On January 20, 2017, the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), the Indian government’s regulatory body for adoptions, sent a letter to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), the West Bengal police’s detective department. The letter said that certain “irregularities” pertaining to a Darjeeling-based destitute women’s shelter and children’s home had come to the notice of CARA, and it urged the Bengal sleuths to initiate a probe. According to sources, CARA’s suspicions were raised when it found that a number of backdated adoption registration forms were being hurriedly uploaded on to its website in a short span of time. CARA’s cyber-crime wing traced it back to a server in the Darjeeling-Jalpaiguri area in north Bengal.
Between the letter’s arrival and February 19, when, after a month-long investigation, the Bengal detectives made their first arrest—of the owner of the shelter and home, Chandana Chakraborty—an unusual meeting took place at the residence of the general secretary of the district BJP women’s wing, Juhi Chowdhury. The January 25 meeting was between Juhi and Chandana, who, it has since emerged, had alleged links with local Trinamool Congress leaders.