Police trace more hospitals linked to kidney racket
Gurgaon/New Delhi : Police Monday uncovered two more hospitals and 10 laboratories allegedly involved in a global organ trading racket even as they confirmed that a doctor who masterminded it all had fled India.
Adding to Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda's admission that the administration's failure allowed the racket to flourish, Gurgaon police chief Mahender Lal said that someone had tipped off doctor Amit Kumar, who had been running the operation for nine long years, about Friday's police crackdown.
"He has left the country through illegal channels," Lal told reporters in Gurgaon, a satellite town bordering the Indian capital. "We are in the process of issuing a Red Corner notice against him."
The commissioner said the police were mulling action against Mohit Hospital in Gautam Budh Nagar in Greater Noida and another hospital in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh where Amit Kumar and his fellow doctors referred the patients to after kidney transplants.
He said 10 laboratories in New Delhi and Gurgaon, where the doctors running the racket sent their patients for examination, had also been identified.
The police now plan legal action against these diagnostic centres on grounds that they might have had knowledge of the multi-million-rupee racket but failed to alert the authorities.
The racket involved illegally removing kidneys from poor labourers and transplanting them to rich recipients, many of them from foreign countries, for huge sums of money.
In most cases, the victims were paid paltry sums and many did not even know that one of their kidneys had been taken away.
Around 600 kidney transplants were reportedly performed in the last nine years.
The Haryana Police have formed 10 teams to raid medical centres linked to the racket and the homes of suspects. They have seized a laptop that contained 48 applications from overseas clients seeking kidneys, Lal said.
Eight luxury cars that ferried the patients had also been seized. Lal said that eight bank accounts where the doctors and their assistants stashed away their earnings had been identified.
In initial raids Friday, five people, including a doctor, were arrested in what the police described as a lucrative trade in body parts.
The arrested doctor, Upendra Kumar, was running the racket at a private hospital in a house in Sector 23 of Gurgaon along with other doctors, Amit, Jeevan and Saraj Kumar.
The police commissioner said their interrogation has revealed that five nurses and 15 other staff members were also involved in the scam. However, nobody among them has been arrested.
He said that the foreigners who were detained have been asked not to leave India till investigations were completed. The network was spread across five states: Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.
Meanwhile, The Indian Medical Association (IMA) Monday set up a three-member panel to probe the role of the doctors in the organised racket.
Former IMA secretary general Vinay Aggarwal, managing director and chairman of Pushpanjali Crosslay Hospital, will head the committee that will submit a report in 15 days. The other members are S.C.L. Gupta and Dharam Prakash.
IMA national president M. Abbas demanded punishment for the doctors indulging in illegal practices. "They must be taught a lesson."
But he blamed the stringent organ transplantation laws for the crisis.
Abbas said that the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994 should be made more lenient, and donor and recipient friendly.
"At present, only the spouse, parents, brother and sister can donate, and only in special circumstances can other close relatives donate their organs," he said.