KOLKATA: Three months after a trafficking racket of newborn childen at a Bengal nursing home shocked the entire nation, another major child trafficking module with alleged links to the central power corridors and alleged involvement of West Bengal BJP Mahila Morcha general secretary Juhee Chowdhury was busted in north Bengal's Jalpaiguri district.
Primary school teacher-turned alleged child trafficker Chandana Chakraborty, owner of three children's homes in the district, and her aide Sonali Mondal were arrested by the state CID and produced in court, which sent them to 13-day police custody on Monday.
Interrogation of Chakraborty has revealed the name of Juhee Chowdhury, who CID claims was instrumental in securing clearances with regard to adoption directly from North Block in New Delhi, often allegedly bypassing many of the legalities. Cases under Sections 370 and 370A (human trafficking) of IPC have been booked against the BJP leader at Jalpaiguri Kotwali Police Station.
CID has claimed that Juhee was instrumental in securing clearances from Central Corporation Resource Authority (CARA) and Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) in North Block by producing fake documents and exerting her influence in lieu of a hefty amount per trafficked child, which was duly paid by Chandana.
According to CID estimates, some 30-40 children have been trafficked so far to various parts of the country and to nations such as United States, Singapore, France and Spain. CID states that Rs 3-5 lakh was charged per child trafficked abroad in the name of adoption. The rates for local adoption were less, at around Rs 1-3 lakh per child.
The state investigating agency has claimed that Juhee took Chandana to meet top WCD officials at North Block in New Delhi on February 10 and was again supposed to meet them on April 20 with regard to adoption procedures of 17 children. A Howrah-Delhi Rajdhani Express ticket in Chandana and Juhee's name dated April 19 is in CID's possession.
"A host of documents and clearances are needed for one single adoption. Apart from clearances from district Child Welfare Committee (CWC), child details are needed to be uploaded online and approvals from CARA and Ministry of Women and Child Development are needed. However, Juhee Chowdhury bypassed all legalities. We suspect officials in North Block may have known about the trafficking module," a top state CID official told Express.
Though Juhee could not be reached as her phone is switched off, her father Rabindranath Chowdhury told media that though many people came to seek help, Juhee never extended help in any wrongdoing.
The issue came to light after Jalpaiguri CWC gave a written complaint to police regarding discrepancies in details of children in the three homes Bimala Shishugriha, North Bengal People's Development Center and Ashray that are owned by Chandana Chakraborty.
CID took over reins of the probe after 14 kids were rescued from Bimala Shishugriha on Friday. By Monday, they were rehabilitated to other homes in the district.
However, BJP feels it is a victim of vendetta politics by Trinamool. "Many of state BJP leaders are being made accused in false cases. However, if found guilty, we will shunt her (Juhee) out of the party," State BJP President Dileep Ghosh told media.