Man gets jail for forging papers to save baby

Singaporean submitted forged birth cert in India in bid to bring gravely ill kid here for treatment

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 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 the boy had a hernia in 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. He 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 yesterday to four months' jail after pleading guilty to one count each of offences under the Passports Act and the Constitution of Singapore. He also admitted trying to pass off 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). They 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. As a result, he 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 medical attention. A then made the decision to take the child back to Singapore.

As the former maid was not ready to take over custody of the children, Guru told A that he would falsely indicate in the documents that the Singaporean couple were the boys' birth parents.

A and C went to Singapore's Consulate-General in India on Sept 5, 2014, where he gave the 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. The couple have since divorced. He is out on bail of $40,000 and will surrender himself at the State Courts on Nov 4 to begin serving his sentence.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2019, with the headline 'Man gets jail for forging papers to save baby'. Print Edition | Subscribe