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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

In TN, 2 kids ‘sold to couples’ rescued, NGO director, aide absconding

About 80 inmates, including about 40 women and children, were shifted to other homes in Madurai. Police also seized computers and other documents from the NGO’s office.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai |
July 2, 2021 8:30:11 am
A senior officer said Shivakumar and his associate Mathershah are on the run.

Multiple teams have been formed by the police in search of the director of a prominent Madurai-based NGO after it was found that he was allegedly engaged in selling children through a destitute home he ran in the temple city.

On Wednesday and Thursday, police rescued two children — a one-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl — from two couples who had allegedly bought the children from G R Shivakumar, Director of Idhayam Trust.

About 80 inmates, including about 40 women and children, were shifted to other homes in Madurai. Police also seized computers and other documents from the NGO’s office.

A senior officer said Shivakumar and his associate Mathershah are on the run. “Shivakumar was a familiar face for many in Madurai for his commendable service to protect the poor and homeless. He was closely associated with certain government and police wings in his charity works. We have formed multiple teams to arrest him,” the officer said.

It was a local activist who first informed the police about the alleged sale. The activist, Azhruddeen, from Melur near Madurai, had sent a mother and her children to Shivakumar’s shelter earlier. “The mother was an orphan who got married to a man in his 60s. As she had learning disabilities, Azhruddeen sent her to the shelter after her husband’s death. Few days ago, Azhruddeen heard that her two-year-old boy was separated from her. When he inquired, he was told that the child had Covid-19 and was taken to the hospital. Later, he was informed that the child passed away and that the body was buried. He found those claims suspicious. He checked with the Rajaji Medical College and they confirmed that the child was not admitted there,” the officer said.

That the mother was not allowed to see the child’s body made Azhruddeen suspicious and he contacted the Madurai district collector — a probe was launched immediately.

The preliminary inquiry by the police revealed that documents were forged along with the hospital admission, death and the burial claims. “In the process of selling the child to a couple, Shivakumar had forged documents including that of the child being referred from a primary health centre to the government Rajaji Medical College in Madurai. They also forged another document in the name of a burial ground to show that the child passed away and was buried there,” the officer said.

The office of the district collector, Aneesh Sekhar, said inspections were ordered at all such homes in the district. “As the children had been given for illegal adoption, stringent action would be taken against not only who did it but also those who bought the children,” Sekhar said.

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