Bengal nursing home owners held in child trafficking racket
Kolkata/Siliguri: A father-son duo, owners of a nursing home allegedly used as a “safe house” for trafficking children, have been arrested in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district, police said on Saturday.
Harisadhan Khan and Prabir Khan were held from Bhadura area under Falta Police station where they own the “Jiban Deep” nursing home.
Three babies, aged between three-six months, were recovered from a bush near Falta on November 29, prompting police to begin investigation.
Some suspects were arrested, and based on the information gleaned from them, police took the father and son into custody on Friday night.
“They have admitted during interrogation that they were a part in the child trafficking racket. They used to use the nursing home as a safe house.
“The children used to be brought to the nursing home from various places, and then sold for adoption,” said Additional Superintendent of Police Chandrasekhar Bardhan.
Police claimed that the nursing home was being run without any permission and license. It has been sealed.
This is the third child trafficking racket busted in the state in the past couple of months.
A number of doctors, hospital owners, nurses and attendants have been arrested by the state police’s CID in November-December last year following the unearthing of a newborn child trafficking racket in North 24 Parganas district’s Baduria.
Since late last month, six people – doctor Debasish Chanda, government official Mrinal Ghosh, BJP leader Juhi Chowdhury, child adoption centre chairperson-cum primary school headmistress Chandana Chakraborty, and two of her aides Sonali Mondal and Manas Bhowmick – have been arrested by the CID for their involvement in selling at least 17 children through shady adoption deals.
Chanda and Ghosh, arrested on Friday, have been remanded to CID custody for six days.
Ghosh, the Darjeeling District Child Protection Officer, was suspended with effect from Saturday, said District Magistrate Anurag Srivastav.
“It is a contractual post as are all posts under Integrated Child Protection Unit,” he said.
Chanda, a member of Darjeeling district Child Welfare Committee, was also an empanelled doctor of Jalpaiguri-based Bimala Sishu Griho, the child adoption centre that allegedly worked as a hub of child trafficking.
The CID also intensely grilled Jalpaiguri District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) Shashmita Ghosh in connection with the racket. Shashmita, the wife of Mrinal Ghosh, was earlier show caused by the District Magistrate for herAignorance about the thriving racket.
The Jalpaiguri trafficking case came to light after the CID acted on a complaint from the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), a statutory body of the Union Women and Child Development Ministry, about some irregularities related to some adoption centres in Jalpaiguri.
The CID registered a case and detained Chakraborty, who ran three children’s homes in north Bengal, as also her aide Mondal late last week. Both were subsequently arrested.
The CID has claimed that at least 17 children, inmates of the homes, were trafficked over the past one year. Some of them were sent for adoption to families abroad without following the laws of the land.