MUMBAI: Police Monday claimed to have busted a baby-selling racket in Mumbai with the arrest of five persons, including four women, who were allegedly involved in selling children for Rs 2 lakh to Rs 4 lakh each under the garb of adoption.
The Crime Branch of the city police busted the thriving racket late last week, an officer said. Acting on specific information, Unit 6 of the Crime Branch raided a house at Sathe Nagar in Mankhurd and picked up a woman for questioning, said Akbar Pathan, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detection-1).
On information provided by her, the police detained two more women from the same area who were allegedly involved in the baby-selling ring, he said.
The role of another woman came to light later, he said. Accordingly to the police, these women would approach new mothers from economically weaker sections and offer to facilitate "adoption" of their newborn babies for a price that ranged from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 4 lakh each child, he said.
In one case, the accused women had promised a victim to make arrangements for meeting her son whenever she wished, the police officer said.
While investigating the case, the police found that the accused women had recently sold a three-year-old boy and a seven-month-old child, he said, adding one of them was sold for Rs 3.85 lakh.
The police then raided Mankhurd, Kurla, Kalyan and Thane and rescued the two children from the families where they were sold, another official said.
The arrested women were identified by the police as Bhagyashri Bhagwat Koli alias Soni (26), Sunanda Masane (30), Savita Salunkhe (30) and Lalita Joseph (35).
A man has also been arrested in connection with the racket, he said but did not disclose his identity.
The five-member gang was active since the last few years and as one of the accused was arrested in 2016 from suburban Kandivali for child theft, the official said.
During the investigation, Crime Branch sleuths identified some more biological mothers and their children who were sold to another persons under the pretext of adoption, he said.
According to the police official, the arrested women had links in hospitals from where they used to get information about financially weaker mothers, who were not in a position to raise their children properly.
The accused women used to meet these mothers and convince them to give their babies for "adoption" for a price, he said.
All the accused were produced before a local court which sent them in police custody till Thursday, he said, adding a probe is underway.