Newborn girl rescued, four arrested

Kendrapara: Odisha police today rescued a newborn girl, whose parents had to allegedly sell her to a childless couple to settle their nursing home bill, and arrested four persons, including its proprietor.

The incident had come to light yesterday after the newborn’s father lodged a police complaint that the ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activists) worker of his village was instrumental in taking them to a private nursing home which suggested him to sell the baby, to settle the bills.

The baby has been handed over to her biological parents Nirakar Moharana(35) and Gitanjali Moharana (33) on the instructions of the district child welfare committee, said Inspector of Kendrapara town police station Bijoy Kumar Bishi.

Gitanjali had been allegedly persuaded by the ASHA worker to opt for the private nursing home instead of the government hospital and had a normal delivery on August 1.

The couple, who thought that the child delivery at the nursing home would be free of charge, like in a government hospital, were shocked when they were handed a bill of Rs 7,500, which they were unable to pay.

Under the circumstances, they allegedly sold the newborn to a childless couple through a network of middlemen who were pressed into service by the the nursing home.

Bishi said the police have arrested the ASHA worker and the nursing home proprietor, Syed Iftekar (28), who was the alleged mastermind behind the incident. The two other arrested are Seikh Munna, an employee of the nursing home and Seikh Sahabuddin who bought the infant.

They were arrested under relevant sections of the IPC, Juvenile Justice Act, Clinical Establishment Act, 2017 and were remanded to judicial custody after a local court dismissed their bail applications.

Meanwhile, Gitanjali said, “I am happy to get back my child. The nursing home authorities created circumstances which compelled me to sell my child.