After an inter-state newborn trafficking racket being run at a Gwalior-based nursing home was busted, the Madhya Pradesh Commission for Protection of Child Rights chairperson Raghvendra Sharma on Tuesday blamed the health department officials for apathy and negligence.
Sharma was here in the wake of police raids at a private hospital – Palash -- during which it was discovered that newborn babies born out of illicit relationships or rapes were sold to childless couples for Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh per child.
The racket was busted on Sunday when crime branch sleuths, acting on a tip-off, raided the nursing home and found two newborns with no record of their birth and other mandatory details.
Sharma said the government must take serious measures to correct the system which, according to him, was lacking in responsibility and delivery.
Sharma inspected the SNCU ward and beds where the two newborn babies -- recovered in the raid from Palash Hospital -- were being kept under close supervision.
He said directions had been given to chief medical and health officer (CMHO) Anoop Kamthan to conduct speedy survey of all private nursing homes operating in the district and submit a report at the earliest.
“I will ask the district collector for a thorough investigation into the matter by an appropriate agency,” he added.
Civil surgeon of district hospital Dr DD Sharma, district women empowerment officer Shalin Sharma and other officials accompanied the chairperson during his visit.
Police investigation into the incident suffered an initial setback after the court refused to grant protection remand of accused Arun Bhadoria -- Palash Hospital co-director -- on Monday. Bhadoria, who was arrested on Sunday, has confessed that the nursing home was selling newborns.
Gwalior additional superintendent of police (ASP) Kumar Prateek said the police had sought at least 10 days remand. Bhadoria was sent to jail under judicial remand.
Prateek said the police were tipped off about three new brokers allegedly involved in the trafficking racket and their places would be raided soon.
“Palash hospital owner TK Gupta is hiding somewhere in Chhattisgarh and police parties would be sent to various places including Lucknow to bring the people who purchased the babies,” added Prateek.
Sources said the police were unable to get hold of official records of the nursing home which may have been destroyed or kept hidden.
The Palash hospital nursing staff, which helped consulting doctors in administering deliveries, has gone underground and the hospital wore a deserted look.
The regulatory/supervisory agency of the health department in the district claimed to have no knowledge about any wrong-doing despite the prevalent trend there.
Chief medical and health officer Anoop Kamthan, however, said strict action was taken against Palash hospital including its closure and cancellation of license under MTP (Medical Termination of Pregnancy) Act.