Bengaluru: Baiyappanahalli police have busted a foetus sex determination racket operational for nearly three years, arresting four people.
The group allegedly used a portable scanning machine for sex determination and operated mostly in Mandya, police said, adding that the scanning procedures were conducted at different venues.
The machine was seized in the midst of a camp at an aalemane (a jaggery making unit) where six women waited to be scanned.
Police said members of the racket also facilitated abortions on women unhappy with the gender of their yet-to-be-born babies. They suspect some hospitals colluded with the racket to enable the abortions.
The arrested people are Naveen Kumar from Pandavapura, Shivalinge Gowda from Mysuru, TM Veeresh from Davangere, and Nayan Kumar from Mandya. Mallikarjun, a doctor who was part of the racket, is on the run.
The gang reportedly used brokers to target expectant mothers and their families in Mandya, Mysuru, and Bengaluru, taking advantage of their desire to determine the baby’s gender before birth.
The gang conducted scanning procedures twice a month and shifted locations to evade police detection.
Police explained that each camp would typically cover six to 10 women. The gang charged between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000 for the scanning, and if the family wanted to proceed with a foetal abortion, they facilitated it through their‘collaborations’.
The gang reportedly charged between Rs 25,000 and Rs 30,000 for abortions, with pricing adjustments based on the financial situation of their customers. The police are planning to investigate potential hospital involvement.
An investigating police officer suggested that in most instances, the aborted foetuses were female.
How the scam unfolded?
Last week, as some police officers were stationed at Old Madras Road, Nayan and Gowda were transporting a woman to Mandya for a scan. On spotting the policemen, they acted in a suspicious manner and attempted to flee. The police inspectors pursued their car.
An investigating officer told DH that Nayan and Gowda confessed during interrogation. “Based on their statements, an aalemane (jaggery making unit) in Hosahalli in Mandya was raided to find the other two accused and six women who were present to undergo scanning,” the officer said.
The officer noted that the aalemane belonged to Naveen’s relative. The accused were arrested, and notices have been served to a few more people who are suspected to have played a role in the racket.
Police are yet to ascertain where the scanning machine was sourced from. However, the officer quoted the claims of the accused that they got an old scanning machine repaired.
“To procure and also to dispose of the scanning machine, one needs permission, and they should have a record of it. This aspect (of the case) will be investigated seriously,” the officer said.
(Published 25 October 2023, 23:42 IST)