CBI unearths child kidnapping racket

August 25th, 2008 - 3:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Aug 25 (IANS) A lucrative racket worth Rs.10 million in selling kidnapped children abroad has been discovered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), officials said Monday.At least three such children have been traced to Queensland, Australia, and Wisconsin, in the US, they said.

“A case has been registered against the Malaysian Social Service, a Chennai-based private company licensed by the Indian government, for having sent at least 120 children for adoption abroad. Our investigations found a simple modus operandi. Street children were kidnapped for a mere Rs.500 and given for adoption abroad for sums ranging from as low as Rs.10,000 to as high as $10,000 per child,” a CBI official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

In 2005, the Madras High Court, hearing public interest litigations, had ordered the CBI to probe the matter.

The CBI is set to submit its investigation report to the high court “in a day or two”.

Inquiries revealed that the NGO had collected at least Rs.10 million by way of ‘adoption fees’ and proceedings have been initiated against it, the official added.

The Indian Council for Child Welfare, an NGO, felt that exposure of the racket was a “crying necessity”.

“Obviously, kidnapped children have been passed off by impostors claiming to be their mothers donating them for adoption. Their real parents may not even be aware where their children are and may not have received a single rupee as compensation,” said ICCW secretary Chandra Thanikachalam.

“While bringing the guilty to book may be a problem due to the absence of complainants, disturbing children living abroad with emotional moorings may prove counterproductive as none of them would like to return to a poverty-stricken life back home,” Thanikachalam added.

It may be impossible to prosecute foster parents based abroad for their unwitting role in the crime, legal experts said.

“Many foreign countries do not recognise Indian laws or some can reject efforts to prosecute alleged wrongdoers outright because their deeds may not constitute an offence in the countries where the children are living now,” advocate N. Raja said.

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