A 17-year-old has been held by the Odisha Police on charges of selling his wife a month after their wedding to a 55-year-old man in Rajasthan where he had gone to work in a brick kiln.
The woman, a 26-year-old, has been rescued by the police from the south-eastern Rajasthan district of Baran which borders Madhya Pradesh, with "great difficulty" as local villagers refused to let the police team take her away, emphasising that they had paid for her.
The two were married in July this year.
"In August, the couple went to Rajasthan via Raipur and Jhansi to work in a brick kiln. However a few days after his new job, the 17-year-old sold off his wife to a 55-year-old man from Baran district for ₹1.8 lakh," said Bulu Munda, inspector in charge of Belpada police station in Balangir district.
The teenager splurged the money on dining and bought himself a smartphone. He later returned to his village and when his wife's family asked him about her, he claimed that she deserted him.
The woman's family didn't buy his story and lodged a police complaint with the police. They checked his call records and spotted gaps in his story.
"We interrogated him and found out that he sold his wife. A team from Balangir went to Rajasthan to trace the woman. However, the locals there did not allow our team to take her back insisting that the woman has been bought for ₹1.8 lakh. We could get her back home with great difficulty," said the police officer.
The 17-year-old was produced before a juvenile court on Friday and sent to a correctional home.