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2-year-old boy rescued and returned to mother in Ambernath, 5 held

By Anamika Gharat, Thane
PUBLISHED ON SEP 27, 2020 12:53 AM IST

The Ambernath police have arrested five persons on Thursday in connection with child trafficking and kidnapping case.

The five kidnapped a two-and-a-half year old boy from Circus Maidan area in Ambernath and sold him for 70,000. The boy’s mother had registered a missing complaint report on September 15. The toddler was rescued by Ambernath police and handed over to the mother.

The five accused, which include three women, Puja Shettiyar, (28), Jaynatabi Khan, (33), Sheru Saroj, (45), Mukesh Kharwa, 36 and Maya Kale, 30, are allegedly small-time thieves and drug addicts, claimed the police.

The boy, Vikas Mandal, is the son of Vijaya Mandal, 30. She stays in a slum near Circus Maidan. According to police, Kale has a small pan shop in the area and sees Vikas regularly when he used to come and play on the ground near her shop.

Shettiyar was the customer to whom the remaining four tried to sell the toddler. She works as a labourer.

A police official requesting anonymity said, “As per Shettiyar’s statement, her husband left her three years ago when she was pregnant. She was unwell after her delivery and unable to take care of the baby, so she sold him to someone in Mumbai. Her in-laws recently told her that they were ready to accept her and the child, so she wanted a child around Vikas’s age to show them as her own. In her statement, she told us that she mortgaged her house and could afford to pay 70,000 for a child that age.”

Shettiyar circulated the message that she was looking for a child. Saroj and Khan, along with Kharwa, devised a plan to kidnap Vikas and took Kale’s help for the same. They took him on September 15 when he was playing outside his house.

Senior police inspector, S Dhumal, said, “After the child’s mother lodged a complaint, we conducted a search in the same area. We found no trace of the child. Later, we asked all the auto rickshaw drivers and shopkeepers about the boy. We came to know that Kale was seen with the boy and arrested her and the remaining accused. We also found the boy with Shettiyar, who also resides in Ambernath.”

Dhumal said that the accused have being changing their statements constantly and they were still verifying the claim that the baby was taken for Shettiyar, as the police suspect that Shettiyar might be further selling him to someone else.

Dhumal said, “All the accused have been booked for kidnapping and child trafficking, and remanded in police custody till October 2.”

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