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NRI kids in fresh row, state panel orders probe

Bengal committee considers handing children over to the mother, but case complicated as Norwegian govt involved.

kolkata Updated: May 27, 2012 00:43 IST
Soumen Datta
Soumen Datta
Hindustan Times

Even before the dust could settle on the custody row, the Norway kids - Abhigyan (4 years) and Aishwarya (16 months) - have been caught in a new controversy.

This time the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) of the state government has entered the fray by kicking off its own probe to determine the well being of the children and, if it is not satisfied, to hand over the minors to their mother Sagarika.

Abhigyan and Aishwarya were taken away from their parents - Sagarika and Anurup Bhattacharya - by Norwegian authorities in May 2011 on grounds of "emotional disconnect". On April 22, the children were handed in the care of their uncle Arunabhas Bhattacharya.

"We would visit the Bhattacharyas' Kulti residence, along with Sagarika, to examine the condition of the babies. If we are not convinced, we would start the process of handing them over to their mother," Minati Adhikari, chairperson CWC, told HT on Saturday.

Though Indian laws lay down the overriding claim of a mother on her minor children, this case may entail complications as the children were handed over to their uncle by the Norwegian authorities after protracted negotiations between the governments.

The custody battle took a new turn on Wednesday when Sagarika's father Manotosh Chakraborty went to see the babies. According to Sagarika, her father was not allowed to enter the house.

On Thursday, Sagarika lodged an FIR alleging her father-in-law Ajay Bhattacharya didn't let her inside the house. On Friday, Ajay Bhattacharya lodged an FIR alleging that Sagarika had barged into their house with outsiders and threatened them.

The CWC, meanwhile, is waiting to clarify the clause in the agreement between the Indian ambassador in Norway and the Child Welfare Agency of Norway. The CWC is also consulting legal experts on the matter.

First Published: May 26, 2012 23:27 IST