Ten babies were rescued from an old age home in the southern parts of the city on Friday as the traffickers failed to "sell" them as they were girls, a senior CID officer said today.
He said as the "demand" for a baby girl was not much compared to a baby boy, the traffickers had found no taker for the 10 toddlers, aged approximately between one and 10 months.
The babies were rescued from the third floor of the home in the Thakurpukur area early Friday.
"A newborn boy fetches them Rs 2 lakh, which at times goes up to Rs 4 lakh. But, the demand for a girl child was not that high and selling one could only fetch Rs 1 lakh," the officer said, adding that this was told to them by Reena Banerjee and Basanti Chakraborty, both associated with the home.
The baby girls were also not properly looked after which led to malnutrition and other health complications in them.
The 10 rescued babies were undergoing treatment at ESI Hospital, Joka and the doctors there said their "health condition" was not sound because of the "negligent treatment" they received at the home.
"Most of the babies were suffering from malnutrition and skin diseases while one was thalassemic and two were extremely weak because they were not provided with the basic care a baby requires, especially mother's milk," one doctor said.
The CID has also exhumed the remains of two infants found from the compound of Sujit Memorial Trust at Machlandapur in Habra.
"We have a doubt that these two infants were also girls...Forensic tests are being done to ascertain the cause of their death. Necessary action will be taken on the basis of the report," he said.
Talking about the investigation into the child trafficking racket, the officer said it has surfaced that Tapan Biswas was the mastermind behind the entire operations spread in various districts of West Bengal.
Basanti Chakraborty, linked to the old age home for
mentally challenged persons at Thakurpukur from where the babies were rescued, during a grilling session had disclosed that Tapan was the mastermind of the racket, the CID officer said.
"Basanti, during questioning, admitted that Tapan was the main culprit. We have learnt that childless couples ("buyers") used to go to the Baduria nursing home where Tapan would deal with them and also, it was him who used to tell the expecting parents that the baby was born dead," the IPS officer said.
Tapan, a medical practitioner, has disclosed the names of some other doctors who were allegedly involved in the child trafficking racket, he said.
"He has given us the names of doctors involved in the racket and their probable whereabouts. There are several from the districts and we are looking for them," the officer said.
Meanwhile, the CID continued its raids at several nursing homes in various districts of the state in connection with the case.
"Raids will continue until we reach the deepest root of this racket," the officer said.
The CID has so far arrested 18 persons, including two doctors, for their alleged involvement in the child trafficking racket.
Meanwhile, state Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury today demanded a CBI probe under a sitting judge into the incident.