Sherin Mathews had gone missing on October 7 in Texas and her death was recently confirmed by police
External Affair Minister Sushma Swaraj has requested her cabinet colleague Maneka Gandhi for an investigation into the adoption of Sherin Mathews, the three-year-old Indian girl who died at her new home in the US earlier this month. Maneka Gandhi is the Women and Child Development Minister.
"I have requested @Manekagandhibjp Minister for Women and Child Development for a thorough investigation into the adoption process of Baby Saraswati@SherinMathews who has been killed by her foster father Wesley Mathews in United States," Ms Swaraj tweeted on Friday evening.
Sherin's adoptive father Wesley Mathews, 37, was charged on Monday
with injury to a child, a first-degree felony that carries a maximum punishment of 99 years in prison, the Texas police said.Sherin went missing
on October 7. Her body was found in a culvert under a road
. Mathews, who claims the child choked while drinking milk, has admitted to moving her body from the family's home in Richardson, Texas.
Activists in India have called for an immediate end to intercountry adoptions, which they say fail to protect children.
Sherin was born on July 14, 2014, and was surrendered by a parent in Gaya
, Bihar. She was sent to an orphanage, the Nalanda Mother Teresa Anaath Seva Ashram, which has since closed down, according to Deepak Kumar, who heads the government's Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA).
Mr Kumar has said due procedures were followed during the adoption of Sherin, a special-needs child, and that the credentials of the adoptive parents were thoroughly checked. He said Holt International, the authorised foreign adoption agency which was overseeing her case in the US, had also submitted four detailed follow-up reports to CARA since her adoption on July 8, 2016.
The Supreme Court last year ordered the government to draw up strict guidelines for screening and tracking adoptions after a charity alleged the existence of rackets involving both Indian and foreign adoption agencies.
In the 1970s, when there was no law in India to regulate adoptions, thousands of children were given away in inter-country adoptions. The government began to regulate adoptions after a Supreme Court judgment in 1984, and became a signatory to the Hague convention on inter-country adoption in 2003.
There were about 4,000 adoptions in India in the year to March 2017; nearly 600 were inter-country adoptions, data showed.
Sherin's adoptive parents are overseas citizens of India. Wesley Mathews is a Qatari by birth, while mother, Sini Mathews was born in the UAE. They are both US citizens.