Preet Mandir adoption racket: Court rejects J K Mittal’s discharge plea

– Mubarak Ansari

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

PUNE: A special CBI court recently rejected the discharge plea of J K Mittal, the then chairman of the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA), from his alleged involvement in ‚child adoption racket‘ run by city-based Preet Mandir.

The CBI investigated 70 in-country and five inter-country adoption cases of Preet Mandir and the trustees had allegedly misappropriated trust’s fund to the tune of over Rs 47 lakhs.

While rejecting Mittal’s application on Saturday, special judge Sudhakar Yarlagadda observed, “there is sufficient material to frame charges against the applicant (Mittal). It is not a case that lacks ground to proceed against him.”

Mittal in his discharge application claimed that he was not a public servant as he was not drawing any salary from government and only got travel allowances.

The judge observed, “the inter-country adoption is obviously a duty in which a community at large has interest. Such duty of dealing with inter-country adoption is a public duty under the Prevention of Corruption Act.”

The case dates back to 2006-07, when child rights activist Anjali Pawar NGO Sakhee and Advait Foundation filed writ petitions in the Bombay High Court (HC) about the racket. On HC order, CBI registered a case against Joginder Singh Bhasin (74), the managing trustee of Preet Mandir and unknown officials of CARA.

In 2011, Inspector S Bhattacharya of CBI’s Mumbai-based Special Crime Branch filed the 87-pages chargesheet against Bhasin (72), his trustee wife Mahinder (70) and trustee son Gurupreet (44), Vasudev Gangadhar Darshane (62), who was the superintendent of Vasudev Babaji Navrange Balak Ashram in Pandharpur,Chandrashekhar Admane (41),the then social worker with Preet Mandir,Kalyani Nagar and Jainendra Kumar Mittal (57), the then chairman of CARA, New Delhi.

CARA being the central authority which is functioning as the nodal body in the country in the matter of adoption, its NOC is required for inter-country adoption. However, CARA’s then chairman Mittal habitually accepted considerations from Joginder with whom he was having official dealings. From June 7-9, 2007, Mittal had come to Pune for official inspection of adoption centres including Preet Mandir. “The suite in Hotel Arora Towers where he stayed was booked by Preet Mandir. Out of bills of Rs 16,361, Mittal paid Rs 11,000 (later got it reimbursed by CARA) and remaining Rs 5,361 was paid by Preet Mandir. Also, in January 2010 Mittal accepted Rs 50,000 from a staff of Joginder,” the chargesheet states.

CBI investigated 70 in-country and five inter-country adoption cases of Preet Mandir and the trustees had allegedly misappropriated trust’s fund to the tune of over Rs 47 lakhs. “Joginder extorted money from Indian parents for adoption in the form of donation. Joginder, Mahinder and Gurupreet had misappropriated the orphanage fund for their own use during 2002- 2010 by availing payment of credit card bills raised due to use of their credit cards issued in personal names.”

The chargesheet, with 114 witnesses and 168 document, states “It has been revealed during investigation that during 2002 – 10, Joginder had entered into criminal conspiracy with Mahinder, Gurupreet, Darshane, Admane, Mittal and collected children from Maharashtra with a motive to send them for in-country and inter-country adoption to extort huge money from adoptive parents.”

It further reads, “Joginder was also in illegal procurement of children and for this purpose he opened a rehabilitation centre, Sai Dham, at Kanhe Phata, Pune in 2004. Joginder, Darshane and Admane had fraudulently kidnapped four children of Ramesh Dattatray Kulkarni, fabricated documents and illegally confined the four minors and then sent them in inter-country adoption. Joginder had fraudulently obtained rejection slips from Indian parents and then forged these rejection slips with a motive to use these slips to send children in inter-country adoption.”

Preet Mandir – I, Pune Camp and Preet Mandir – II , Kalyani Nagar were orphanage centre for infants and children while Sai Dham was rehabilitation centre for the distressed women. After kidnapping children from parts of Maharashtra, Joginder would confine them at Sai Dham, which he started at Kanhe Phata in 2004.

According to CBI, Joginder’s modus operandi was that he would enable prospective parents to visit Preet Mandir- I. “Subsequently, the meeting was organised, the couple would evince interest in a particular child and Joginder would hand over the child to prospective parents for with or without agreement for foster care and once the bonding is cemented between the couple and the child, he would make unreasonable demand of donations running into a few lakhs rupees to US $ 10,000.”

All the accused have been booked u/s 420 (cheating), 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 467 (forgery) and other relevant sections of the IPC and section 13(1) (b) read with 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.