The police on Saturday arrested four people in Odisha’s coastal Kendrapara district for allegedly forcing a couple to sell their newborn girl to clear a hospital bill, the Hindustan Times reported. The accused included an Accredited Social Health Activists worker and a nursing home staff.

The father, Nirakar Maharana, said the Asha worker had forced him to take his pregnant wife to a private nursing home instead of a state-run district hospital on Tuesday. His wife, Gitanjali Maharana, gave birth to the girl at the clinic the same night.

The Asha worker allegedly persuaded the parents to sell the baby for Rs 12,000 to a childless couple after they failed to clear the hospital bill of Rs 7,500. The couple filed a police complaint on Friday.

The accused claimed that the couple, who already have two daughters, voluntarily sold the baby as they were disappointed with the birth of another girl child.