Newborn stolen from Vanivilas Hospital in Bengaluru; 3rd kidnapping since 2017

The woman who stole the baby reportedly entered the hospital at around 10 am on Friday and spoke to new mothers about their babies.

ByChetana Belagere

Published Apr 17, 2023 | 6:26 PMUpdatedApr 17, 2023 | 6:27 PM

The ward inside Vanivilas Hospital from where an eight-day-old baby was kidnapped, raising serious concerns over security at the hospital. (Wikimedia Commons)

Suma’s world has turned upside down since her newborn was stolen from a government hospital in Bengaluru, where she had given birth.

As a new mother, the 23-year-old was overjoyed with the arrival of her second son.

However, that joy was shortlived as just eight days later she woke up to find her baby missing from her side at Vanivilas Women and Children Hospital on Saturday, 15 April.

The hospital authorities admitted that this was the third such case since 2017. However, the previous two cases were solved, and the babies were reunited with their parents.

Suma’s husband Prasanna MP, a native of Madenur village of the Tiptur taluk in the Tumakuru district, told South First: “I am unable to see my wife suffer. Each time she feels the need to feed, she has to express the milk and throw it out. Her cries are inconsolable. As a husband and father who’s lost the baby, I am undergoing sleepless nights.”

Unfortunately, while a security lapse at the hospital seems to have led to the kidnapping of the eight-day-old boy, Suma is consumed with guilt and grief, wondering if there was anything she could have done differently to prevent this tragedy.

“Every phone call I make, every sight of me, she asks if the police traced the kidnapper and if there was any news about our son,” Prasanna said.

He said that they had to discharge Suma and the baby from the hospital on the same day and the relatives were excited about the baby’s arrival.

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Baby kidnapped from hospital

File picture of Vani Vilas Hospital in Bengaluru from where an eight day old baby boy was kidnapped on Saturday.

Vanivilas Hospital in Bengaluru from where the eight-day-old baby boy was kidnapped. (Wikimedia Commons)

Prasanna said that his wife was admitted to the hospital on 6 April and gave birth to the boy on 7 April. This was the couple’s second child; they have a three-year-old son.

It was a healthy baby but Suma’s platelet count was low. Hence, the doctor advised her to stay in the hospital for a few more days.

They were admitted to room number 1 of the annex ward, which had about eight other patients.

“I left my relative Nagamma to stay with my wife and had to return to my hometown for two days,” Prasanna said.

Suma apparently breastfed the baby around 4 am on 15 April, and went to sleep after the child fell asleep. Nagamma was also sleeping.

Just about 30 minutes, Suma woke up and realised that the baby was not next to her.

She woke Nagamma up, asking if any medical staff had come to take the baby, but Nagamma was shocked too.

The duo raised an alarm and checked with the hospital staff, who were ignorant of the issue.

Suma informed her husband and he rushed to Bengaluru and filed a complaint with the VV Puram Police Station.

A senior officer from the VV Puram Police Station told South First that the baby was taken from Vanivilas Women and Children Hospital in the early hours of Saturday.

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Kidnapper spent 24 hours in hospital

The VV Puram police, who have been trying to trace the kidnapper, first gathered CCTV visuals from the hospital premises.

The visuals showed that a saree-clad heavy-built middle-aged woman carrying a vanity bag walked up to Suma’s bed and silently picked up the boy, weighing 2.4 kg, and put him in her bag before walking out of the hospital.

According to sources, the woman entered the hospital around 10 am on Friday. She spoke to many new mothers about their babies.

A confirmed source from the hospital said that the CCTV footage also show the woman not leaving the hospital until the next day.

“There must be someone who helped her. She has done a thorough reconnaissance of the entire ward and stayed inside the hospital from 10 am on Friday till 4.45 am on Saturday,” explained the source to South First.

“Security is seen opening the gate of the hospital, not even trying to check if there’s anything suspicious. However, she seems very confident that she won’t be caught,” added the source.

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Security concerns at Vanivilas Hospital

This is a renowned government hospital known for its medical facilities and treatments in terms of women and childcare. An average of 40 babies are delivered every day at this facility.

Representative pic

Representative pic

Unfortunately, the hospital has time and again witnessed serious security lapses. There have been other instances of babies being kidnapped from the hospital.

The administration has, unfortunately, always denied security lapses and instead placed the onus on mothers to keep their babies safe.

“The first thing we are told by either the nurse or security or cleaning women is to keep our babies safe. It’s as if it’s our responsibility. Now, this incident has scared us more. So, we are taking turns to sleep, go to the washroom, and take care of the newborns,” said a patient who recently delivered a boy and is still in the hospital.

While there are no checks or enquiries most of the time near the gate, the security can also be seen dosing off inside the hospital ward.

On Saturday, too, the CCTV visuals showed the security opening the gates of the hospital, not even checking who the now-suspect was and why she was hurriedly going out, said a senior police official.

Interestingly, a newborn was stolen from the hospital in November 2020 and the Bengaluru police issued a notice to the hospital over security lapses.

“The hospital then had around 12 CCTV cameras, 10 of which were defunct. During the course of the investigation, we found security lapses and issued a notice to the hospital administration seeking information about the medical and paramedical staff, and security staff, too,” said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity.

When South First spoke to the medical superintendent of the hospital, Dr Savitha C, she said, “This is the third such incident since 2017. It was from our security cameras that the police got clues about the woman. I held a detailed meeting and instructed the management to beef up security. We already have 64 CCTVs and more are being installed. A total of 120 cameras will be installed on the premises.”

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What are the police doing?

According to a senior officer from the VV Puram Police Station, the cops are trying their best to trace the woman.

“All our officers have been on their toes since Saturday. We have gathered CCTV visuals and checked every. We tracked her movements, too. We are trying our best to trace her,” he said.

Meanwhile, Prasanna said that the family was satisfied that the police were doing their best to find the accused.

He said, “The police watched the CCTV visuals several times. They said that they also noticed that the woman walked more in places where there were no cameras. They are trying to find out if she called anyone using her phone. I only hope they find my son safe and healthy as soon as possible.”

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