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22 Feb 2017

CID glare on doctors in baby sale case - Residents seek closure of shelter

The road blockade at Debnagar in Jalpaiguri on Tuesday. Picture by Biplab Basak
TT, Feb. 21: Four doctors from Jalpaiguri are under the CID's scanner for allegedly giving fitness certificates for children who were illegally sold to couples in India and abroad.
The residents of Debnagar in Jalpaiguri town today raised a road blockade seeking the closure of a shelter for destitute women run by the NGO that is accused of the illegal sale of infants and the shift of the boarders.
Trinamul Congress workers demonstrated in front of the CID office in the town to protest the delay in the arrest of BJP leader Juhee Chowdhury who has been accused of having links with the infant sale racket.
The CID today seized more documents from the office and the home for the destitute women run by the NGO, North Bengal People's Development Centre. The NGO's head, Chandana Chakraborty, had been arrested in connection with the case. The CID also sealed the head office of the NGO in Jalpaiguri town.
Sources in the CID said they suspect that medical practitioners were involved in the illegal trade.
"We came to know that four doctors would give fitness certificates of infants to the couples who had approached the NGO authorities to adopt children. It is also learnt that they had issued certificates, saying children suffering from malnutrition were fit," said a CID officer.
Sources said the doctors would help Chandana with contact details of poor and destitute pregnant women.
The CID said more evidence was being collected against the doctors for taking a lawful action against them.
The residents of Debnagar, where Chandana runs Ashray, the home for the destitute women, put up the blockade on Jalpaiguri-Chaulhati Road for around two-and-a-half hours from 10 in the morning.
"Chandana is involved in the illegal sale of infants. A number of pregnant women were kept at this home before their delivery. This means, Ashray was also used for her illegal activity. We want the administration to close down the home and shift the boarders elsewhere," said Lata Mondal, a local resident.
Dipti Ghosh, the superintendent of Ashray, denied the charge. "Poor and destitute women have been staying at this home since 2012. Some pregnant women, who have nobody to take care of, also stayed here. But nothing illegal is being done here. The newborns are kept at Bimala Sishugriha (the home for infants)," she said.
The blockade was withdrawn around 12.30pm after Kotwali police reached the spot.
Later, a group of Trinamul workers, led by Saikat Chatterjee, the Jalpaiguri district Trinamul Youth president, demonstrated in front of the CID office on Station Road. They submitted a memorandum to the CID officials, demanding the immediate arrest of Juhee Chowdhury.
"We want Juhee Chowdhury to be arrested immediately. The CID should investigate whether her father and any prominent state leader of the BJP is involved in the case," Chatterjee said.
The CID team that is investigating the case again went to Ashray today and spoke to the employees.
"We wanted to know where pregnant women are taken for delivery and when they would return to Ashray. We have proof that mothers were asked to leave after some days without their infants and were even offered money," a CID source said.

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