At least 17 untraceable children are believed to have fallen victims to child trafficking with an international footprint, in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal.
The state police have arrested two women including a primary school headmistress, and are on the lookout for a BJP leader in connection with the case.
The matter came to light after the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) acted on a complaint from the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), a statutory body of the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development, about some irregularities related to some adoption centres in Jalpaiguri.
The CID registered a case and detained headmistress of a primary school Chandana Chakraborty, who ran three children's homes in north Bengal, as also one of her aides Sonali Mondal late last week. After sustained interrogation, they reportedly revealed their complicity in shady adoption deals, a CID officer said.
Police claim that at least 17 children, inmates of the homes, were trafficked over the past one year. Some of them were sent for adoption to families abroad without following the laws of the land, police claim.
Chakraborty's links with a woman BJP leader, now allegedly in hiding, are also being probed.
However, state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh claimed that dragging the BJP into the matter is part of a "larger conspiracy" against the party. But he said as per his party's rules, anybody facing such allegations would have to clear his or her name first and till that time the party would keep away from such persons.
Meanwhile, Jalpaiguri District Magistrate Rachna Bhagat has slapped a show-cause notice on Jalpaiguri District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) Shashmita Ghosh over her ignorance about the thriving child trafficking racket.
However, Ghosh told a television channel that she has only followed the rules.
"I am part of a system. I have acted according to the powers I have and the rules governing adoption processes."
She admitted knowing Chakraborty, saying the homes received money under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.