Mumbai Crime: Girl child sold in guise of adoption for Rs 20,000 in Amboli

Updated: Jul 23, 2019, 10:35 IST | Arita Sarkar

In a first, Amboli police register case of a child being sold under the guise of an illegal deed of adoption

Mumbai Crime: Girl child sold in guise of adoption for Rs 20,000 in Amboli
According to the revised CARA guidelines that came into effect in August 2015, the adoption process is now online. Representation pic/Getty Images

The Amboli police recently registered a case of unlawful adoption after arresting the accused on June 26. Durgamiti Saha, 38, had allegedly sold her baby girl born at Cooper Hospital in Juhu on January 8 to 42-year-old Kirpal Singh. Against the Central Adoption and Registration Agency's (CARA) rules of adoption, Singh and Saha had filed a deed of adoption at the Andheri Metropolitan Court on January 22 with monetary compensation to the mother.

Two days after the child's birth, Saha's neighbour had alerted an NGO about the deal for Rs 1,50,000. Despite being warned by the NGO against doing so, Saha allegedly settled for a sum of Rs 20,000 and in February, handed her daughter over to Singh who took the infant to his wife in Punjab.

Also Read: Two minor girls sold off by parents for Rs 1,500 each; probe ordered

The matter was then brought to the notice of the Child Welfare Committee which filed a case with the Amboli police. The CWC took custody of the child after Singh's arrest on June 26. The seven-month-old is currently kept at Vatsalya Trust, an orphanage in Kanjurmarg, where she will stay until a legal conclusion in the case is drawn.

An NGO worker had visited Saha in the hospital after he got a tip-off on January 10. "When I met her, she told me that she suffers from epilepsy and hence couldn't take care of her child," he said. Saha, who has Nepali roots, claimed that her husband, Vijay Nepali, had abandoned her a year ago to go back to Nepal. She is currently getting treated for epilepsy at KEM hospital.

Also Read: Online petition seeks formation of anti-child predator squad

'Only a caretaker'

Mukta Phadtare, the investigating officer from Amboli police station said an FIR was registered against both Singh and Saha under the Juvenile Justice Act. "We will arrest Saha as well and are waiting for her to be in a stable medical condition before doing so," she said.

Saha, however, denied allegations of selling the child. "He [Singh] is like a brother to me. I had asked them to take care of my daughter until I got better and then I would take her back. He would only give me money to help me with my medical treatment. He didn't pay me for my daughter," she said. The deed, however, mentions that the girl would be their legal heir and would be entitled to inherit their property.

Singh's lawyer Falguni Brahmbhatt, too, refuted the allegations and said that Saha and Singh were unaware of the adoption laws. "She was threatened by CWC to admit that she had taken money in exchange. But this isn't true," she said.

Contradicting stories

While Saha said that Singh was a neighbour who she had known for more than two decades, Singh's lawyer said that they met at the gurudwara that Saha would often visit. The NGO worker, however, said that Saha had told her that she met Singh when she was working as a domestic help in a building in Andheri where Singh used to stay.

S A Jadhav, chairperson of the CWC, Mumbai Suburban, said that this is the first case they have encountered where people have tried to buy a child and have filed a deed of adoption hoping to avoid legal hassles. "Before adopting, parents have to be registered with CARA and only after CARA's orders can a legal deed be filed in court. There isn't enough awareness about the CARA guidelines," he said. Jadhav added that they are planning to carry out a DNA test of the girl to confirm the identity of her biological parents. After a detailed inquiry, a report will be submitted to the Department of Women and Child Welfare in the next couple of months.

Rs 1.5 lakh
Amount Singh agreed to pay Saha for the child

Rs 20k
Amount Saha finally settled for

Also Read: Minor Odisha girl sold to Bengal brothel

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