Two more arrested in Jalpaiguri child trafficking case

Siliguri: Two more persons, including a doctor, were arrested on Friday night by the CID in connection with the sensational child trafficking case in West Bengal, an official said.

"Mrinal Ghosh, the District Child Protection Officer from Darjeeling and Debasish Chanda, a member of Darjeeling district Child Welfare Committee, were arrested for their alleged involvement in the Jalpaiguri child trafficking case," special superintendent, North, CID, Ajay Prasad said.

Chanda was also an empanelled doctor of Jalpaiguri-based Bimala Sishu Griho, the child adoption centre that allegedly worked as a hub of child trafficking.

The CID sleuths earlier arrested four persons -- BJP women wing leader Juhi Chowdhury, chairperson of the child adoption centre Chandana Chakraborty, Chief Adoption Officer Sonali Mondal and fellow accused Manas Bhowmik -- in the last two weeks for selling at least 17 children through shady adoption deals.

Prasad claimed Chanda was involved in a back dated registration of the children adopted illegally in the centre. "His involvement with the home as an empanelled doctor is also illegal as he is a member of the district child welfare committee."

Ghosh was alleged to have played a role in Chanda doing the illegal registration.

The CID also intensely grilled Jalpaiguri District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) Shashmita Ghosh in connection with the racket. Shashmita, the wife of Mrinal Ghosh, was earlier show caused by the District Magistrate for her ignorance about the thriving child trafficking racket. 

She was allowed to leave the CID's camp office at Pintel Village here after several hours of questioning.

Meanwhile, CID sources said another prominent BJP women's wing leader could be called for questioning based on Chowdhury's interrogation. "The process for summoning her is on," the sources said.

The sources a day back claimed that Chowdhury had mentioned the names of some "influential political personalities" during her interrogation.

Chowdhury, a former leader of Bharatiya Janata Party's woman wing (mahila morcha) in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri district, was arrested by the state police's Criminal Investigation Department on Tuesday night from Batasia area close to the India-Nepal border in Darjeeling and was sent to 12 days CID custody on Wednesday.

Following the court order, the BJP removed her from the post of the State Secretary of the Mahila Morcha (women's wing), saying her activities have harmed the party's image.

CID sleuths are also looking for her father Rabindranarayan Chowdhury, a local BJP leader who looked after Juhi's financial transactions.

Chowdhury's arrest came after Chandana Chakraborty, arrested in connection with the scandal earlier, blamed her for wrongdoing and accused the young BJP leader of negotiating with the political heavyweights in Delhi about her child adoption centre.

The trafficking cse came to light after the Criminal Investigation Department acted on a complaint from the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), a statutory body of the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development, about some irregularities related to some adoption centres in Jalpaiguri.

The CID registered a case and detained Chakraborty, who ran three children's homes in north Bengal, as also one of her aides Mondal late last week. Both were subsequently arrested.

The CID has claimed that at least 17 children, inmates of the homes, were trafficked over the past one year. Some of them were sent for adoption to families abroad without following the laws of the land.