Photograph sent to Maneka Gandhi led to baby trafficking doctor's arrest

Feb 08, 2018, 11:01 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh

Hailed as a doctor of the poor, this homeopath from Kolhapur was moonlighting as a baby trafficker, selling newborns delivered at his hospital for '8 lakh to '10 lakh, depending on their gender

Dr Arun Patil has been remanded in police custody
Dr Arun Patil has been remanded in police custody

Hailed as a doctor of the poor, this homeopath from Kolhapur was moonlighting as a baby trafficker, selling newborns delivered at his hospital for '8 lakh to '10 lakh, depending on their gender. Identified as Arun Bhupal Patil, 55, he and his wife Ujjwala were arrested for their misdeeds.

The arrests occurred after a raid on Patil's hospital in Kolhapur. Acting on a tip-off received on a group photograph sent to union minister Maneka Gandhi, teams from the Central Adoption Resources Authority and District Women and Child Welfare Committee were sent to Kolhapur for busting the racket on Tuesday. Around 11.30 am that day, the officials raided the hospital and arrested Patil.

Case registered
A case was then registered with Shivaji Nagar police station under sections 370, 317, 176 and 34 of IPC. Following Patil's arrest, his followers surrounded the police station, asking them to free him because he is a doctor of the poor. Cops had to bring additional manpower and ask people to leave the premises. Patil has been running the hospital for the last 25 years and has been a local corporator.

'Not doing anything wrong'
His initial statement to the police said, "Me and my wife are not doing anything wrong or illegal. We are helping people who don't have a child and women who do not want a child and have approached us at the stage of their pregnancy when abortion is not possible."

Dr Dinesh Bari, additional superintendent of police (Kolhapur) said, "Patil has been arrested based on a tip-off from a photograph. We have sealed the hospital as well as collected the records. Preliminary probe reveals that unwedded mothers or women who want to abort their child would approach him.

Brainwashed them
"He took care of them and later brainwashed them into giving away their children for a price and later sold the babies for '8 lakh to 10 lakh. Patil would conduct two-three babies everyday. We have detained Dr SM Kodolikar, who used to conduct the sonography. He had untrained staff at the hospital," said Bari.

One of the children given to a Mumbai-based doctor was conceived by a 16-year-old. Bari added, "Under the POCSO Act, it is essential to report someone under 18 who has faced sexual abuse. It seems that the 16-year-old from our jurisdiction, who was pregnant, was planning to commit suicide. He asked her to deliver the child and kept her at his home till her delivery. She was then given '2 lakh by the Chattisgarh-based family that adopted her child. We have approached the minor."

Priyadarshni Chourge, chairman of the child welfare committee, said, "Patil was running the hospital for the last 25 years without any authority. It seems that he sold a male child for '10 lakh and a female child for '8 lakh. We are probing the case. A team is in Mumbai to track the doctor who had adopted a boy child from Patil and will be coming to Kolhapur for investigations. One girl child has been sent to Chhatisgarh while another boy has been handed over to family of a Mumbai-based doctor." On Wednesday, Patil was produced before the court of judicial magistrate, first class and remanded in police custody for seven days.

25 yrs
Time for which Patil had been running the hospital

Rs 2 lakh
Money given to minor by family that adopted her child

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