The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Doctor duo caught selling baby

Mumbai, Jan. 25: A baby-selling racket involving two senior doctors has caused a stir in the city.

Jawahar Bijalani and Janaki Bijalani, a doctor couple running a nursing home in Breach Candy, were caught by police this week for stealing a baby from JJ Hospital and selling it for Rs 92,000 to a Delhi couple.

The Bijalanis have reportedly told the police that they sold a child to a Delhi-based couple.

“The couple who bought the baby has been brought to the city by the police today,” said an officer of JJ Marg police station, which is looking into the case.

A sequence of dramatic events led to the arrest of the doctors. On January 16, a child born to Vidya Chavan was kidnapped from JJ Hospital by a couple dressed as a ward boy and a doctor. Four days later, a doctor and a nurse from a private clinic came to JJ Hospital carrying a new-born, who, they said, needed urgent treatment.

The hospital asked about the baby’s parents. The “parents” could not answer when asked about the baby’s feeding patterns. Feeling something was amiss, the staff called the JJ Marg police station. By the time the police arrived, the “parents” had vanished.

The attendant of the private clinic accompanying the baby then told the police that the baby had first been taken to the Bijalani’s clinic from JJ Hospital. After their arrest, the Bijalanis reportedly also told the police that they had sold a baby for Rs 92,000.

The police dispatched three teams to Delhi to search for the couple. Today they have been brought to Mumbai, police said.

There are other complaints also against the Bijalanis and this could just be the tip of a huge child-selling racket, a police officer said.

It is not clear, however, whether the baby that was sold to the Delhi couple is the same as the one born to Vidya Chavan.

To ascertain this, DNA samples, taken from the baby, Vidya and her husband have been sent to Hyderabad for tests. “The results should come within 10 days,” the police officer said.

Vidya has not been allowed to see the baby, as the police and doctors feel it will not be possible for her to identify the child.

JJ Hospital is under pressure on account of the kidnap. A 300-odd mob of Meghwal Gujaratis, the community to which Vidya belongs, protested against hospital authorities on Thursday.

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