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Dowry cry in surrogacy death
- Woman’s brother files FIR, accuses in-laws of conspiracy

The death case of Hazaribagh’s first surrogate mother Ranjeeta Lal has taken a new turn with her brother lodging an FIR against her husband and in-laws, accusing them of conspiracy and dowry torture.

Ranjeeta’s husband Bikki Lal, a resident of Okhni, her father-in-law Vipin Bihari Lal, mother-in-law Asha Lal, brother-in-law Nikki Lal, sister-in-law Soni Sinha and her husband Abhay Sinha have been named in the FIR that Ranjan Sinha, alias Mukul, filed at Sadar police station after meeting superintendent of police Manoj Kaushik on Thursday evening. His mother Sunita Sinha had accompanied him.

The FIR (No. 789/14) invokes sections 498A (harassing women for dowry), 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 304B (dowry death due to cruelty), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 120B (conspiracy) of the IPC and Section 314 of the dowry prohibition act against the six.

According to Mukul, they had no idea that 29-year-old Ranjeeta, who had a cardiac problem and had been asked by doctors not to become pregnant again at the time of the birth of her first child, had been made the surrogate carrier of her sister-in-law’s baby.

“Bikki’s sister Soni was childless after eight years of marriage and so Ranjeeta was forcefully made the surrogate mother by her husband and in-laws. As a result, she died of a massive heart attack while giving birth to a boy at a Ranchi hospital on July 26. Bikki’s family also used to torture my sister for dowry. After knowing everything, the SP advised us to file the FIR so that a probe could be launched,” Mukul told The Telegraph.

He claimed that all along they had been kept in the dark about Ranjeeta’s second pregnancy.

“Ranjeeta was not in touch with us for the past seven months. Whenever we tried to contact her, Bikki’s family told us that she was in Calcutta to look after Soni. It was only after her death in Ranchi that we came to know about her surrogacy,” Mukul alleged.

Sub-inspector Surendra Paswan said a probe had already been started and police would take necessary action after going through all facts.

However, Bikki’s family dubbed all the charges as baseless.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one of the relatives said: “The dowry theory is completely rubbish. Ranjeeta was never tortured or forcibly made to carry Soni’s baby. She had agreed to become the surrogate mother and we have documents to prove that she died despite being provided all required medical facilities. Even we had agreed to deposit Rs 4 lakh for her 5-year-old son, Shubh, as per the demands of Ranjan and his family.”

Soni and her husband had undergone the IVF procedure in Calcutta and the embryo was implanted in Ranjeeta’s womb. For delivery, they took Ranjeeta to Ranchi’s Orchid Hospital where she died around 9pm on July 26.