Indian police said on Wednesday they had arrested a senior regional official from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party over alleged links to a trafficking scandal that saw children sold to foreign couples.
Investigators said children aged between six months and 14 years were sold in illegal adoptions to couples from Europe, America and Asia for between US$12,000 and US$23,000 and taken out of the country. Police said they arrested Juhi Choudhury, a general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the eastern state of West Bengal, late on Tuesday and charged her in connection with the case.
“She has been charged under several sections of the Indian penal code including cheating, trafficking and exploitation,” said Rajesh Kumar, a director-general from the state’s Criminal Investigation Department.
The head of the adoption centre at the heart of the scandal, Chandana Chakraborty, told investigators that Choudhury had been involved in child trafficking for several years.
Police arrested Chakraborty, a retired school principal, and her deputy Sonali Mondal last month after a tip-off from the federal adoption agency.