COIMBATORE: A day after a five-day-old baby born to a tribal woman was stolen from the government Pollachi hospital, Coimbatore Rural police have arrested a 34-year-old woman for her alleged role in the crime. This was the woman who had stayed with the couple and even help look after the baby. It was she who was recorded on CCTV cameras walking away with the baby. While the baby was rescued and returned to the parents, the woman reportedly confessed that she stole the infant to cover up the miscarriage she had suffered recently.
The woman was reportedly apprehended at her house in Kurichikottai near Udumalpet in Tirupur, trying to pass off the baby as her own, around 11 pm on Sunday night. Pollachi town police claimed that the search operation was completed within nine hours and the woman was arrested under section 370 (exploitation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
According to sources, the woman wanted to take the baby home as her own. She had recently arrived at her relative’s house in Sungam (Coimbatore) in the last month of pregnancy. However, she suffered a miscarriage. Afraid of how her husband might react to the news, she allegedly told him that she gave birth to a baby on April 25. In order to make true her lie, she reportedly visited the government Pollachi hospital with the plan to steal a baby. On April 29, she met the tribal couple – Devi and Balan of Narrikkalpathi hamlet in Pollachi – and befriended. She had claimed that her husband was admitted in the men’s ward and asked if she could stay with them in the meantime. She even helped take care of the baby, narrated Inspector Venkatraman.
On Sunday afternoon, when the couple was ready to be discharged, she insisted that she take the baby to get his earache checked. Though Balan accompanied her, she managed to shake him off by asking him to get the ear drops from the pharmacy and took off with the child then.
The first clue came from Devi, who informed that the woman had mentioned she was staying at a relative’s house in Sungam, said Venkatraman. “The CCTV footage shows the woman walking out of the hospital with the child around 1.30 pm and taking an auto. The auto driver said that she boarded a Coimbatore bus at Pollachi bus terminal. Though we cross-checked with conductors on duty in 19 buses scheduled for the Coimbatore route during that time period, we were not able to find any leads,” he explained.
It was this juncture that they got to know that a vegetable vendor from Sankarapuram near Pollachi had the contact details of the woman’s relatives in Sungam. The woman had reportedly befriended her when the latter visited the hospital for an eye check-up two days ago. This led them to the relative, who then directed them to the woman’s house in Kurichikottai, Venkatraman said.