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Adoptee returns to birth country with accusations of kidnap

Jun 8, 2013, 12.43AM IST TNN[ Stanley Pinto ]

Inter-country adoptions come to haunt authorities after three decades

MANGALORE: Inter-country adoptions carried out in the 70's have come back to haunt authorities here after about three decades. A 37-year-old India-born German national has lodged a complaint of kidnap, sale and sending her abroad under the guise of inter-country adoption without any proper authority.

Complaints have been lodged against Nirmala Social Welfare Centre Ullal, Salvation Army Bombay and Terre Des Hommes (TDH-Germany) which has its local office in Pune.

German national Claudia Sabitha Gerstner, alias Ida Maria Esther from Munchen, Germany, named the former heads of Nirmala Social Welfare Centre and others as main suspects. Claudia said in her complaint that they destroyed the records to shield the crime committed by their predecessors.

The complaint was filed after Sabitha's constituted attorney, Anjali Pawar and Arun Dohle, who work on adoption issues for Against Child Trafficking failed to get necessary documents and answers from the centre.

Sabitha was born on September 28, 1975 and was baptized on December 7, 1975. According to her complaint, her mother has been identified as Cecile Pinto in the records maintained at the centre.

According to the child study report that she accessed from TDH, her mother stayed for five months at Nirmala before getting transferred to Bombay. As per the affidavit of one person identified as Ruthbai Teldhune, I was admitted at Salvation Army Bombay sometime in 1976. But it is not even mentioned that I was born in Mangalore and was originally residing there. Then I was given into guardianship for the purpose to be adopted by Herbert Gerstner via Guardianship Petition No. 307 of 1976 in the Bombay high court. The only conclusion is that I was removed from the jurisdiction of the Mangalore courts, without any legal authority or permission, just to facilitate my export abroad for monetary benefits. Further, there is no relinquishment document to be found anywhere, which leads to the logical conclusion that I have been kidnapped from my mother," the complaint to Ullal police states.

Ullal police inspector Madan Goankar said, "We have received the complaint and are conducting investigations. An FIR has not been lodged as it is a 30-year-old case and there is no prima facie evidence as of now."

Sabitha said, "Finding my biological mother is important for me to fill in the void in my life."

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