After facing embarrassment over a ruling party leader being booked for kidnapping his grandchild, the Kerala government on Friday ordered a departmental probe into the incident even as the CPI(M) said it wants the mother to get her baby back.
The Women and Child Welfare Department would probe into the complaints from Anupama S. Chandran against her father and CPI(M) local committee member P.S. Jayachandran regarding the alleged abduction and theabandonment of her baby in an electric cradle owned by the State Council for Child Welfare.
Veena George, State Minister for Women and Child Welfare, said the department secretary Rani George has been entrusted with the probe.
It was assumed that the grandfather had abandoned the infant in the electric cradle here, she said.
"Directions have been given to clearly examine whether all the mandatory procedures were followed after the child was received at the cradle by the Council. I have asked for a comprehensive report, which is expected soon," George told reporters. She said as per the records, the Council had received two children at its 'Ammathottil' (electric cradle) here during the period and the DNA test of one of the children had been carried out based on the complaint of the woman, but it had turned out to be negative. Asked about the claim of Anupama's father that the baby was abandoned with the consent of his daughter, the minister said if anybody wants to hand over a child to the Council legally, its mother should also be present in person before the panel. "What I understood was that in this case, nothing had happened like that. So, to ascertain the truth, the statements of several persons, including the then staff at the Council, have to be recorded," she said.
Extending support to Anupama, the minister said it is the child's mother who is asking for her baby and what's most important for her is to get her child back. Meanwhile, senior CPI(M) leader and party district secretary Anavoor Nagappan said the party has limitations in intervening in the matter as it involves legal implications. He admitted that the woman had approached the leadership with the complaint seeking help to get her baby back some months back. The woman was told that the issue could not be sorted out at the party-level and advised to go the legal way to get her baby back, he told the reporters here.
'The mother should get her baby... that is always the party's stand. I have informed Anupama that the issue could not be sorted out at the party-level and so we cannot intervene. I also offered her support if she goes the legal way,'' Nagappan said. He said the 23-year-old woman had never come to meet him but only submitted a letter of complaint at his office and later spoke over the phone. The senior leader further said he had talked to Jayachandran, a local committee member of the party, based on her complaint and advised him to give her the baby back.
''But, he had said he was unable to do so as the child was handed over to the State Council for Child Welfare and there were legal hurdles to reclaiming the infant,” the leader said. The party's explanation came days after Anupama, a former leader of the Students' Federation of India (SFI), a feeder organisation of the CPI(M), alleged that though she had submitted her complaint to the senior Marxist party leaders, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, no one had helped her to get her baby back. She had accused her parents of forcefully having taken away her newborn child from her soon after its birth a year ago and alleged that though she had complained about the police several times since April, they were reluctant to register a case against the family members.
However, Peroorkkada police had said that a case was registered earlier this week against six people, including her parents, sister, and husband, and father's two friends, and said the delay happened as they were waiting for the legal opinion. Multiple charges, under IPC Section 343 (wrongful confinement), 361 (kidnapping from wrongful guardianship), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), and so on, were imposed against the accused, they said. According to Anupama's complaint, her parents did not like her relationship with Ajith, who was also a youth federation leader of the party. As the child was born out of wedlock, they had forcefully taken away the boy child, three days after she got discharged from the hospital post-delivery. She left home in April and has since been living with Ajith, she said.
Police, however, said her father Jayachandran admitted that the child was separated from his daughter by them but claimed during the interrogation that it was done with her consent. According to the father's statement, the child was placed in the electric cradle located in front of the Council at Thycaud in October last year. As per the rules of the centre, when they receive a child in the cradle, they would keep the baby with them for the ensuing two months. If no one comes forward to claim the child, they would allow the public to adopt the infant. The investigation was on to collect more details and trace the baby, the police had said. The Kerala State Women's Commission also registered a case into the incident on Thursday based on the mother's complaint.