Psychiatrist held in Bengaluru baby theft case
Bengaluru: A year-old case of a newborn boy, who was stolen from a Bengaluru maternity hospital, has been solved with the arrest of a psychiatrist, who allegedly took away the baby and sold him to a woman for Rs 16.5 lakh, police said on Monday.
Police identified the accused as Rashmi, 34, working as a psychiatrist in a reputed private hospital here.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, South division, Harish Pandey told reports that it was a lengthy and detailed investigation involving examining more than 30,000 calls and initially, police had zeroed in on about 600 suspects. “We formed a 20-member team when this case was transferred to us six month ago, though Chamarajpet police had done their job pretty well and based on their collected evidence, we went forward,” he said.
The 20-member team comprised personnel hand-picked from various police stations based on their criminal investigation background.
According to the DCP, the investigations revealed that the accused, working in a reputed hospital in north Karnataka, came in contact about 7 to 8 years ago with a couple which had reproductive problems.
“By that time, this young couple gave birth to a child, which had developed mental deformation. With the help of this psychiatrist, the couple was able to achieve considerable success in reforming the child to greater degree, which naturally led to forming a bond with this doctor. From here, their relations grew beyond clinic visits and they become friends,” the DCP said.
As the couple opened up to Rashmi, she suggested that the couple could look forward to having a child through surrogacy.
“They got carried away by this idea and requested Rashmi to look for a potential surrogate mother. In the meantime, Rashmi came to Bengaluru and found a job here. However, Rashmi got into financial trouble as her education loan of Rs 15 lakh was mounting. Rashmi lied to the couple and gave a delivery date of May 28, 2020,” the DCP said.
On the scheduled date, Rashmi went around the hospital and zeroed in on Husna Banu, who had delivered a baby boy two just hours ago.
“She walked into the hospital as a doctor and coolly walked away with the baby. After picking up the baby, she called the couple that she was coming to hand the baby over to them,” the police officer said.
The 20-member team after scurrying through over 30,000 calls, repeatedly scanning the CCTV footage and interrogating an auto driver, a taxi driver and a security guard, got the sketch of the suspect and circulated it, while focussing on the technical evidence.
“Initially our suspected list was more than 1,000 but we brought it down to 600 after physically verifying the age and addresses. We only asked those who were in the age group and were able to walk perfectly,” the DCP said.
To a question how the police was able zero in on the accused, the DCP said that of the 600 suspects, Rashmi was one who was dilly-dallying in coming to the police station and recording her statement. “This is how she was caught,” he said.
Pandey added that the baby boy has been looked after very well, but is yet to undergo DNA test and other police verification and after that, the biological parents would be able to secure possession.
“It was unfortunate that neither the couple in north Karnataka who took possession of the baby knew this doctor’s ploy nor the biological mother who delivered the baby, and had all along maintained that she was not a surrogate mother,” he said.
He added that the police was still questioning the psychiatrist and collecting enough electronic evidence to complete the investigations in this case.