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Baby selling via WhatsApp: 4 arrested in Mumbai for kidnapping, selling and re-selling infant girl

In Mankhurd, Mumbai, the Police on Saturday arrested a total of four people for running a baby-selling racket. The incident came to light after the four-month-old daughter of a resident of Mankhurd went missing. The parents then approached the police, alleging that their neighbours Sharmin Khan and her husband Siddhiqe Khan, had kidnapped their four-month-old daughter on Friday, as per a Hindustan Times report.

A police official informed, “On that basis, we questioned Sharmin and Siddique, and we got to know that the child had been handed over to an Antop Hill-based woman named Farzana Sayyed Shaikh. She had given the baby further to one Asha Pawar of Chembur.”

The police arrested Asha Pawar but she had already sold the baby to another woman named Julia Fernandes, a resident of Matunga. Upon interrogation, Fernandes led the police to the infant in Bengaluru.

“The child was reunited with her parents. Sharmeen, Siddique, Farzana and Asha Pawar have been arrested. More arrests are likely in the case,” informed the police official.

The main accused is said to be a woman named Julia Fernandes who is yet to be arrested. Julia had delivered a child 10 days ago. As per reports, Julia had presented the kidnapped infant as her own child to a childless couple from Bengaluru and had claimed that she won’t be able to raise her.

Police had received a tip-off that a child has been sold for Rs 1.5 lakhs to a well-to-do couple in Bengaluru. It is revealed that a lady doctor from Gujarat is also involved in the racket. The doctor and Julia are yet to be arrested.

Julia Fernandes is a repeat offender

The police have informed that the main accused Julia Fernandes was arrested at Wadala in 2017 for allegedly running a baby-selling racket and came out on bail. Julia allegedly sends photos of newborns ‘available for sale’ to clients via WhatsApp.

In 2017, she had confessed to selling six babies together with an accomplice named Huma Dalvi. They had even sent a pregnant teenager to Indonesia to a couple.

Another baby-selling racket was busted by the city crime branch in Mumbai early this year. The 8 accused were into selling newborn babies and sold a girl child for Rs 60,0000 while a baby boy was sold for Rs 1.5 lakhs. The gang had sold four babies in six months, but the police had then suspected a higher number. Their modus operandi was to move around in poor localities, identify pregnant women and convince them to sell their babies in exchange for money.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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