India International Adoption Scandal: Preet Mandir and CARA Officials Charged UPDATED
On Tuesday March 7, 2011, The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed “an 87-page chargesheet against six accused including trustees of Preet Mandir and then chairman of Child Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) for their alleged involvement in illegal child procurement racket and extorting money from the parents.”
“The chargesheet filed by CBI contains 114 witnesses’ names and 168 documents describing the depth of crime and conspiracy” and “revealed that during the period of 2002-10, Joginder Singh had entered into criminal conspiracy with Mahinder, Gurupreet, Darshane, Admane, Mittal and collected children from all over the state with a motive to send them for in-country and inter-country adoption to extort huge money from adoptive parents.”
“Preet Mandir-I, located in the Camp area and Preet Mandir–II at Kalyani Nagar were orphanage centres while Sai Dham was a rehabilitation centre for distressed women.
The chargesheet further stated, “Joginder was also in illegal procurement of children and for this purpose, he opened a rehabilitation centre, Sai Dham, at Kanhe Phata, near 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.”
CBI Files Chargesheet in Preet Mandir Case
[Pune Mirror 3/9/11 by Vijay Chavan]
Last May ” a spokesperson of the NGO has strongly refuted the charges and has argued that the CBI in its earlier two probe reports in the same matter had given a clean chit to their managing trustee.”
CBI Files Case Against Preet Mandir
[The Times of India 5/18/10]
The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism has a history of the adoption irregularities in India.
Update: The CBI chargesheet indicates that rules and regulations to “procure” children were broken and ”that Bhasin had started treating the Preet Mandir trust as a “money-spinning organisation” after realising that there was tremendous potential to make money in inter-country adoption. ”
The so-called rehabiliation center (which sounds like what a crisis pregnancy center is in the US), Sai Dham at Kanhe phata in Mulshi taluka, “admitted unwed mothers, but had not given them counseling, nor had it provided training to distressed women. It was revealed that 69 surrender deeds were executed to keep the children of unwed women at Preet Mandir on Dr Coyaji road and at Kalyaninagar. The centre was used to procure children and the CBI has held Bhasin responsible for running the centre in an unethical manner by violating Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) guidelines.”
In Pune between June 2002 and June 2006, 402 children were in need of child welfare. 199 of those were transferred to Preet Mandir, where 65 where internationally adopted to people who are not Indian, 11 were adopted to Non-Resident Indians (NRI) and 51 were domestically adopted. 39 children were purposefully directly put in the category for international adoption, even though the law says that they have to be first considered for domestic adoption.
A common theme in many countries: “The CBI has discovered that distressed parents had temporarily entrusted the custody of their children to Preet Mandir due to compelling/financial circumstances including incarceration of the parents. Preet Mandir made parents sign permanent relinquishment deeds of the children fraudulently, without their knowledge. The parents genuinely thought that their children would be in the safe custody of Preet Mandir and they would be able to get them back after their situations improved. ”
Bhasin Used Kids to Make Money
[The Times of India 3/10/11]
Update 2: The actual charge sheet , from the Against Child Trafficking website.
REFORM Puzzle Piece
Update 3: ”The main accused in the adoption racket case, Joginder Singh Bhasin (72), his wife Mahinder (68) and son Gurpreet (43) have filed pleas before the CBI special court of D R Mahajan seeking discharge from the charges of running an illegal adoption racket at Preet Mandir.
Bhasin was the managing trustee of Balwant Kartar Anand Foundation that runs the adoption home and Mahinder and Gurpreet were trustees when the alleged criminal activities took place.
According to the chargesheet filed by CBI officials in March 2011, the trio allegedly misappropriated funds to the tune of Rs 47 lakh for their personal use from 2002 to 2007 for travelling, staying in five-star hotels and buying luxury goods. The accused have been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 467 and 468 (forgery), 363 (kidnapping), 383 (extortion), 403 (misappropriation of property), 405 (criminal breach of trust), 471 (falsification of account), along with Section 132(2) read with Section 13 (1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Bhasin, Gurpreet and Mahinder have sought discharge from all these charges, opposed by CBI special prosecutor Vivek Saxena. “The court is likely to pass an order on the discharge pleas on Wednesday,” Saxena said.
Other than these three, the CBI had also chargesheeted superintendent of Vasudev Babaji Navrange Balakashram of Pandharpur Vasudev Gangadhar Darshane (60), social worker associated with Preet Mandir’s Kalyaninagar unit Chandrashekar Admane (40) and chairman of Child Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) Janindrakumar Mittal (55).
According to CBI, Bhasin, Darshane and Admane fraudulently obtained rejection slips from Ramesh Kulkarni pertaining to his four minor children, while in other cases, even forged these slips. As per the chargesheet, CARA official Mittal had approved the forged rejection slips. The CBI has detected at least five such inter-country and 70 intra-country adoptions. The CBI had taken over the case on directions of the Bombay High Court after writ petitions were filed in 2006 and 2007, demanding investigation into the irregularities at the adoption centre.”
[The Indian Express 8/8/12 by Aaditi Jathar Lakade]
Please also see our May 2012 post on how they are accepting donation money from PAPs against CARA rules here.
Update 4: “The managing trustee of adoption home Preet Mandir on Monday got shifted some of the records of the adoption home from Pune Camp unit to Kalyaninagar unit without permission from the Bombay High Court or the Women and Child Development Commissioner. The adoption agency has been restricted to move the documents which are the evidence in the case of illegal adoption being probed by the CBI.
When contacted, trustee D P Bhatia agreed that they were moving some records to Kalyaninagar facility. “If we move the court for permission, it will take a long time since the CBI case is on. I have a feeling that my request will not even be entertained by the court. Meanwhile, we are facing inconvenience every day as half of the staff is in Kalyaninagar and the rest in Camp. We cannot keep sending someone to Camp asking for the records whenever we need them for reference,” he said.
“The Bombay High Court has directed Preet Mandir not to shift documents as they are an evidence in the illegal adoption case registered by the CBI. However, the managing trustee sent us a tempo on Monday afternoon and directed to move the records to Kalyaninagar office,” said one of the staff members of Preet Mandir.
According to the chargesheet filed by the CBI in March 2011, Joginder Singh Bhasin, the then managing trustee of Preet Mandir, his wife Mahinder and son Gurpreet allegedly misappropriated funds for their personal use from 2002 to 2007 for travel and stay in five-star hotels. The accused have been charged under various Sections of the IPC, including 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 467 and 468 (forgery), 363 (kidnapping), 383 (extortion), 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property), 405 (criminal breach of trust), 471 (falsification of account) along with Section 132(2) read with Section 13(1) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Last week draft charges were filed against Bhasin, Mahinder, Gurpreet, Vasudev Gangadhar Darshane, superintendent of Navrange Balak Ashram, Pandharpur, Chandrashekhar Admane, social worker at Preet Mandir and J K Mittal, former chairman of the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA), New Delhi. ”
[The Indiana Express 10/2/12]
Update 5: Preet Mandir closes on November 30,2013.
“Pune-based adoption agency Preet Mandir has decided to close its child care and adoption activities and has written to the Women and Child Welfare Department to transfer the children from its Kalyani Nagar home — the only office functional after its Pune Camp office was closed down — to other adoption homes. The agency has 25 children, including 15 special kids. A letter in this regard was sent to the department on November 7.
After three requests for renewal of licence and recognition certificate and several follow-ups did not yield results, Preet Mandir decided to shut operations. “Under the present circumstances, with profound regret we are constrained to stop our child care and adoption activities and earnestly request you to transfer the children as deemed appropriate by November 30,” states the letter written by Preet Mandir managing trustee D P Bhatia.
The department received the letter on November 13 and officials said they would now initiate the process of transferring the children. Deputy Commissioner of Women and Child Rahul More said they will forward the proposal to the government. “We will inform the child welfare committee to transfer the children as soon as possible while we forward the closure request letter to the government. We had also forwarded the agency’s letter for licence renewal to the government,” he said.
In the letter, Bhatia stated the agency has been corresponding with the department since last November, following up on January 2 this year and March 29. “We have reconstituted the board of trustees with the prime objective of improved management practices and also consolidated all our operations under one roof at Kalyani Nagar for better supervision and control,” it stated. The agency claimed even after correspondence and clarification, the government didn’t renew the certificate of recognition.
“You are well aware that we do not receive any grant from the state/Central government and have not been allotted any fresh admission of children since June 2010. Consequently, there have been very few adoptions that could support our operations. Yet all this while we have maintained the requisite staff, causing enormous financial burden on our limited resources in firm hope of renewal of certificate of recognition and commencement of admissions,” stated the letter. The board of trustees met on November 1 and a resolution was passed on the same.
The licence of Preet Mandir — which had earlier courted controversy over its functioning — to give children to adoptive parents abroad was not renewed by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) and thereafter inter-country adoptions too expired in February this year.
In the past two years, when Preet Mandir had permission for adoption within the country, they were able to place nearly 12 children for adoption while some were shifted, leaving only 25 children at the Kalyani Nagar office.
The adoption agency ran into a controversy with a CBI inquiry initiated in February 2006, followed by cancellation of its inter-country adoptions in July 2006. Later, a showcause notice was issued for in-country adoptions in 2010 , which the agency challenged and the High Court had given it two years’ reprieve for in-country adoptions from 2011, which expired on February 23 this year.”
Adoption agency to close down, 25 kids to be shifted[The Indian Express 11/19/13 By Nisha Nambiar]