Saturday, August 11, 2012

To fund older son's treatment, mother sold newborn

Jaipur: A woman and her husband from Rajasthan were arrested on Thursday for "selling" their eight-day-old child to their neighbour for Rs. 40,000. They claim they needed the money for their two-year-old paralytic son's treatment. They are now out on bail.

Sandhya Devi, a resident of Sriganganagar, was pregnant when she was told by doctors in Udaipur that her elder son's treatment would cost Rs.40,000. Worried that she would not be able to gather that amount, she returned to her town, where a neighbour offered to help. But there was a catch. The neighbour said she would give her the money in exchange for her newborn, but only if she gave birth to a boy.

A couple of days later, when Sandhya Devi delivered a baby boy, the neighbour gave her Rs.20,000.

The couple claims poverty forced them to give their child away for adoption. "My elder child was sick so I had to give the newborn for adoption for Rs. 40,000. But I only got Rs. 20,000. The rest was sabotaged by that woman who was the middleman. Her name is Madhu, she is a midwife. She told me to take Rs. 20,000 for the time being and asked me to collect the rest from her home later. When I went to take the money, I did not get that," said Ashok Kumar, Sandhya Devi's husband. He works as a part-time salesman in Sriganganagar. The couple lives in a rented, one-room accommodation.

A team of the anti-human trafficking branch of Rajasthan Police got a tip-off about the illegal deal to sell the baby after which an investigation was launched.

"This baby was born in Bahl Hospital. He was given for adoption in return of money. An adoption can only be undertaken through the District Child Protection committee. Besides, no money or gifts can be exchanged in adoption cases," said a police officer who investigated the case.

A First Information Report was registered against Sandhya, her husband Ashok, neighbour Vinod Agarwal, his wife Shakuntala Devi and some officials who did the paperwork for the adoption on Wednesday evening. Five of them including Sandhya Devi and her husband were arrested on Thursday, but they were later released on bail. Their newborn child is now back with the couple.

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