughters and wanted a son,” said Pathan, adding that they have traced the mother who sold her son.
“We found that the gang had sold another boy two-and-a-half years ago, when he was 12 days old, for Rs2.5 lakh, to Kadam in Kalyan. Kadam is a homemaker and her husband works in a private firm. The couple had no children and was approached by Koli,” said Pathan. The police are still tracing the child’s parents.