A nurse inspects a newborn baby at a nursery in a hospital. File/ AFP
Nirmala Joseph, Correspondent
The unveiling of a racket selling newborn babies has left Tamil Nadu in rude shock. The racket based in Rasipuram, a town in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, was exposed by a nurse who claimed she had sold hundreds of babies over a period of 30 years and never faced any problem.
The government ordered a probe and officials have begun verifying nearly 4,500 birth certificates that were given by the local administration. Health Secretary Beela Rajesh has told the director of the Health and Rural Welfare department to look into the clip.
The nurse who worked in a government hospital has been identified as Amuthavalli, 50, and her husband Ravichandran have been detained by police in Rasipuram.
An audio clip purported to be of the nurse contains a dialogue like this: "I have been doing this business for 30 years. By God’s grace, I have not faced any problems. Pay me as much as you can as advance, I will WhatsApp the baby’s picture to you.” Reports said she was trying to sell babies to one Sathish Kumar from Dharmapuri.
"If you need a girl, then the price would be Rs270,000,” she is heard saying. "If the baby is close to three kilos, then the price would go up to Rs300,000. If you need an Amul baby [an apparent reference to a healthy and fair male baby], then the price would range from Rs 400,000 to Rs 415,000. If the baby is darker, then the price may reduce to Rs 330,000 lakh to Rs 375,000.”
An investigating officer is quoted as saying in the Tamil media that she is only one among many in a big racket: "She doesn’t sell the babies directly to the concerned party, there are plenty of brokers involved in this business,” the police official said. "We are in the process of identifying the family who sold their baby to this woman.” Amuthavalli calls the illegal adoption business as a "service.” She had opted for voluntary retirement though she had nearly 10 years of service left.
Officials, part of the 12 teams formed to probe the case, apart from checking the birth certificates provided at Rasipuram are also checking another 1,000 certificates presented at Kollimalai.
Amuthavalli is heard in the audio as claiming she can get a government birth certificate for Rs 70,000. Amuthavalli had come across deliveries of unplanned babies, which she used for illegal adoption with the help of some hospital staffers.
She would traffic such babies in the guise of taking them to childcare homes, the officers said. Namakkal police superintendent R Arularasu said the inquiry is still on.
The Medical Services Department has also registered a complaint with the police about her.
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