The police arrested two women from Malvani earlier this month after one of them allegedly kidnapped a three-month-old girl and tried to sell her off to the other who was childless and had agreed to pay Rs 40,000, said the police.
The girl had mysteriously returned home the same night. “The police moved fast, and the girl was found with the help of locals,” said Vikram Deshmane, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone XI.
The kidnapping took place on July 30 and a complaint was lodged at the Malvani police station by the girl’s mother, living with her husband and two children near Holy Mother School in Malvani’s gate number 5. The woman told the police that her daughter went missing when she had briefly stepped out of her home. “Before going out, the complainant had asked a neighbour, to look after her daughter,” said Milind Khetle, senior inspector, Malvani police station.
However, the neighbour came after her soon and said she had been sent by an unidentified “burqa-clad” woman to take her back home. “But when the complainant returned, she neither found the woman, nor her daughter. The neighbour had handed over the child to the unidentified woman before she was sent out,” said Khetle. Police teams were deployed to find the suspect. At 12.30 am, however, the girl mysteriously returned, placed in a bundle at the doorstep of her home.
After another four days, the kidnapper was traced to New Collector Compound. The woman, identified as Mahek Shaikh, 24, was held on August 4. “We picked up the first accused through our informer network. After interrogation, she told us that she had given the baby to a 38-year-old woman living in Ali Talao Road,” Khetle said.
The second accused, Sangita Mukherjee, had been unable to have a child in 10 years of her marriage, the police said. She had allegedly agreed to pay Shaikh Rs 40,000 for a child. Shaikh, the police said, had agreed because she was in need of money, as “her drug addict husband spent all her income”.
Khetle said that the transaction did not go through and Mukherjee decided to return the child after sensing trouble. “She instructed her manservant to return her.”