Black Label bottle, cash and a child

Date: 2007-06-19
Pune: A CNN-IBN Special Investigation blew the lid off one of India’s biggest adoption agencies that has broken every adoption rule in the land to sell babies illegally to foreign parents.

The Special Invstigation team exposed how this racket is nothing more than pure greed dressed up as charity.

A chance encounter at Preet Mandir with Xavier, an agent with a Spanish adoption agency, confirmed Preet Mandir’s status as one of India’s biggest inter-country adoption centers.

Xavier: “From Preet Mandir alone we take almost 20 babies every year.”

CNN-IBN: “Twenty every year. So India is not expensive comparitively?”

Xavier: “No. Bhasin takes donations for foriegn adoptions. Upto $7000.”

Before 2006, the law put a ceiling of Rs 50,000 ($800) on the fee for a child. J S Bhasin was already charging $6000 then. Now the legal limit is $3,500 but Bhasin charges $12,000.

A document of the Pune Adoption Coordination Agency in CNN-IBN’s possession, shows that six out of 10 children at Preet Mandir are adopted by foreigners.

Bhasin’s greed is well documented in certain letters, which are in CNN IBN’s possession. In a letter written by a foreign parent, Bhasin’s first words were, “Now how much money have you brought with you?”

Janet (name changed), an adoptive parent from Ireland just can’t forget how she rescued her daughter from a nightmare called Preet Mandir.

She and her daughter specially flew to London to tell CNN-IBN’S Special Investigation Team this:

“It wasn’t just the money this Mr Bhasin was after. He was quite blatant. He said if we were coming through duty-free would we mind picking up a bottle of whiskey for him and it wasn’t just a bottle of whiskey. It was Black Label. He was quite specific about the kind of whiskey he wanted,” says Janet.

This testimony is important because very few adoptive parents agree to talk about their adoption experience.

“He asked me to send him a photograph of myself so that he could find a child who looked like me. He also asked me all sorts of questions like ‘whether I wanted a child with blue eyes?’ I don’t have blue eyes so why would I want a blue-eyed baby? At that time what I didn’t understand was that he was trying to say it is this easy – you tell me what you like and I will have it ready for you by the end of the week. It was literally like going into a shop and buying a puppy or a car. It was almost like what colour do you want and how old?” Janet adds.

To confirm Janet’s statement, CNN-IBN staged a dummy interview with J S Bhasin.

While two reporters posed as prospective parents, while another team contacted Bhasin for a TV interview at the same time – a strategy to understand his real motives.

Bhasin fell for the bait and asked the reporters posing as the NRI couple to put in a good word for him for the television crew.

J S Bhasin: “Day after, these CNN-IBN people are coming. I want you to talk to them for one minute and put in a word for us. Say you came for charity, your wife got you here. I am not sure but she wants to adopt and we have to discuss this and general stuff.”

CNN-IBN reporter posing as prospective NRI parent: “Oh ok.That’s not a problem. Sure.”

When the CNN-IBN TV crew came, this was the conversation they had with the reporters posing as the NRI couple, with Bhasin in attendance.

CNN-IBN TV Crew: “So you been to Preet Mandir. What do you think of it?”

CNN-IBN reporter posing as prospective NRI parent: “I would rather say we stumbled into Preet Mandir. We are from Nigeria. My name is Shashi Mukherjee and my wife is Anjali Mukherjee.”

CNN-IBN TV Crew: “So are you going to make any donations?”

CNN-IBN reporter posing as prospective NRI parent: “If we decide to adopt a child, then we will certainly make a donations. Whatever Mr Bhasin asks for – $6000, $7000, $8000 in donation money – whatever.”

At Preet Mandir, children are being shamelessly peddled for money. This is proof enough as CNN-IBN reporters posing as prospective adoptive parents, were offered a child for $12,000.

For J S Bhasin every foreign parent is a cash cow to be milked for everything – from whiskey to washing machines.

(With inputs from Karma Wangdi in London and Anjita Roychaudhury in Pune)