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Mumbai Police busts interstate child selling racket, doctor held



Babies sold for between Rs 80k and Rs. 4 lakh, say police

In the said case, an FIR was registered at Vikhroli Police Station under section 370, 34 of the Indian Penal Code with 75, 81, 83 Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015. (Representational Image)


THE MUMBAI police on Sunday busted an interstate child selling racket spanning three states — Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh – and arrested seven persons while three others have been detained. The seven arrested accused include a doctor who allegedly worked as a middleman in one case as per police.

In all, the police said the accused have claimed to have sold 14 children over the past two years aged between five days to nine months. While two children — a girl and a boy — have been traced and handed over to Asha workers, the police are on the lookout for the other 12 children who were sold by the accused.

DCP (enforcement) Ragasudha R said, “We have busted an inter-state racket where children from poor families were being sold by agents to those families willing to pay money for the same. The agents charged anywhere between Rs 80,000 to Rs 4 lakh depending upon the client.” She added that rates also depended on the sex of the child, skin colour among other factors.

“In these cases usually, the demand came from Telangana and Andhra while the supply was from Maharashtra. Some of the accused working as agents worked at fertility clinics in these states. This is how they knew of couples who were trying for children and approached them with offers to help them get children,” the officer said.

A source said that since Telangana is a hub for fertility centres, many of the accused may have operated from there. Some of the accused were also known to have donated eggs every few months which was against the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020 that allows a woman to donate her eggs only once during her lifetime, an officer said.

The officer said that Unit II of the crime branch on Saturday received a tip off that a five-month- old baby of a woman was sold to a Vikhroli resident by one of the accused Sheetal Vare, an accused in the case, back in December 2022. The police team traced her to her Govandi residence and questioned her.

As per police, during the questioning Vare told them that she sold the baby to one Dr. Sanjay Sopanrao Khandare (BHMS) and Vandana Amit Pawar who in turn admitted to selling the baby to Sanjay Pawar and his wife Savita for Rs. 2 lakh. When the police team went to Ratnagiri district to search for the 5-month-old baby, she was found at the residence of the Pawar’s in Guhagar.

In the said case, an FIR was registered at Vikhroli Police Station under section 370, 34 of the Indian Penal Code with 75, 81, 83 Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015.

In the investigation, it was found that Sheetal Vare, with the help of her agent partner Sharad Maruti Dewar and Sneha Yuvraj Suryavanshi, had sold another two-year-old girl from Malad for Rs 2.5 lakh to someone in Nallasopara. This girl was rescued from a Lilendra Shetty to whom she was sold.

The two rescued children were then handed over to the Bal Asha Trust, Mahalaxmi for care and safety, the officer said. She added that in most cases, there was a network of two to three agents mostly across states through which the buyer and seller were linked. “While the women selling the kid would just get Rs 20000 – 30000, the agents each would make around Rs 50000 per deal,” an officer said.

The seven arrested accused have been identified as Vandana Pawar (28), Shital Ganesh Ware (41), Sneha Yuvraj Suryavanshi (24), Nasima Hanif Khan (28), Lata Ganabhau Surwade (36), Sharad Maruti Dewar (45) and Dr. Sanjay Sopanrao Khandare (42). They were produced before the court and remanded to police custody for five days.


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