TT, Jalpaiguri, March 10: A probe by the Jalpaiguri district administration has revealed that Chandana Chakraborty, the main accused in the baby sale racket, handed over seven children to issueless couples though petitions for their adoption were still pending in the district and sessions court.
The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) had recently asked the directorate of child rights and trafficking of the state to cancel all petitions for adoption filed by Chandana's NGO.
The petitions were filed in the district and sessions court in Jalpaiguri. Chandana's NGO, North Bengal People's Development Centre, was the Specialised Adoption Agency (SAA) in Jalpaiguri district.
If any childless couple want to adopt a baby, they need to apply online through the CARA or approach the SAA.
The SAA then files a petition in the district court concerned where a hearing is conducted in detail. The court scrutinises all necessary documents on the child and the couple and then takes a final decision as to whether the baby can be provided for adoption.
The directorate, following the instruction from CARA, wrote to the district administration, instructing it to depute an officer to take up the matter with the district and sessions court and ascertain the details of the pending petitions filed by the NGO.
Accordingly, Rachna Bhagat, the district magistrate of Jalpaiguri, deputed Pijush Saha, the district social welfare officer of Jalpaiguri, as the nodal officer. Saha has been asked to work on the matter in liaison with Gautam Das, the government pleader of Jalpaiguri.
"Chandana had filed petitions for giving at least seven children for adoption in the court till September last year. But all hearings were pending. She didn't, however, bother to wait for the court's decision and handed over the children to the couples concerned," said source said.
The information came to light when Saha checked the petitions and cross-checked them with details of all 14 children who were shifted from Chandana's orphanage to three other homes in January.
"None of the seven children is among the 14 children. It is obvious that she had already handed over the seven children to couples," the source said.
On March 14, the sources said, the district social welfare department would appeal before the district and sessions court to cancel the petitions.
In the letter sent by CARA, it has also been mentioned that the district administration should find a new agency which can function as SAA and file fresh petitions in the district court to start adoption process.
Ananya Chakraborty, the chairperson of West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights, today held a meeting with the district magistrate at the circuit house. Later, she visited some shelters in Jalpaiguri town.
Tomorrow, administrative sources said, Ananya will hold a meeting with the administration and members of the Child Welfare Committee.