The High Court in India’s Jharkhand state has rejected the latest bail plea of a Missionaries of Charity nun accused of selling babies from a congregation-run home for unwed mothers.
Sr Concilia was arrested on July 4 at Nirmal Hriday, the home she managed for unmarried mothers in the state capital Ranchi. She was initially remanded in custody for 14 days. She and her congregation have denied the illegal trading of babies.
Courts have since refused her bail several times, most recently on October 30, on the grounds that the investigation of the case and a probe into the activities of her congregation could be hampered if she is released.
Sr Concilia was arrested along with a staff member following complaints that the staff member took money to give a baby to a childless couple but failed to keep her promise.
Jesuit Fr Peter Martin, a lawyer who is providing legal help, said the nun’s congregation and Church officials had expected bail to be granted by the High Court after a district court turned down her bail application on July 20.
He said the next option was to approach the Supreme Court.
Police claim that Jharkhand state’s Child Welfare Committee suspected that the home was involved in the illegal trading of children after a couple complained they were not given a child despite paying 120,000 rupees (€1,445) as an adoption fee.
Police said they recovered 65,000 rupees from the arrested staff member that the couple allegedly paid to get a baby from the home run by Missionaries of Charity, a congregation founded by St Teresa of Kolkata, commonly known as Mother Teresa.
Sr Mary Prema Pierick, who heads the congregation, has denied the allegation.