Baby-selling racket in Mumbai: 3 more held; 2 kids rescued

The accused arrested on Sunday are Lahu Nivatkar, 52; Preeti Shitap, 42; and Suraiya Khan, 37 — all Antop Hill residents.
Since July 1, officers of unit-6 have arrested 14 people in the case.(HT Photo)
Since July 1, officers of unit-6 have arrested 14 people in the case.(HT Photo)
Updated on Jul 15, 2019 01:06 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByManish K Pathak

The city crime branch on Sunday arrested three more persons from Antop Hill for their alleged involvement in a baby-selling racket busted earlier this month. Two boys, aged four years and eight years, respectively, were also rescued.

The accused arrested on Sunday are Lahu Nivatkar, 52; Preeti Shitap, 42; and Suraiya Khan, 37 — all Antop Hill residents. The biological parents of both the boys rescued have not been traced yet. “We have been inquiring with the accused, but they are not revealing the addresses and names of the real parents,” said Aparna Joshi, inspector, unit-6 and the investigating officer.

Since July 1, officers of unit-6 have arrested 14 people — including an all-women gang, and a few parents — in the case for allegedly buying, kidnapping babies or selling them. The police have so far rescued six boys — four from the city and two from Delhi.

Police said the accused gang of women used to keep a watch on poor, pregnant women living in slums. If the women delivered boys, the accused used to convince them to sell their babies to childless couples or parents seeking a son. “The accused used to tell the mothers of the baby boys that a legal adoption agreement would be made with the parents; that they would be paid a huge amount in exchange; and that they could visit their babies when they wished to. However, no agreement would finally be made,” said an officer.

Suraiya’s name cropped up while the police were questioning one of the accused, Zhuleumma Ismail Dalvi, 34, who was recently taken into custody from Byculla Jail, where she was lodged since February for allegedly selling a newborn baby to a Hyderabad couple. Suraiya, an agent for egg donors, was in touch with Zhuleumma, as well as with hospitals and doctors, said an officer. Nivatkar, a milk-seller, was childless, and came in touch with Suraiya, who promised him that she would arrange a boy for him. Nivatkar then paid 2.5 lakh to Suraiya for a baby boy in November 2014. On Sunday, the police rescued the boy, now four years and six months old, from Nivatkar’s residence and arrested him, said the officer.During inquiry, Suraiya said she had sold another boy to Shitap in 2012 for 1.5 lakh.

The officers then searched Shitap’s residence, rescued the eight-year-old boy and arrested her.

Police said Shitap has four daughters, but wanted a son, so she contacted Suraiya with Zhuleumma’s help.

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