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Gujarat sting operation nails doctor conducting sex determination tests
Haresh Pandya in Rajkot | September 19, 2006 11:45 IST
Dr Bharat Bhate was charged with conducting sex determination tests and abortions at his clinic in Mill Para, Rajkot.
"We had received a number of complaints against Dr Bhate," District Collector Pradeep Sharma told this correspondent. "We kept a vigil on him and the movements at his dispensary for the last three months, but we could not carry out the sting operation earlier as we did not have the necessary equipment. By a remarkable coincidence, the state health department also received complaints against him and a special team from Gandhinagar arrived in Rajkot to look into the matter."
"We decided to conduct a joint sting operation and catch him red-handed. We took the help of a pregnant woman as a decoy and sent her on Thursday to Dr Bhate for the sex determination test of her child," Collector Sharma said.
"He mentioned his fees -- Rs 5,000 and Rs 2,000 for female and male babies respectively, including abortion expenses. As per our instructions, she went to see him, armed with currency notes with special numbers as well as a hidden spycam at 9 am on Friday. We followed her and raided the dispensary. We had technical experts from Delhi with us. The sting operation was successful and there was no way Dr Bhate could escape," Sharma added.
Dr M S Ranawat, the Gujarat government's family planning consultant, led the team from Gandhinagar.
"We had been receiving complaints against Dr Bhate," Dr Ranawat said. "This was our third raid on Dr Bhate's hospital. We had to let him off in the past for want of evidence."
Dr Bhate is about 55 years old and has an MS degree. The authorities sealed his clinic after the police arrested him.
"We were startled to see close circuit cameras in his hospital," Sharma said. "Why does a doctor, whatever his specialisation, need to install such cameras? Of course, this is the first sting operation of its kind in Gujarat. I won't be surprised if it proves to be first of its kind in India too."