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Doctor held for baby sale

Calcutta, Nov. 12: The owner of a private clinic and four others, including a doctor, were arrested in Kakdwip today for stealing a newborn and selling it to a childless couple.

Deputy inspector-general of police, headquarters, Narayan Ghosh said Chandana Maiti had on August 29 given birth to a baby girl at the Emily nursing home in Kakdwip town in South 24-Parganas. But when her husband Uttam came to the clinic the next day, he was told the girl had died.

The distraught father was not even allowed to take a look at the baby. Instead, Chandana was handed a discharge certificate by the resident medical officer (RMO), Ashis Sarkar, who is absconding.

After a few days, Chandana — who has a son and wanted a girl this time — came to know from local residents that a childless couple had adopted a newborn. She became suspicious and told her husband.

Sometime in September, Chandana and Uttam visited the nursing home. They were told that the RMO had handed over the baby to Kumuda Neogi, mother-in-law of Alaka, the childless housewife. Alaka’s uterus had been removed during a surgery two years ago.

Kumuda, who used to sell milk to the RMO, gave Chandana and Uttam a detailed account of how she had fetched the baby and decided to hand it over to her son Biswanath and his wife.

Chandana was convinced that her baby was still alive. She and her husband went to the Kakdwip police station and lodged a complaint against two doctors of the nursing home, its owner, a nurse and two attendants. As the RMO is absconding, the police could interrogate only five of those named in the FIR. They learnt that one of the doctors, Manas Shasmal, had informed the couple that their baby was dead.

The five were arrested this afternoon and produced in the Diamond Harbour court. They have been remanded in jail custody till November 19.

Ghosh said the police have urged the court to hand over the baby adopted by the Neogis to Chandana if circumstantial evidence proves she is the mother. Otherwise, the court may ask Chandana and her husband to undergo a DNA test. The DIG said the police were yet to find out how much money changed hands.

B. Garg, additional superintendent of police (rural), said the police have brought charges of stealing the baby and selling it against the six accused. “We are now looking for Ashis Sarkar, who is the mastermind behind the operation,” he said, adding that the RMO would be picked up in a day or two.

Prabir Banerjee, a sub-inspector with the Kakdwip police station, said a police picket has been posted near the nursing home to prevent trouble. The police had a tough time controlling local residents who had gathered in front of the nursing home hours after the five were arrested.

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