Stolen infant found, Koduvayur couple held

Police arrested a couple from Koduvayur near here on Monday, and recovered from them a newborn baby stolen from the General Hospital at Pollachi.

The four-day-old girl given birth by Divya Bharati was missing from the General Hospital at Pollachi since Sunday morning. Tamil Nadu police had formed 12 teams to investigate the case.

Police rounded up Shamna and her husband Manikandan in connection with the infant theft. Shamna had stolen the baby to convince her husband’s family that it was hers. It was the timely intervention of an ASHA worker that helped the police detect the missing baby.

Shamna had two children in her first marriage. She later married Manikandan and was living with him in a rented house. But Manikandan’s family took her to their house at Koduvayur when she told them that she was eight months pregnant.

When ward member and ASHA worker Sheela Ramakrishnan reached their home to collect the pregnancy details, Shamna had refused to respond. When Sheela approached her later, Shamna said a projected date of delivery, which was communicated to Government Hospital at Koduvayur.

Shamna reportedly told her husband’s family that she had given birth to a child at her parent’s house at Olavakode in April and the child had been admitted to neonatal ICU at the District Hospital at Palakkad. She also told them that only she had been permitted entry into the ICU. So Manikandan too had not seen the child.

Manikandan’s family informed the ASHA worker of Shamna’s childbirth about a month ago.

Sheela grew suspicious about Shamna’s behavior and reported the matter to the hospital at Koduvayur. When checked at the District Hospital, they learned that there was no such child at the hospital. Sheela filed a complaint at Koduvayur police station on June 26. Although the police summoned Shamna, she did not appear before them.

Shamna reached her house at Koduvayur with the child around 11 am on Sunday. Sheela alerted the police about Shamna and the child on Sunday evening. Police found that the infant was stolen from Pollachi, and picked her up along with her husband on Monday.

Surveillance camera footage had shown two women escaping with the infant from the Pollachi hospital in the early hours of Sunday.

The police team had examined 769 surveillance cameras to trace them to Kerala. Kerala Police too helped the Tamil Nadu teams in tracing the child.

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