The Bihar government has not found anything untoward about the adoption of a three-year-old Texan girl, Sherin Mathews, whose body was reportedly found in a culvert about half a mile from her parents’ home in suburban Dallas on Sunday.
Sherin was adopted by US couple Wesley and Sini Mathews from the Mother Teresa Anath Sewa Ashram in Bihar’s Nalanda district, 70 km south-east of Patna, on June 23 last year. The clean chit came a day after the ministry of external affairs (MEA) asked the authorities if all formalities were fulfilled at the time of the adoption.
“We are convinced that the orphanage followed all the requisite norms. Our inquiry team did not detect any irregularity in the girl’s adoption,” Nalanda district magistrate (DM) SM Thiyagarajan told Hindustan Times, adding that the report has been sent to the MEA.
The DM had ordered an inquiry on Monday, after the United States police proclaimed that the body “most likely” belonged to Sherin. The girl had gone missing around 3 am on October 7, when Wesley reportedly made her stand outside their Richardson residence as punishment for not finishing her glass of milk. He later admitted that she had choked on the milk, and has now been placed under arrest.
“Our probe has verified two important facts. First, the adoption was completed following a court order by the district judge as stipulated under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. Secondly, the agency had procured a no-objection certificate from the Central Adoption Resource Agency, the nodal body for adoption of Indian children under the ministry of women and child development,” Thiyagarajan said.
“We furnished all the details regarding the girl’s adoption, including information on the orphanage and its present status, to the MEA on Wednesday,” he added.
The orphanage and adoption centre – run by a non-governmental organisation – had been in trouble since September 7, when the social welfare department ordered its closure for several shortcomings.
However, orphanage secretary Babita Kumari was critical of the Bihar government’s order. She said the orphanage did not get any show-cause notice before the closure order.
“We will challenge it in court,” Kumari added.
Sherin, who was called Saraswati prior to her adoption, was seven months old when a children’s welfare organisation in Gaya transferred her to the orphanage in February 2015.