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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Men to testify in swap row

- Hyderabad lab seeks blood samples for DNA analysis

Cuttack, July 16: The forensic laboratory, which had conducted DNA test on the two women involved in a controversy over the biological parentage of Atmaja, the girl child abandoned three-and-a-half months ago at SCB Medical College and Hospital here, has sought for their husbands’ blood samples.

“Today when the case came up for hearing, Orissa High Court was informed that the registrar had received a letter from the director of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (Hyderabad). The letter stated that the blood samples of Sushanta Mallick and Sukanta Mallick were also required for the DNA test,” petitioner counsel Gopal Krushna Mohanty told The Telegraph.

However, the court was informed that Sushanta was in Dubai and would not be available for six months. “Taking note of it, the division bench of Chief Justice V. Gopala Gowda and Justice B.N. Mohapatra adjourned the case to tomorrow,” Mohanty said.

Rashmita Mallick of Asureswar in the Nischintkoili police limits in Cuttack district delivered a child at SCB around 5.20pm on March 30. Her husband Sushanta claimed that his wife had given birth to a male child, which was substituted with a newborn girl, thus sparking a controversy.

The controversy intensified when hospital authorities asserted that Rashmita had given birth to a girl child, but the couple refused to accept her. With the authorities categorically refusing to suo motu go for DNA test to ascertain the biological parents of the child, Sushanta turned to the high court on April 10.

Replying to notices issued on the petition, the state government claimed that an internal inquiry and scrutiny of records at the hospital showed that the petitioner’s wife had delivered a girl child, but a male child was born around that time in the same ward.

Sukanta’s wife Nirupama gave birth to a male child at 4.10pm on March 30. The baby had been handed over to Nirupama before Rashmita gave birth to the girl child at 5.20pm, the government claimed, but said it had no objection to a DNA test.

In an interim order on April 24, the high court ordered for collection of blood samples of Rashmita and Nirupama, along with blood samples of their babies, for the test.

The blood samples were collected in the presence of a high court registrar on May 2 and sent to the laboratory in Hyderabad.

Atmaja (as the girl child has been named by the SCB authorities), who was left abandoned at the obstetrics and gynaecology department, is under care at the hospital’s special neonatal care unit. “Her condition is fine and stable,” said senior hospital manager Srikant Mohapatra.