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CBI wants swap report kept under wraps

After spending Rs 4 crore and four years to find out what happened to Anup and Keya Bhattacharya’s ‘male child’ in the infamous baby swap case at Medical College and Hospital nearly six years ago, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday submitted a report to Calcutta High Court.

But with a rider — that the report be kept under wraps, “in the larger interests of society”.

Many of the 78 pairs of father-child DNA samples the CBI tested during the paternity probe did not match, the report submitted by the investigating agency said, hinting at a larger social problem on hand.

Anup and Keya Bhattacharya became “proud parents of a baby boy” at M.R. Bangur Hospital on May 26, 1997. The baby’s condition, however, deteriorated the next day, forcing M.R. Bangur to shift him to Medical College and Hospital, with better neo-natal care facilities.

The boy’s condition reportedly improved and he was ready for release on June 5. That day, however, Keya — who had gone home from M.R. Bangur — was handed over a girl.

She protested, and when she was forced to take the baby girl given to her, she and her husband lodged an FIR with the Bowbazar police.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID), initially asked to get to the bottom of the case, gave up within a year, saying it did not have the scientific knowhow to crack it. The case was handed over to the CBI in December 1998.

The agency took DNA samples of 78 other father-child pairs for infants born in Medical College and Hospital around the same time. But the test results caught everyone off guard. Many of the pairs did not match, implying the legal fathers were not the biological fathers of many of the babies.

The CBI is now arguing that the findings should not be made public, as they have the potential to “cause social tension”.

But the Bhattacharyas had, argued counsel Supradip Ray, filed a habeas corpus to get their son back, “dead or alive”.

That the CBI, having failed to trace the boy, was now advocating secrecy was “unfortunate”, he added. “The report should be made public, as people have a right to know what is going on in society,” said Ray.

The division bench, comprising Justices Sujit Barman Roy and Narayan Sil, has asked the CBI for a few more copies of the report, before it delivers its verdict.

Adrita, the girl at the centre of the drama, whom the Bhattacharyas refused to accept, is now growing up in the care of former Chief Justice A.M. Bhattacharya and family.

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