Dhaka,   Tuesday 23 July 2024

The South Asian Times | সাউথ এশিয়ান টাইমস

Delhi doctor held for Bangladesh-India kidney transplant racket

Published: 14:17, 9 July 2024

Delhi doctor held for Bangladesh-India kidney transplant racket

Staff Correspondent

Police have arrested a 50-year-old doctor from Delhi-based Indraprastha Apollo Hospital for her alleged involvement in an organ transplantation racket spanning Bangladesh and India.

The police have said that Dr Vijaya Kumari, now under suspension, was the lone doctor working with the gang and had performed around 15-16 transplants from 2021-23 in Noida-based private Yatharth Hospital, the Indian Express reported on Tuesday. 

The arrest was made last week.

In the alleged racket, records show, patients from Bangladesh were lured by a network of middlemen, Kumari, and their associates for organ transplantation in major hospitals in the national capital region.

Besides Kumari, three Bangladeshi nationals were arrested last month.

Fake documents in the name of the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi, were allegedly prepared to claim there was a relationship between the donor and recipient (both Bangladeshi) — a requisite as per Indian law.

The Indian Express citing sources said that these forged documents have also been seized.

Kumari, a senior consultant and a kidney transplant surgeon, joined Apollo Hospital as a junior doctor almost 15 years ago. 

She was engaged on a fee-for-service basis and not on the hospital’s payroll.

Additional Medical Superintendent of Yatharth Hospital, Sunil Baliyan, said that Kumari was working with the hospital as a visiting consultant and performed transplants on patients brought by her.

“No patient of Yatharth was given to her and she had performed one surgery in the last three months,” he told the Indian Express.

“Given this action by the police, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals (IAH) placed the doctor under suspension. IAH was previously approached by the Crime Branch seeking certain information as part of an investigation, which was duly provided,” an IAH spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added: “This action is subsequent to an investigation pertaining to procedures carried out at another hospital and prima facie not related to any action or acts at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.”

In the present case, one Rasel, 29, along with associates Mohammed Sumon Miyan, Ifti, all based in Bangladesh, and Tripura-based Ratish Pal, lured potential donors from their country to Delhi.

They would donate their kidneys for ?4-5 lakh and recipients were charged to the tune of ?25-30 lakh, a source said. Except for Ifti, all other accused have been arrested.

“We received information after a kidney racket was busted in Rajasthan and police started working around three months ago. 

All the accused are first-timers, and they are giving ?2-3 lakh to the doctor for every transplant,” the source told the Indian newspaper. 

In the present case, donors and recipients coordinated their stay, treatment, and tests through a medical tourism company named Al Shifa, sources said. The statement of a victim has been recorded under Section 164 CrPC which is admissible evidence in court.

The victim’s medical records from Yatharth Hospital have been seized, showing forged documents from the Bangladesh High Commission.

“These documents show it was misused to complete the medical file linked to the transplantation record of the victim,” the source said.

Sources said the police are now investigating an organized crime syndicate. During the probe, Vikram, working as an assistant to Kumari, has also been arrested in the case.

Records show Rasel had rented a flat in Jasola Village.

“Five to six donors were staying at this rented flat. All the tests before the transplant were completed. The recipients would also meet the donors at the flat,” the source said. Sources said that Rasel, from Kushtia district, Bangladesh, identified his associates as Dhaka-based Miyan, 28 and Mohammad Rokon, 26, both of whom were inside the flat during the questioning. 

During the arrests, sources said, a bag recovered from Rasel’s room contained nine passports, two diaries, and a register. These passports belonged to kidney donors and recipients and the diary reportedly had details of monetary transactions between the donor and recipient.

The police also said to have seized another bag from Mohd Rokon, which contained 20 stamps of different impressions and two stamp ink pads (blue and red), allegedly used to create the fake papers. Rokon was also arrested.