Indian police have arrested 11 people for allegedly smuggling babies using biscuit tins and selling the infants to childless couples.
A senior official from Crime Investigation Department (CID) said police found two babies hidden in cardboard boxes in a medical storeroom during a raid on Monday in Baduria, West Bengal, reports ABC news.
The owner, midwives and other staff were arrested, along with court clerks suspected of making fake documentation for the children and the head of a charity which ran the adoption centre.
“The inquiry is underway and more information will be revealed only after some more progress is made,” said Bharat Lal Meena, deputy inspector general for the CID.
Police said initial investigations indicated that unmarried girls and women who visited the clinic for an abortion were persuaded by staff to give birth and sell their babies.
Local news reports said the mothers were given 300,000 rupees ($5,900) for a boy and 100,000 rupees ($2,000) for a girl.
Babies were also stolen from women who delivered at the clinic, but who were told by staff that their children were stillborn. Some were even shown the bodies of stillborn babies preserved by the clinic to dupe parents, police said.
The babies, mostly newborns, were then smuggled in cartons used to store biscuits, and taken by road to an adoption centre 25 kilometres away in Machlandapur, where they were sold on to childless couples.
“It was a well organised syndicate, incorporating all kinds of helping hands needed for the smuggling network,” said another CID official, who did not wish to be identified.
The CID officer said more arrests were likely in the coming days.
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