'Lost' grandkids in Spain, vendor moves court

Date: 2009-04-11

Anshika Misra

Mumbai: Kisabai Lokhande, an illiterate vegetable vendor from Karad, wants her two granddaughters, who went "missing" from a children's remand home in Satara, to come back home.

Lokhande, 66, has filed a petition in the Bombay High Court seeking the court's intervention to get back her 14-year-old and nine-year-old granddaughters, who now reportedly stay with their adoptive parents in Spain. Lokhande has sought a probe against the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), the Central Adoption Resource Centre (CARA), a Spanish NGO and Preet Mandir, a Pune-based private adoption agency, for illegally declaring the two girls as "destitute" and executing the inter-country adoption without their guardian's consent.

The petition hints at an international adoption racket wherein various agencies connive to have children declared as destitute and adoption agencies receive monetary considerations in the guise of donations for processing international adoptions.

The two girls were placed in a remand home after their mother disappeared and father died in 2004. The CWC then placed the girls, aged five and 10 then, at a Satara home for rehabilitation and Lokhande visited them four times.

In September 2004, the adoption agency issued a notice in a newspaper inviting objections before declaring the girls as abandoned and destitute. The children were admitted by the Satara CWC to Preet Mandir.

In December 2004, the CWC declared them destitute and, by September 2005 they had a new home in Spain. "In spite of Lokhande's residential address being available with the CWC, it declared the girls as destitute," her lawyer Pradeep Havnur stated.

Lokhande learnt about the adoption only in 2007.

"The law is broken with impunity since the money in trade of children is that a single child carries price tag of Rs5 lakh to Rs25 lakh," the petition said.

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