While investigating the case of a pregnant woman’s death during abortion, the police reached Mhaisal village, where they found 19 fetuses.
Babasaheb Khidrapure, a homoeopathic doctor who runs a Bharti Hospital at Mhaisal village in Sangli, allegedly conducted feticides at his clinic in Sangli district in western Maharashtra.
Khidrapure, was arrested from neighbouring Karnataka late on Monday night, a day after 19 aborted fetuses were found alongside a road, within walking distance from the hospital.
“The death of the 26-year-old pregnant woman on 28 February blew the lid off the “racket”,” said Sangli Superintendent of Police Dattatray Shinde.
The doctor was absconding and nabbed by Miraj police from Belgaum in Karnataka. Five teams were deployed for this task, police said.
“We have sent DNA samples of the 19 foetuses to the lab to ascertain their gender,” said Dattatray Shinde, Sangli Superintendent of Police.
“While some of the fetuses were buried, others were thrown carelessly in plastic bags along with animal waste and sewage, police said. Forty bags of skeletons, umbilical cords and other remains were also found and sent for tests,” they said.
“There are also instances of women from Maharashtra being taken to border areas of Karnataka for abortion. In such cases, Maharashtra Police cannot directly go there and initiate action,” said Deepak Sawant, Health Minister of Maharashtra.
“On condition of anonymity such a cross-border racket does exist, and they profit from loopholes in the policing system and lack of communication between the two state governments,” said a government official.
Bharti Hospital, where the abortions were taking place, was being run by Khidrapure. The hospital is around 7 km from the Karnataka border, and had two hidden basement rooms to terminate pregnancies in advanced stages.
At one end of the room is a fridge stocked with medicines used to induce abortion. On the other, there is an opening that led out of the building to a drain where plastic bags, half-destroyed medicine bottles and charred bio-medical waste was found.
Neither is the hospital registered under the Nursing Home Act, nor are homoeopaths allowed to carry out abortions under Medical Council of India (MCI) guidelines.