A FOUR-DAY-OLD baby was allegedly stolen from government-owned Calcutta Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata on Tuesday. The family members of the boy went on to lodge a complaint of kidnapping at the Bowbazar police station. Following this, the police have started a manhunt for a woman who reportedly took the baby away from the mother at around 11 am on the pretext of vaccinating him. A reward of Rs 1 lakh was also announced by the police for information about the woman.
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Late in the evening, the police picked up a woman from her house in Bagmari near Manicktala following a tip-off. “The neighbours heard a newborn and found this woman with a boy. When asked, the woman’s family members reportedly claimed that she had given birth today, and was discharged from the hospital. Some neighbours claimed that she was not pregnant… They became suspicious and the police were informed. However, it is yet to be confirmed if it is the stolen baby,” said a police officer.
“It is too early to say if a DNA test will be conducted to ascertain whom the boy belongs to,” the officer claimed. Earlier in the day, Saraswati Naskar, the boy’s mother, had said: “I was sleeping when a young lady in a green sari came towards my bed and asked me my name. She said she needed to conduct some tests on my son. She pretended to be an ayah. “As we were approaching the second floor, she asked me to get my reports. As I went to get the reports, she waited with my son. When I returned, she wasn’t there.”
“The security guards have seen everything…,” she alleged. It was only around half-an-hour after the incident that the hospital realised the boy was kidnapped, the family claimed. Police said that though CCTV cameras installed at the hospital were not working, the mother and other patients informed them about the physical appearance of the woman.
Following this, police looked through CCTV footage available at the nearby Central Metro station and found a similar-looking woman boarding a train at 12.53 pm with a baby. “We have circulated the photographs collected from the CCTV footage. Whoever gives us any information about this woman will be rewarded Rs 1 lakh,” said Joint CP (Crime) Vishal Garg.
“According to the family, the woman initially told the mother that she had to take the baby for immunisation. The mother insisted on coming along… The woman also asked the mother if her relatives were around. Only when the mother said no, the woman asked her to come along,” a senior police officer said.
While hospital authorities refused to comment, officials said the health department has been intimated about the incident.
When contacted, Director (Health and Services) B R Satpathy said: “Police are trying to trace the baby and suspect. As far as the hospital is concerned, if there are security lapses, necessary action will be taken. Ultimately, law will take its own course.”
The incident triggered panic among other patients, many of whom took early discharge and returned home with their babies. “This cannot happen without the knowledge of insiders. How is it possible that an outsider took a newborn out of the hospital and no one noticed?” asked Rihana Khatoon, a relative of a patient.