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Three-year-old boy stolen a year ago reunited with his parents

He was taken away and sold to a childless couple

A family was reunited with their three-year-old son nearly a year after he was reported missing in November 2020. The efforts of the Byatarayanapura police, who kept investigating the case despite a lack of leads, paid off with the arrest of a 22-year-old habitual offender, who had allegedly sold the boy to a childless couple from a village in Hosur for ₹60,000.

A year ago, the accused, Karthik, was arrested by the Vijayanagar police for bike theft. After coming out on bail, he started selling vegetables in Hosur. “He befriended a man who told him his relative was looking to adopt a child,” said the police.

Karthik often visited his girlfriend’s house in Shamanna Garden. During his visits, he used to see a toddler in the neighbourhood. To make some extra money, he decided to steal the boy and sell him to the family in Hosur. He got the opportunity in November 2020, when he spotted the boy playing outside his house unmonitored.

He stole the boy and handed him over to his friend in Hosur. Karthik claimed that the boy was his, the youngest of three children, and that he was looking for someone to adopt him as he unable to care for him because of the financial losses he had incurred during the pandemic. He allegedly told his friend that he would use the money to care for his two other children.

Karthik took ₹60,000 from his friend and promised to come back with the adoption papers, but never returned. By then, the boy’s parents had reported him missing. “Knowing that his presence in the area would be questioned, the accused stopped visiting his girlfriend in the neighbourhood, thereby evading detection,” the police officer added.

Months passed, but the police team did not give up and continued to monitor visitors to the neighbourhood. Karthik, thinking that the case was closed, resumed his visits to his girlfriend’s house.

His frequent presence caught the attention of inspector M.N. Nagaraj, who probed his background and found that he had spent time in jail. The police came to know that he had previous cases and picked him up for questioning.

A detailed questioning led to his confessing to the crime, following which the child was rescued and handed over to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). He was reunited with his parents at Byatarayanapura police station on Saturday.

According to the police, the couple who had ‘adopted’ the boy had lost both their children and were unable to conceive. While Karthik was arrested and remanded in judicial custody, the couple were counselled by the CWC and police officers.

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