MUMBAI: Dr Babasaheb Khidrapure, the prime accused in the female foeticide racket in Sangli district of Maharashtra, was arrested along with his wife late Monday night in Belagavi, Karnataka, police said here on Tuesday.
Khidrapure, a homoeopath practitioner who ran a well-equipped hospital at Mhaisal near Miraj in Sangli district bordering Karnataka, is alleged to have been running a female foeticide racket, police said.
It was the death of a 26-year-old woman, Swati Jamdade, on Feb. 28 during an illegal abortion operation that blew the lid off the racket.
The woman had gone to Dr Khidrapure’s hospital as it had facilities for sonography. During the check-up, the doctor allegedly performed a sex-determination test on the foetus and revealed to the parents that it was female.
Swati’s husband Pravin Jamdade decided to get it aborted and was promised secrecy by Dr Khidrpure.
Swati died on the operating table.
Suspecting foul play, Swati's relatives demanded a post-mortem and took the body to the Sangli Civil Hospital. The matter was reported to the Miraj police, who booked Pravin and some of his family members.
During interrogation, Pravin revealed that Swati died during the abortion, following which a case was registered against Dr Khidrapure.
Getting wind of a possible arrest, Dr Khidrapure fled the village. Police raided the hospital and recovered various documents that allegedly indicate that illegal abortions were rampant in Dr Khidrapore’s hospital.
Despite being a homoeopath Khidrapure built a well-equipped operation theatre. Investigations revealed that Khidrapure would bury the remains of aborted foetuses in the open ground adjacent to his hospital.
Police have recovered the remains of 19 infants buried there. Several fetuses stuffed into blue plastic bags were thrown carelessly around along with animal waste and sewage. Investigating teams found forty bags of skeletons, umbilical cords and other remains, police said.
Fetuses less than two months old used to be destroyed in toilets using acid, while the older foetuses were buried, the doctors assisting the police have revealed. The investigating teams have also found the entries of patients on whom medical termination of pregnancy was performed at the hospital.
“Preliminary investigations indicate that Dr Khidrapure ran a well-oiled illegal abortion racket in the area. There are possibilities of thousands of such abortions having been performed in that hospital. Patients from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh visited his hospital,” said Sangli superintendent of police Dattatray Shinde.