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PUNE: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has collected evidence against Joginder Singh Bhasin, managing trustee of city-based orphanage Preet Mandir, seeking to prove that, under the guise of adoption, he was treating children as a "commodity" in order to make money.
The allegations find place in a chargesheet filed by inspector S Bhattacharya of the CBI against Bhasin and five others before special judge S N Sardesai on Tuesday.
The chargesheet says that Bhasin had started treating the Preet Mandir trust as a "money-spinning organisation" after realising that there was tremendous potential to make money in inter-country adoption.
Bhasin, it says, procured children by violating rules and regulations.
Preet Mandir also ran the rehabilitation centre Sai Dham at Kanhe phata in Mulshi taluka to help poor women in distress. The object behind opening the institute was to counsel unwed mothers and impart training to distressed women in various fields.
The chargesheet says the centre had admitted unwed mothers, but had not given them counseling, nor had it provided training to distressed women. It was revealed that 69 surrender deeds were executed to keep the children of unwed women at Preet Mandir on Dr Coyaji road and at Kalyaninagar. The centre was used to procure children and the CBI has held Bhasin responsible for running the centre in an unethical manner by violating Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) guidelines.
On June 26, 2002, the department of women and child development in Pune had handed over the management of the government's Shishu Sadan in Aurangabad to Preet Mandir. According to the chargesheet, between June 2002 and June 2006, a total of 402 children were admitted at Shishu Sadan through different child welfare committees (CWCs). Of these, 232 children were transferred to different institutes and 199 children were transferred to Preet Mandir, Pune, as per the orders of the CWCs.
Of the 199 children, 65 children were given for inter-country adoption, 11 for NRI adoption and 51 for in-country adoption. The Shishu Sadan was given a licence for adoption, but no adoption had taken place till June 2006. The CBI has said that the Shishu Sadan was used to procure children for Preet Mandir, which had a licence for inter-country adoption.
The CBI has discovered that distressed parents had temporarily entrusted the custody of their children to Preet Mandir due to compelling/financial circumstances including incarceration of the parents. Preet Mandir made parents sign permanent relinquishment deeds of the children fraudulently, without their knowledge. The parents genuinely thought that their children would be in the safe custody of Preet Mandir and they would be able to get them back after their situations improved.
According to the chargesheet, the CBI found that 39 children were directly transferred to Preet Mandir from Navrange Balak Ashram in Pandharpur in 2009 after bypassing the CWC. There is a mandatory provision that only those children who cannot be sent for in-country adoption can be given for inter-country adoption. In order to show that the child had been rejected by Indian parents, Bhasin had fraudulently obtained rejection slips and non-acceptance slips from the parents and then forged these rejection slips with a motive to use them to send children for inter-country adoption.
The CBI has discovered that Preet Mandir used to maintain a credit account of their guests, including J K Mittal, former chairman of CARA, to facilitate their stay at Hotel Aurora Towers in Pune Camp. The chargesheet reads that Bhasin used to spend lavishly as he used to generate money illegally by extorting money from prospective parents on the pretext of collecting donations for Preet Mandir. Government of India and Supreme Court guidelines clearly prevent voluntary agencies from receiving donations for inter-country adoptions. The chargesheet has highlighted various instances of how Bhasin had collected money from prospective foreign couples.
Bhasin would let prospective parents visit Preet Mandir an evince an interest in a child. He would then hand over the child to the parents with or without an agreement for foster care and once the parents and child bonded, he would make unreasonable demands for donations running into lakhs of rupees. Bhasin had allegedly taken Rs 7.5 lakh as a donation in two cases.