Mumbai Crime: Caregiver of 5-year-old girl looks to sell her for Rs 20,000

A Kalyan woman was arrested for attempting to sell a 5-year-old girl abandoned by her mother and left in her custody

Shobha Bansi was trying to sell the 5-year-old for cash
Shobha Bansi was trying to sell the 5-year-old for cash

The anti-human trafficking cell of the Thane crime branch has arrested a 50-year-old Kalyan woman and managed to rescue a 5-year-old girl, who was allegedly being sold for Rs 20,000. The arrest came about when the crime branch officers laid a trap with a decoy customer and nabbed her red-handed. The woman is now in custody till July 6.

According to the police, the accused, identified as Shobha Bansi Gaikwad, is a private caregiver, who lives with her mother and her daughter’s kids.

Mum abandoned
In her statement to the police, the woman confessed that around three months ago, she ran into a former roommate of hers. “The mother of the victim told Shobha that she was a divorcee and looking to remarry. Shobha then arranged her marriage with a Gujarat-based man, but upon finding out about her daughter, tried to call off the wedding. To save the alliance, it was decided that the girl would live with Shobha and to that end, the mother handed over her child’s custody to Shobha on a R20 stamp paper,” said Ravindra Dhonkar, senior police inspector, anti-human trafficking cell, Thane crime branch.

While she handled the task for a while, Shobha had lately become weary of her charge and decided to sell the toddler for cash.

“She had spread word about a possible deal so when we were tipped off about it, we started tracing her. Then we contacted her through a decoy customer and after a meeting in Bhiwandi, which was recorded on camera, managed to strike a deal for R20,000. So, she was placed under arrest and we have proper evidence to prove our case,” added Dhonkar.

Cops say
Kalyani Patil, police sub-inspector on the same team, said, “A case has been registered under Section 81 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. She was produced in court on Friday and has been remanded to police custody till July 6. We will now also call the mother, and if she is found guilty, will take appropriate action against her,” added Patil.

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