The CID tonight arrested Mrinal Ghosh, the Darjeeling district child protection officer, and a doctor for their alleged links to a baby sale racket run from an orphanage in Jalpaiguri.
The arrested doctor, Debasish Chanda, is a member of the Darjeeling Child Welfare Committee and was a visiting doctor at the orphanage run by Chandana Chakraborty, the main accused in the case.
According to sources in the CID, Ghosh had facilitated the transfer of infants to the Jalpaiguri orphanage, saying such a shelter was not in Darjeeling district.
"Ghosh was informally involved with Chandana's orphanage and the NGO, North Bengal People's Development Centre. There are several charges against him and they would be revealed later," said a source in the CID.
Ghosh is the first government officer to be arrested in the case.
The investigators said "Chanda had directly participated in the adoption process" at the orphanage. "There are several telephonic conversations which show the doctor's involvement in the racket. Chanda received money from Chandana after the sale of every child through Ghosh. The doctor was also salaried by Chandana's NGO," said the source.
Four doctors were named in the FIR and Chanda is the first among them to be arrested.
The CID arrested Ghosh after questioning him at Pintail Village, on the outskirts of Siliguri, along with his wife, Sashmita Ghosh, the Jalpaiguri district child protection officer. She was being questioned even late at night.
Sashmita had told the media that she was innocent and had not taken any favour from Chandana.
The investigators said both Ghosh and Chanda would be produced in a Jalpaiguri court tomorrow and the CID would seek their remand for 14 days.
The statements of arrested BJP leader Juhee Chowdhury's uncle Surendra Narayan Chowdhury, his son Sukanta and her close acquaintance Papia Chowdhury were recorded before a judicial magistrate in Jalpaiguri today.
They said Juhee had taken loan from them and asked them to transfer the money to different bank accounts.
"We suspect Juhee was extending help to Chandana to gain control of the latter's NGO and homes. We are in the process of collecting more information and soon, it would be clear why she had funded Chandana," an investigator said.
The probe has also revealed that Chandana was facing funds crunch as her financial resources, including grants from central and state governments, had dried up over the past few years.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh today reiterated the "political conspiracy" theory by alleging that CID was only arresting BJP leaders like Juhee Chowdhury and harassing her father though many Trinamul leaders were involved in the case.
Ghosh said the CID was not probing into allegations of forceful detention of children in a home run by the wife of former Trinamul minister Hiten Barman.(TT)