A man hailing from the Bhadrak district of Odisha, on 12 September, was arrested for allegedly selling his eleven-month-old son for a mere Rs. 25,000, that he spent on buying a mobile phone, silver anklet and alcohol.
The police said that Balaram Mukhi sold his eleven-year-old son for Rs. 25,000, while he spent Rs. 2,000 on the mobile phone, Rs. 1,500 on a silver anklet for his seven-year-old daughter and one saree for wife and the rest on alcohol.
While the man has been arrested, the police are also questioning Mukhi's wife, Sukuti.
The couple has another ten-year-old son.
Bhadrak's Superintendent of Police (SSP) Anup Sahoo said that Mukhi has no regular income.
"He works as a sweeper and seems to be a habitual drinker," said SSP Sahoo.
According to the police, Mukhi's brother-in-law Balia and an anganwadi worker were also involved in the selling of the child.
Apparently, the three got an opportunity to make money when they met a couple in their sixties.
Somnath Sethi, who had retired as a driver with the state government, and his wife had lost their 24-year-old son in 2012.
"Sethi's wife had been suffering from depression after their only son died and he had told his acquaintances to look for a child they could adopt so that his wife recovers," said Inspector-in-charge of the Bhadrak Town Police Station, Manoj Rout.
He said that the old couple would be investigated as well.
The anganwadi worker, who knew the Sethi couple, contacted Mukhi and struck a deal between them.
The mother of the child, Barsha Mukhi, said, "My husband was in a drunken condition and told that this is an illegitimate child and hence, doesn't want to keep him with me and wants to give him to some other person."
She said that she objected to it and said that she was already taking responsibility of two other children and would have maintained the third one as well.
"He beat me up and I also beat him up, but he forcibly sold the child for Rs. 25,000, and purchased mobile, saree, dress, silver Anklet etc," she told the media.
The accused father, however, claimed that both the he and his wife were in a drunken condition and during a quarrel beat each other up.
He further stated that in the midst of the fight he picked up the child and sold him.