In Baby-Selling Scandal, Cops Counter Bias Charge With Nun's Confession

The nun and another employee of the Nirmal Hriday, run by the Missionaries of Charity, were arrested last week for allegedly selling infants for adoption.

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The nun from Missionaries of Charity in Jharkhand confessed to selling three babies, cops said.

Ranchi: 

Days after the Roman Catholic Church backed the nun at the Missionaries of Charity shelter home in Ranchi who has been arrested for selling four babies, the police put out a video of the nun confessing to her role in the racket. In this short clip, the nun says three babies had been had been sold but the fourth infant, was given away for adoption for free.

The nun and another employee of the Nirmal Hriday, run by Mother Teresa's charity, were arrested last week for allegedly selling infants for adoption.

The racket at the Ranchi branch had triggered a state-wide crackdown on shelter homes, particularly those run by the Missionaries of Charity.

This week, Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas of Ranchi broke his silence and criticised the manner of ongoing investigation amid attempts to systematically malign the charity set up in 1959. The police, he told NDTV, are "treating the whole of Mother Teresa's organisation as a criminal gang".

The top church official also asserted that the nun is innocent and she had told her lawyers that the confession claimed by the police, was extracted under pressure.

A confession before a police officer does not make a world of a difference to support the prosecution's case during trial, whether it is on video or on paper.

The video, however, is seen to have been leaked by the police to counter the perception that the police probe by driven by politics.

After the church's unusually-strong backing for the charity, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had also lent her support and accused the ruling BJP government of making "malicious attempts to malign" the charity and Mother Teresa's name. The Missionaries of Charity is headquartered in Kolkata.

Sitaram Yechury of the rival CPM also found the allegations against the charity unbelievable. The state government could investigate them.

But "they cannot be harassed... and persecuted in this manner," Mr Yechury said.

The Jharkhand government, which has gone on an overdrive to probe the baby selling scandal, however, has signalled that it would not back down after criticism from the BJP's political rivals.

This week, surprisingly, the Jharkhand police also called for a CBI probe into foreign funds received by institutions run by Missionaries of Charity.

RK Mallick, the state's senior police officer told NDTV, that the decision to recommend an in-depth probe by the CBI was taken after some irregularities were detected.

It isn't clear if the CBI could take up a probe on suspicions of wrong doing without any evidence to back up the suspicion. In the normal course, the Union Home Ministry usually asks for a CBI probe only after its initial scrutiny of documents establishes violation of the law regulating nonprofits receiving foreign funds.

Jharkhand Congress leader Rameshwar Oraon lashed out at the police for leaking the confessional video, saying some officers appeared to have become a party in the political slugfest over the action taken against the Missionaries of Charity.

 "This is regrettable," Mr Oraon, who was a senior police officer before he quit government service to join politics in 2004, said.

 

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