What are you doing in Preet Mandir, Mr Bhasin?

By: Parth Satam and Kaumudi Gurjar
Date: 2011-06-30
Place: Pune

Despite court order restraining Preet Mandir’s former managing trustee JS Bhasin — an accused in an adoption racket — from entering orphanage, MiD DAY finds him flipping through office files on the premises

Even as the Preet Mandir orphanage controversy rages on in courtrooms over allegations of financial irregularities and child trafficking, MiD DAY found former managing trustee J S Bhasin in the office of the adoption home yesterday despite a court order restraining him from being present on the premises. A MiD DAY reporter posing as a prospective adoptive parent photographed Bhasin, who was in jogging clothes, while he was seated in the orphanage with other office staff around 5.30 pm yesterday, flipping through office files.

A few hours later, Y V Krishnamurthy, Preet Mandir’s spokesperson and former editor of a leading English daily from the city, called the MiD DAY office and spoke to a reporter, questioning our purpose and actions. A few Preet Mandir office-bearers also visited the MiD DAY office a few minutes later, requesting us to “soften” the story.

Picture doesn’t lie: Former managing trustee J S Bhasin found going
through some papers at the Preet Mandir office yesterday

Preet Mandir officials at the MiD DAY office. Pics/Parth Satam & Debarati

“Were you the one who clicked the photo?” Krishnamurthy asked the reporter. “You obviously wanted to conduct a sting operation so you posed as a parent. But understand that Bhasin doesn’t come here regularly and lives in a bungalow right behind the orphanage. He was just taking a walk and decided to drop by when you got wind of his presence.”

Krishnamurthy then asked for an audience and came to the MiD DAY office a few minutes later. All throughout the time he was in the office, he maintained that Bhasin’s presence was not official but just a casual visit.
“It was his (Bhasin’s) misfortune that he lives right behind the orphanage and had to pass through it. He was clad in exercise clothes, which shows he was just going for a walk. But I would request you to not to tarnish the organisation’s image, and highlight some of the genuine problems faced by us which are hampering the childrens’ lives,” he said. Krishnamurthy also talked about lack of co-operation from the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), which is hampering the orphanage’s operations.

A special court order in August last year had asked Bhasin — accused of entering into a criminal conspiracy to kidnap poor children and give them away in adoption — not to enter the premises and not to interfere in the day-to-day office work. According to the CBI, the court had granted Bhasin conditional bail. Bhasin going to the Preet Mandir office is a case of violation of the conditional bail granted him by the special court last year.
CBI Public Prosecutor Advocate Vivek Saxena said, “The court had granted him (Bhasin) bail on the condition that he will not enter the premises of adoption centre and will not interfere in the office work.”

The case so far
May 2010: CBI files FIR on May 12 last year, alleging the role of the city-based foundation in a racket involving the kidnapping of children of poor families for sending them for adoption. The CBI had then booked Joginder Singh Bhasin, former managing trustee of the Balwant Kartaar Foundation, his wife Mahinder and son Gurpreet (both trustees), Chandrashekhar Admane, a social worker at Preet Mandir, and JK Mittal, former chairman of the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA). The CBI, in its FIR against the managing trustee and others, had alleged that between 2002 and 2010, Bhasin and his associates kidnapped children belonging to poor families in the state under a criminal conspiracy.

August 9: Joginder Singh Bhasin was arrested by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Belapur near Mumbai for his alleged involvement in an “inter-country adoption racket”.

August 18: Former managing trustee Joginder Singh Bhasin gets conditional bail after furnishing a personal bond and a surety bond of Rs 2 lakh. Court had then directed him not to tamper with evidence or threaten witnesses. Bhasin was also told not to participate or interfere in the affairs of Preet Mandir or contact any office-bearers till the inquiry was completed.
March 2011: The charge-sheet was filed against Joginder Singh Bhasin and others and they were charged with entering into a criminal conspiracy to kidnap poor children and give them up for adoption.