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8 May 2017

CID locates nine sold kids

Chandana Chakraborty
TT, Jalpaiguri, May 7: The CID has traced nine children, who were allegedly sold to issueless couples by a Jalpaiguri-based NGO in an illegal manner, to different parts of the country, said sources in the investigation agency.
The children had been sold from Bimala Sishugriha, the orphanage run by the North Bengal Peoples' Development Centre headed by Chandana Chakraborty.
"The children and the nine couples were called by the investigators to Jalpaiguri last week. Six of the couples got their statements recorded in a court here, mentioning how Chandana had handed over the infants to them against money and without complying with norms," said a source in the CID.
In June last year, the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) of Jalpaiguri district had filed a complaint with the directorate of child rights and trafficking of the Bengal government, saying 17 infants who were at Bimala Sishugriha couldn't be found.
An investigation began and the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) also noticed similar anomalies and wrote to the CID, asking for a probe.
The CID registered a case early this year and arrested seven persons, including Chandana and the child protection officers of Jalpaiguri and Siliguri, for their alleged involvement in the illegal sale of infants.
"We are continuing the investigation and are trying to locate all those children who were illegally handed over to couples by Chandana. During the probe, we have found nine children. It is a matter of relief that all the children are in good health and mind and are being taken care of by the couples. But the fact that they have adopted the children illegally cannot be undermined," a CID officer said.
In course of the investigation, it has also been found that there are no records with the CWC of five of the nine children.
"This means, the children were kept at the orphanage and the CWC was not informed about it, which is illegal. There are records of the remaining four children but all of them were sold to couples against money," the officer said.
Some of the nine children, they said, have been tracked down to far-flung places like Pune, Allahabad and Purnia district of Bihar. Some children were adopted by couples in Bengal, said the sources.
"The nine couples have been asked to keep the children with themselves as of now. We will shortly write to the CARA, the highest authority in the country with regard to adoption, to decide on the children's future and what steps we should take in this regard," said Subodh Bhattacharya, a member of the Jalpaiguri CWC.
Some of the children are five to six years old now.
The CID is trying to find out how the childless couples came to know that Chandana was selling infants against money.
"It is an important link and we suspect a number of persons might have acted as contacts or mediators to help Chandana get such couples as clients," an investigating officer said.
As it is necessary to obtain a directive from the district and sessions court to hand over an orphan to a couple who has applied for adoption, the investigating agency is also trying to find out how many applications for adoption of infants from Chandana's orphanage are pending for hearing.
"An application had been filed in the court for the adoption of one of the nine children. Chandana, however, handed over the child to the couple concerned even before the court heard the case. There might be more such cases," said the CID officer.

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