Baby stolen from YCM Hospital

A baby boy, barely eight-hour-old, was stolen from the PCMC-run Yeshwantrao Chavan Memorial Hospital in Pimpri on Monday afternoon, raising questions about the "heightened security" measures on the hospital premises. Doctors at YCMH said this was a first-of-its-kind incident in the 22-year-old history of the hospital.

The CCTVs installed at the hospital premises caught a woman aged 30-35 years taking away the baby. The incident took place between 1 pm and 2 pm. The mother, Aparna Hemant Pokharkar (27), was unconscious after a C-section delivery, while her attendants had apparently gone out for lunch. The woman who hails from Junnar taluka had delivered the baby around 5am.

PCMC health chief Dr Anand Jagdale, who is also the YCMH superintendent, said the woman probably stole the baby taking advantage of the fact that the lone security guard was not in place at that time. "The security guard had gone for lunch. Though she was told not to go unless somebody replaces her, she did not heed the advice. During this 15 minute period, the baby was stolen," Dr Jagdale said. The woman security officer has been suspended.

The labour ward is located on the ground floor of YCMH hospital. Dr Jagdale said, in the footage, the woman is seen carrying the baby wrapped in a cloth. "She wore salwar kurta and is dark complextioned." Before she entered the labour ward, the woman is seen talking over the phone at the main entrance of the hospital. "Police are trying to track her cellphone," Dr Jagdale said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone III) Shahaji Umap said they have grabbed two important clues. "The woman's face is clearly visible which will help them in making a sketch and trace her. She is talking over the phone, which means that she was alone when she stole the baby. It also seems that she was in the act at the behest of someone else," he said. Police has scanned places such as railway stations and bus stands to trace the woman. "It is possible that the woman might have fled with the baby in a vehicle waiting outside the hospital premises," he said.

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