A poor couple was forced to sell off their newborn girl as they were unable to pay the bill of a private hospital at Kendrapara where the baby was born, Odisha.
Nirakar Moharana (34) and his wife Gitanjali (30) had gone to district headquarters hospital here on Monday for delivery of their third child.
They were advised by the doctors and the village ASHA worker Anapurna Moharana to go to a private hospital as there were some complicacies in the pregnancy.
Gitanjali delivered a girl child in the private nursing home on Thursday.
The ASHA worker who accompanied them to the hospital had later persuaded them to shift to the nursing home for better facilities.
Nirakar Moharana, the baby’s father, lodged an FIR today stating the Accredited Social Health Activists or ASHA workers of his village was instrumental in taking them to a private nursing home which suggested him to sell the baby, to settle the bills.
“I had thought the treatment would be free at the private nursing home like it was in government hospital. But, I was asked to clear a bill of Rs 7,500. I had with me less than Rs 1,000 at that time. The hospital authorities said they would not let me go till the bill is paid,” he said.
“Finding no other alternative, I gave in to their offer despite reluctance of my wife,” Mr Moharana added.
They then sold the newborn to a couple , the FIR said.
When contacted, ASHA worker Anapurna said, “The couple has two daughters. After the birth of their third daughter, they decided to abandon the child in the nursing home. But I resisted it. Later, a childless couple took the newborn by paying some money.”
Kendrapara police station inspector Bijoy Kumar Bishi said a case was registered under IPC Section 372.
“The couple who allegedly bought the infant has been identified. Our primary objective now is to rescue the child after which penal action would be initiated against the other culprits,” Mr Bishi said.