Four separate chargesheets are likely to be filed in Solapur and Satara in connection with the illegal abortion racket unearthed in Akluj and Satara two months ago. Finding that sex determination of foetuses was carried out in a few cases, and that all abortions were done without due licences, the Akluj police have named six key persons allegedly involved in the racket. They include a CRPF officer and his wife who underwent a sex determination test and terminated a female foetus. On August 24, police and health officials had set up a decoy case to raid Siya Maternity Home, Akluj, where radiologist Tejas Gandhi and gynaecologist wife Priti Gandhi were found to have aborted at least 36 foetuses over the last 18 months.
In its chargesheet to be filed in the Solapur sessions court, the Akluj police have contended that the couple flouted provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971. The duo has also been charged under Section 315 (act done to prevent child from being born alive) of the Indian Penal Code. A separate chargesheet will be filed by the Akluj medical superintendent in the court of the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Solapur, under the Pre Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prevention) Act.
Two other chargesheets will be filed — by the Satara civil surgeon in the court of the JMFC Satara and by the Satara police in the Satara sessions court. Sources said the Akluj police’s investigation found that the CRPF officer and wife, identified as Mr and Mrs Pisal, and residents of Satara, underwent an illegal sex-determination test in Satara. They then came to Akluj in Solapur to get the foetus aborted by the Gandhi couple and returned to Wai, their hometown, to bury it. Forensic tests carried out on the foetus confirmed the sex as female. A homoeopathic doctor, Sikander Adam Shaikh, and Satara-based doctor A B Patil, who conducted the illegal sex determination, will also be named in the chargesheet.
While Shaikh is in custody along with the Gandhi couple, Patil remains absconding. So far, the Akluj police have questioned 15 couples who terminated their pregnancy during the last 18 months. Investigating officials found two foetuses — one female foetus belonging to the Wai couple, and another male foetus that suffered a birth anomaly. “In several cases, the foetus was aborted because of a birth defect. The couples buried the foetuses and they eventually decomposed. We could find only two on which DNA tests were carried out,” said investigating officer Arun Sawant of the Akluj police.
According to Dr Avinash Ghorpade, who is investigating the violations under the PCPNDT Act in Solapur, a case has already been registered against the Gandhi couple. “We are waiting for court to announce dates for hearing,” he said. The Gandhis had no registration to conduct abortions. In their maternity home, they conducted sonography and diagnostic tests and also assisted couples in aborting foetuses.
“Our counterpart in Satara are also filing a case under the PCPNDT Act for violations. It was a closely coordinated inter-district racket,” said Solapur Civil Surgeon Mallikarjun Pattanshetti. The chargesheet also mentions poor records of pregnant women who visited Siya Maternity home. In some cases, there were incomplete or no records of couples who underwent abortion. Police have been unable to determine sex of all 36 foetuses, to make it a case of female foeticide, as only two have been recovered so far.