Parents ‘sell’ newborn to pay hospital bill of Rs 7,500

Kendrapara : Unable to settle their hospital bill, a couple had to allegedly sell their newborn girl for Rs 7,500 to a childless couple in Kendrapara district.

The baby’s father Nirakar Moharana lodged an FIR today stating 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.

However, the nursing home refused to comment.

Moharana and his wife Gitanjali, residents of Righagada village under Rajnagar tehsil, had been to district headquarters hospital here on July 30 for the delivery of their third child.

The ASHA worker who accompanied them to the hospital had later persuaded them to shift to the nursing home for better facilities. On August 1, Gitanjali delivered a girl, said Moharana, a daily wage earner, in the FIR.

“I had thought the treatment would be free at the private nursing home like it was in government hospital. But, I was asked to clear a bill of Rs 7,500. I had with me less than Rs 1,000 at that time. The hospital authorities said they would not let me go till the bill is paid,” he said.

Alleging that the hospital authorities proposed to him to sell the baby to a childless couple to raise money, Moharana said, “Finding no other alternative, I gave in to their offer despite reluctance of my wife.

They then sold the newborn to a couple through a network of middlemen arranged by the nursing home, said the FIR.

“The village ASHA worker misguided me in taking us to the private nursing home. The incident deeply hurt my conscience.

I went to the police so that those involved in the child-sale racket are arrested,” Moharana said.

Kendrapara police station inspector Bijoy Kumar Bishi said a case was registered under IPC Section 372 (selling minors for unlawful and immoral purpose) and provisions of Juvenile Justice Act.

“The couple who allegedly bought the infant have been identified. Our primary objective now is to rescue the child after which penal action would be initiated against the other culprits,” Bishi said.