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Couple sell newborn for Rs 6000

Bhubaneswar, July 16: Driven by grinding poverty, a couple from a city slum sold their baby boy for Rs 6,000 about a week ago. The sale was made through a deed made on stamp paper on July 9.

Kharavela Nagar police today detained Shyamachandra Rao, 35, and Pramila Rao, 29, residents of a slum near Press Colony, following a complaint from members of the child welfare committee (CWC), Khurda.

They have also rescued a nine-year-old daughter of the couple, who was in the custody of an old woman in the same neighbourhood.

Late at night, inspector in charge of Kharavela Nagar police station Nihar Ranjan Pradhan said the child had been rescued from Jagatsinghpur and was being brought here along with the buyers.

Based on the statement of their 13-year-old son, who went missing from Berhampur in April but was rescued from Vishakhapatnam and handed over to Childline, Bhubaneswar, on July 12, the committee alleged that the couple had earlier sold their other two sons.

Shyamachandra, who is a native of Golasahi, Berhampur, is a daily wager and has been without a job for a year now. While he has admitted to having sold his 22-day-old baby for Rs 6,000 to Ranjit Choudhury and Chandni Choudhury, who also reside in the slum near Press colony, he has denied charges of having sold his two other sons.

Shyamachandra told the police that he had four children, including three sons, of whom one died four years ago. While his only daughter was rescued today, his 13-year-old son is now in the custody of Childline, Bhubaneswar.

“The only other son I had was the baby boy I sold for Rs 6,000,” he told the police.

Members of the CWC said that the allegation about the sale of two other children was based on the statement of the boy rescued from Vishakhapatnam. He made the statement in the course of counselling.

“Based on his statement, we visited his parents’ house in the slum near Press colony. His father showed us the deed through which he has sold his 22-day-old son. Subsequently, we lodged a complaint with the police,” said Benudhar Senapati, a CWC member.

The police said the couple confessed to having sold their newborn baby, but denied allegations of selling two others.

“Shyamachandra has been living in the area for the past 18 years,” said a police official.

“We are also trying to verify allegations about the sale of his two other children,” said police commissioner R.P. Sharma.

The police said the Choudhury couple, who bought the baby from Shyamacharan, have handed it over to one of their daughters, who had no sons of her own.

In a similar incident last month, the police arrested six persons for selling a baby boy in Nimapara in Puri district.

Trinath Nayak, a rickshawpuller had allegedly sold his 4-day-old son to Biranchi Das and Kadambani Das of Bodhei village in Nimapara with the help of a mediator for Rs 15,000 on May 30.

Following a complaint by rickshawpuller’s wife Sulochana, the police arrested Trinath, Biranchi, Kadambini, their daughter, son-in-law and mediator Bijay Nayak.