The Govandi police has registered a first information report (FIR) against the Bal Anand World children Welfare Trust, Chembur, under the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act following death of two babies under suspicious circumstances in December last year. The FIR was registered last week.
The adoption centre has been booked under Section 75 of JJ Act, which related to punishment for cruelty to child and attracts prison term of three years and a fine of Rs 1 lakh.
“We have prima facie observed negligence by the centre. Statement of employees working there have been recorded. But we are waiting for post-mortem reports and FDA report on food samples before proceeding,” said Senior Inspector Shashikant Mane. The FIR comes on direction of the Women and Child Development (WCD) department that also issued a show-cause notice to the adoption centre after two babies, aged five and nine months, died.
Six children from the shelter home required hospitalisation between December 23 to December 26, with complaints of vomiting, fever, loose motions and dehydration. Five-month-old Khushi died immediately after admission on December 26 afternoon after suffering vomiting and loose motions. Jaydeep, aged nine months, was admitted in Zen hospital on December 26 and referred to Kohinoor hospital the same day for intensive treatment of gastroenteritis. He succumbed on December 27 afternoon.
Four other children were subsequently discharged and sent back to Bal Anand centre.
According to an official at Bal Anand, the milk given to all children was sourced from Aarey Colony and boiled before drinking.
Food, mainly dal and chawal, was served to all children except Khushi. “We have also undertaken an internal inquiry, but have found nothing so far,” the official told The Indian Express, adding: “We are cooperating with the police.”
The Food and Drug Administration, that collected sample of milk, cooked food, and raw materials used for cooking, has ruled out food poisoning observing that all children, and not just six, should have fallen sick following consumption.
Bal Anand is an adoption agency attached with State Adoption Resource Centre. The centre has been involved in adoption work since 1984, and currently has 48 children till the age of 18 years. Thirteen of them are children with disabilities.
The Child Welfare Committee investigating the case is awaiting final post-mortem reports before taking any action. Khushi’s histopathology report is awaited. Preliminary autopsy reports suggested Jaydeep suffered consolidation of lungs with pleural effusion indicating collection of liquid between lungs and chest wall, but a final report is awaited.