Karnataka sex determination & female foeticide case: As arrests rise to 11, case file handed over to CID

One of the two nurses arrested recently has provided horrendous details of how the racket was run and the foetuses killed.

ByBellie Thomas

Published Dec 05, 2023 | 5:57 PMUpdatedDec 05, 2023 | 5:57 PM

female foeticide Karnataka

With the number of arrests in the sensational sex determination racket busted in Karnataka — allegedly responsible for an estimated 1,000 female foeticides over four years — rising to 11, the case has been handed over to the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

The alleged racket, busted in October, took on shocking proportions as the police investigation — and resultant arrests — revealed a well-oiled mechanism to reach out to those seeking sex-determination tests, and to later facilitate abortions of female foetuses.

The latest arrests in the case by Bengaluru’s Byappanahalli police include the head nurse of private hospital identified as Manjula, and a nurse at the Chamundi Hospital in Mysuru named Usha Rani.

The continuing interrogation of those already in custody led to Manjula and Usha Rai, who were picked up on 1 and 2 December, respectively.

With the arrests of the two nurses, the number of accused in the case is now 11, including two doctors — Dr Chandan Ballal and Dr Tulasiram.

Meanwhile, on 4 December, the Byappanahalli police handed over the case file to the CID officials who have sought custody of a few accused, including the two nurses, a senior police officer told South First.

Related: Sex-determination racket operating in Mandya sugar factory busted

Manjula’s revelations

The nurse Manjula, who was on the run since the racket was busted, had joined another hospital in Mysuru. She was arrested from there by the Byappanahalli police on Friday, the officer added.

Manjula is said to have confessed to the police horrendous details of female foeticide procedures that were carried out at the hospital while she worked as a head nurse over the past year. Her main job was aborting female foetuses, the officer stated.

Manjula told the police officials that pregnant women admitted to the hospital were given tablets which would make them bleed profusely in order to get the foetuses aborted.

She said that, starting from 14-week foetuses, she had even aborted female foetuses that were six months old.

Once dead, the bigger foetuses were wrapped in paper and handed over to hospital attendant Nissar for disposal. Nissar would take the package and throw it into the Cauvery river, the police said.

The smaller foetuses were dumped in the medical waste bin and left to decompose and lose their human shape, she told the cops.

Manjula also told the police that sometimes it was difficult to determine the sex of the foetus and the doctor would ask the patients to come back after a while so that it could develop, and the sex determined.

She also alleged that Dr Chandan Ballal could not even use the scan properly, and that she did not believe he had completed his MBBS course or was qualified to open a nursing home, the police said.

Related: Around 1,000 foeticides, but will the accused be brought to book?

Case so far

Soon after busting the racket being run out of a Mandya jaggery factory, the police filed an FIR on 15 October and arrested four people: Shivalingegowda of Mysuru, Nayan Kumar of Mandya, Naveen Kumar of Pandavapura in Mandya; and TM Veeresh of Davanagere.

Based on their interrogation, the police arrested five more people: Dr Tulasiram of Chennai, Dr Chandan Ballal of Mysuru, his wife Meena, who was the administrator of the Matha Hospital at Udyagiri in Mysuru, hospital receptionist Rizma Khan, and lab technician Nissar.

According to investigators, Dr Tulasiram’s mother Dr Latha owned a hospital in her name at Udayagiri in Mysuru. She along with her son Dr Tulasiram used to exterminate female foetuses for a fee. When she died, and following a dispute with other members of the management, Dr Tulasiram sold the hospital.

Dr Ballal bought the hospital and changed its name to Matha. “With the help of the hospital receptionist, Rizma Khan, Dr Tulasiram, who had a list of people who wanted to know about the gender of their foetuses, passed it on to Dr Ballal,” police sources told South First.

Later, suspicious that information about the illegal act had been leaked, Dr Ballal stopped performing the procedure at Matha Hospital and instead started an Ayurveda centre for treating piles in Mysuru. He resumed his operations from the new centre, and continued for about two-and-a-half years, police sources said.

Interrogators learnt that the racket had been performing around 20 to 25 abortions every month for the past four years. The gender determination of foetuses was carried out at a Mandya jaggery processing unit where lab technician Veeresh used to perform ultrasonography.

Veeresh is said have used a portable ultrasound scanner, which he kept shifting from place to place to avoid detection. Once the gender was revealed, and if they wanted to undergo an abortion, Veeresh would direct them to Dr Ballal in Mysuru.

Dr Ballal charged around ₹ 25,000 to ₹30,000 for each abortion, police said.