A poor woman named Sanju from the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh sold her 15-day-old son to a couple to arrange money for her ailing husband's treatment. She reportedly got INR 42,000 ($661, £486) in return for her newborn baby.

The woman's husband, Harswarup Maurya, was a daily wage labourer and the sole breadwinner of his nine-member family. However, in October 2016, in an accident at a construction site, he suffered from traumatic paraplegia, DNA reported.

"I was admitted to a hospital by my wife with backbone injury. All our savings were spent in carrying out the treatment. A few days later, my lower portion became disabled and doctors asked us to go to Delhi for further treatment," the 25-year-old said.

The poor man also said that he had taken a loan of INR 65,000 to meet the family's daily expenses, so when his wife delivered their third son on 14 December, he and his wife decided to sell him off.

"I am bed-ridden and can't move. With no help coming from anywhere, what other choices we had, than to sell the third child to raise money for my treatment and survival of the family," Maurya added.

Meanwhile, On Tuesday, 2 January, the child was brought right back to the impoverished couple after authorities got to know about the incident.

Maurya seemed happy after being reunited with his son but said he cannot return "Rs 42,000 to the couple".

Police have denied any monetary exchange between the couples. "It wasn't a monetary transaction and both the parties entered into an agreement through a notary affidavit. Since it wasn't the legal way of adoption, we brought the boy back," Nawabganj Sub-divisional Magistrate Kunwar Pankaj told The Times of India.

He added: "We have opened a bank account for the family and have deposited Rs 15,000 in it. After hearing their story, several social organisations have also volunteered to donate.

"I have sent a notice to the village head asking why they did not inform the administration about the suffering family. Harswaroop could have been provided financial aid under a government scheme."