Police bust child abduction racket

Date: 
2005-05-16

CHENNAI: The arrest of three members of an NGO here in connection with a child adoption
racket has stirred a hornet's nest, with many parents, whose kids were missing for several months, converging at the city police headquarters with the hope of tracing their children.

The accused arrested in the case are Ravindranath, the director of Malaysian Social Service (MSS) located in the suburbs, his wife Vatsala and and their son Dinesh Kumar.

According to police the three had allegedly "bought" the children and sent them overseas between 1991 and 2002.

The three were booked under IPC Section 363A (kidnapping of a minor). The polilce is now investigating the case. The racket came to light when police nabbed five members of a gang on May 3 in connection with the abduction of children.

The investigations have so far revealed that several records relating to adoption of children, particularly the surrender affidavits, had signatures of false witnesses.

Several affidavits did not ecev have the mandatory signatures.

While at one end police are trying to identify some missing children and attempting to locate their whereabouts, at the other, they are also looking at the authenticity of the documents that have been used for sending children abroad.

Police are also coping with a large number of persons converging at the city police headquarters to look at the album of missing children.

At least two parents have identified their missing sons from the album of the adoption agency which was seized by them, police said.

One record which was under scrutiny showed the name of one missing child as Anbazhagan, but the record indicated that the child had been "relinquished" by his mother. Enquiries were on trace the whereabouts of this child, police said.

According to some reports, a fisherwoman claimed she had given four of her seven children to MSS nearly a decade ago "in the hope that they will be given good education."

Official sources said the Social welfare directorate has decided to tighten its grip on all adoption centres in Tamil Nadu.

As a first step, the directorate is going to suggest some guidelines to the Central Adoption Resource Agency, the controlling body of the country to make rules of adoption stricter, the sources said.

According to the rules, "abandoned and destitute" children would have to be produced before Child Welfare Committee of the state Social Defence department and an official is asked to verify the background under which the adoption is to take place. Official sources said, however, such a rule was not necessary for a child that has been "surrendered" due to poverty.

ICCW Hon Joint Secretary Chandra Thanickachalam said the rules of each agency involved in adoption process should be redefined and credibility of adoption agencies should be put to an intensive scrutiny.

ICCW, which is also the adoption scrutinising agency but authorised now to scrutinise only the "surrender" documents, should have more teeth.

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