After a probe into the sensational child smuggling racket in West Bengal unearthed two skeletons and murkier details today, ten newborn baby girls were recovered from a private mental asylum in south Kolkata. A top sleuth said over 50 children could have been victims of the network.
"It seems over 50 babies could have been smuggled," Criminal Investigation Department Additional Director General Rajesh Kumar told the media.
Acting on a tip off, the CID officials raided Purbasha - an old age home for mentally challenged patients at Thakurpukur in Kolkata's southern outskirts - and rescued the 10 infants.
"We have recovered 10 girls, all of them aged between one year to 10 months, from the third floor of Purbasha. Two women, who reportedly rented the third floor of the building, had kept these infants here. We are looking for them." Kumar said on Friday.
The kids have been admitted to hospital.
Meanwhile, CID sleuths also recovered two skeletons of newborn babies from the campus of Sujit Dutta Memorial Trust, a North 24 Parganas based NGO, that came under the scanner last Monday for its alleged involvement in the child smuggling racket.
"We got the information that some of the new born babies, who died during smuggling, were buried in the Sujit Memorial Trust ground. We conducted a raid there and exhumed two dead bodies from the campus," Kumar said.
Two women, including Reena Banerjee, said to be the head of the asylum, have been arrested.
Reena is the daughter of Putul Banerjee, who was arrested from south Kolkata's Sree Krishna Nursing Home earlier this week for her alleged involvement in child smuggling.
"We have detained three women from the asylum in this case. Two of them including Reena Banerjee, the owner of the asylum, have been arrested. All three are being interrogated," Kumar said.
"Occasionally we saw infants being brought in. Everything was done at night. We never realised they are running a child smuggling racket here," a local resident said.
The CID busted the smuggling racket when they conducted a raid in Baduria-based Sohan Nursing Home in North 24 Parganas district on Monday and recovered three babies.
The officials also arrested eight persons from the nursing home, the NGO and a nearby health clinic named Baidya clinic.
Five more persons were arrested since then in two separate raids in two city nursing homes -- Sree Krishna Nursing home in college street and South View Nursing Home in Behala -- in connection with the case.
Indicating international dealings, foreign currencies were also seized from the house of the owner of one of the nursing homes.
"We have also recovered Rs 15,000 in cash, foreign currency such as US dollars, Euro and Hong Kong dollars and gold ornaments from the house of Partha Chatterjee, owner of College Street-based Sri Krishna Nursing Home."
(With IANS inputs)