SINGAPORE - A Singaporean businessman, who wanted to bring a gravely ill baby from India to Singapore for medical treatment, submitted a forged birth certificate to an officer at Singapore's Consulate-General in Mumbai, claiming that he and his wife were the child's birth parents.
The document also falsely stated the child's birthday as March 9, 2014, when he was, in fact, born on July 16 that year.
The court heard that the little boy had a hernia at his groin, which was a life-threatening condition that needed an immediate operation.
Unaware that the document was false, the consular officer granted the child a Singapore document of identity in lieu of a passport.
The child was registered as a Singapore citizen on Sept 5, 2014, and came to Singapore two days later.
The man, identified in court documents only as "A", also tried to apply for a Singapore citizenship for the baby's twin brother by using another false birth certificate, the court heard.
The 46-year-old man was sentenced on Friday (Oct 25) to four months' jail after pleading guilty to one count each of offences under the Passports Act and the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore.
He also admitted to using a forged document as genuine.
The man and his wife cannot be named to protect the children's identities. Court documents did not state where the boys are now.
It all started when the man and his 35-year-old Singaporean wife, who were unable to conceive, went to Mumbai in September 2013 to undergo in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).
The pair went there with another married couple who were their friends.
A's wife, known only as "C" in court documents, and a donor's eggs were then fertilised by sperm from A and their male friend.
The eggs were used on a surrogate, who gave birth to the twin boys on July 16, 2014.
A was earlier told that only Indian nationals could take custody of children conceived through IVF with surrogates there.
He therefore made arrangements for his former maid, an Indian national, to take custody of the boys. A would then make arrangements to adopt the children from her.
He returned to Mumbai on July 27, 2014 and enlisted a man, known only as "Guru", to help him with the boys' paperwork.
The court heard that A later found out that one of the boys had the life-threatening condition that needed immediate medical attention.
A then made the decision to take the child back to Singapore as he "did not have confidence" in India's medical facilities.
As the former maid was not ready to take over the children's custody, Guru told A that he would falsely indicate in the documents that the Singaporean couple were the boys' birth parents.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Selene Yap had earlier said: "Guru asked (A) for a date when C was in India, so that the accused would not be questioned by the authorities on the discrepancy in dates, and it would also expedite the process by which the accused could bring the boys to Singapore.
"The accused informed Guru that C was last in Mumbai on March 9, 2014 for a hip replacement operation, and told Guru to indicate the date of birth for both boys... accordingly."
A and C went to Singapore's Consulate-General in India on Sept 5, 2014 where he handed the sick baby's false birth certificate to the consular officer.
The offences came to light the following month when C alerted the police about what her husband had done.
It was not stated in court documents what had spurred her to do so.
A DNA report dated Sept 2, 2015, later revealed that A could not have been the boys' biological father.
The identity of the children's biological parents was also not stated in court documents.
The couple have since divorced. The man is now out on bail of $40,000 and will surrender himself at the State Courts on Nov 4 to begin serving his sentence.
For using a forged document as genuine, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.