Police bust child trafficking racket while searching for stolen baby

They caught two women red-handed while handing over a month-old baby to undercover women police personnel

While probing the theft of a newborn from a BBMP maternity hospital in Chamrajpete an hour after its birth in May 2020, a police team uncovered an inter-State child trafficking racket. Two women, who are allegedly part of the racket, were arrested on Monday.

The accused, Devi Shanmugam from Wilson Garden and Ranjana Devidas from Hongasandra, were caught red-handed while handing over a month-old baby, Kajol, to undercover women police personnel.

Sub-Inspector Srinivasa K.R. from Talaghatapura, who led the operation that busted the gang, said they had been alerted that the women were selling a baby girl. An undercover team approached Devi seeking to buy the child. Devi reportedly claimed that she could get them a child from Mumbai for a price of ₹3 lakh. She asked them to come to Majestic railway station with the cash on Monday.

The police filled the bag with currency notes and old newspaper bundles. When they met Devi at the station, she asked them to wait for a few minutes. Soon, a couple walked towards them and handed over the baby.

Srinivas and his team immediately caught the couple, Shankar Damodar Nayar and his wife Sunitha Nayar. “They hail from Airoli in Thane and work as labourers. They claimed to have three children, and Kajol was their fourth child. They were living in poverty. Ranjana approached them with an offer. She promised them money if they gave her Kajol. She promised them that the baby would be taken in by a rich couple in Bengaluru and had a bright future ahead of her,” said Srinivas. Ranjana convinced the couple and brought them to the city to hand over Kajol to Devi.

Sunitha and Kajol are currently at the State Home for Women while her husband has returned to take care of their other children. “They are victims, too, and will be counselled,” said the police.

Devi and Ranjana have been taken into 10 days’ custody for further investigation.

“The probe revealed that the duo have been running this racket for some time and have sold many children. They also arranged for women from Mumbai as surrogate mothers. We are questioning them to ascertain the extent of this racket,” Srinivas said.

The police are yet to find the newborn stolen from the hospital at Chamrajpete.

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