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20 Feb 2017

Jalpaiguri Newborn Trafficking: District BJP Mahila Morcha Chief's Name In FIR

MP, 19 February 2016, Jalpaiguri: After finding 'close connection' of BJP Mahila Morcha leader Juhi Chowdhury with the prime accused of the child trafficking racket in Jalpaiguri, CID started a suo motu case against the BJP leader.

The BJP leader's name is present in the FIR that the investigating agency had initiated in this connection. In a major breakthrough, the CID had unearthed another newborn baby trafficking racket operating from destitute homes in Jalpaiguri and arrested the kingpin who is headmistress of a primary school.

The FIR was lodged after the investigating officers came to know about Juhi's support to the prime accused Chandana Chakraborty, who was the chairperson of the homes and the headmistress of a primary school in Maynaguri, in running the racket.

The investigating officers came to know that the chairperson of the destitute homes went to Delhi several times along with the BJP leader to "manage" Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA). The central organisation had been repeatedly pulling up Chakraborty as there had been discrepancies in the data over adoption of children that she had provided to CARA. She was also scheduled to go to Delhi on Sunday along with the BJP leader.

Chakraborty was first detained from her school on Saturday and later shown arrested after the investigating officers found discrepancies in her statement. Sonali Mondal, an employee of the home, was also arrested on Sunday morning.

A month ago, Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and Social Welfare Department held a probe and found certain discrepancies in the documents provided by the homes in Jalpaiguri. Subsequently, 14 newborn babies were shifted to another home from Chakraborty's Bimala Sishu Griha on January 16 as per the direction of the CWC after their investigation.

CID was also informed about the discrepancies. Eight members of the SOG headed by inspector Saugata Ghosh went to Jalpaiguri four days ago after receiving a tip-off. But instead of conducting a raid immediately after reaching Jalpaiguri, the members of the SOG kept a watch on the activities of the homes. They had also tracked phone calls of the chairperson of the homes. After getting enough materials in their hand which proved that children were being trafficked from the homes, the CID officers conducted raids in all the three destitute homes at the same time. They seized several documents. The bank accounts of the homes and Chakraborty have been freezed by the investigating agency.

Investigation revealed that the home authorities used to give shelter to "unmarried pregnant women" till they give birth to their child. Later, the same newborn was sold by the home authorities. Preliminary investigation suggests that at least 17 newborn babies were trafficked till date.
An investigating officer said "prospective customers" were allowed to come and have a look at all the children kept one after the other in a line and the price of each babies was fixed almost in the form of auction. The highest bidder used to get the child of their choice.

Both the arrested women were produced before a court in Jalpaiguri on Sunday and they will be brought to Bhawani Bhavan.

It may be mentioned that in the end of November 2016, the CID had unearthed a major child trafficking racket operating from destitute homes and private nursing homes in the outskirts of Kolkata, North and South 24 Parganas. Involvement of some doctors from the city also came to light. CID officers will interrogate Chakraborty to know whether she had connection with any of the doctors in the city.


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