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Govt nod for DNA test

Cuttack, April 19: The controversy over alleged baby swapping at the obstetrics and gynaecology department of SCB Medical College and Hospital has taken a new turn with the Odisha government conceding in high court today for a DNA test.

The court was hearing a petition filed for direction to have a DNA test to resolve the dispute. Sushanta Mallick of Asureswar in Cuttack district filed the petition alleging that the newborn boy, which her wife Rashmita gave birth to, has been swapped.

Replying to notices issued on the petition, the Odisha government today countered that an internal inquiry and scrutiny of records at the hospital showed that the petitioner’s wife delivered a girl child, while a male child was born to another woman in the same ward around the same time.

A lady named Nirupama had given birth to a male child around 4.10pm on March 30 before Rashmita gave birth to a girl child the same day at 5.20pm, claimed the counter affidavit skirting the question of DNA test.

On the other hand, the petitioner’s counsel contested the government’s claim by insisting that the child born to Nirupama had not been handed over to her before the delivery of Rashmita’s child. As a matter of fact, both the babies were initially kept on the same tray. Besides, the name of Nirupama’s husband was Sukanta Mallick, while Rashmita’s husband was Sushanta Mallick, the petitioner’s counsel pointed out, indicating that these causes could have led to a substitution. On a query by the court, the state counsel verbally submitted that the Odisha government had no objection for a DNA test.

“Taking note of it, the division bench of Chief Justice V. Gopala Gowda and Justice S.K. Mishra observed that in order to facilitate an order for DNA test naming of the other couple — Sukanta Mallick and Nirupama Mallick — as parties in the case is necessary,” petitioner’s counsel Gopal Krushna Mohanty told The Telegraph today.

“The court directed to name Sukanta and Nirupama as parties in the case and adjourned hearing in the case till next week,” Mohanty said.

The court further ordered that the SCB authorities should take care of the child till the dispute is resolved.

SCB authorities, however, had said that Rashmita had given birth to a girl child.

With the hospital authorities categorically refusing to suo motu go for a DNA test to ascertain the biological parents of the abandoned girl child, Sushanta had turned to the high court for judicial intervention.