Over the last two
decades, scandals involving kidney commerce have broken out with depressing
regularity in various Indian cities such as Mumbai, Noida, Amritsar, Bangalore,
and Chennai. What sets the Gurgaon venture apart is the scale of the
operation and hard-core criminality in the modes of procuring kidneys
for profit. Networking at least three hospitals, five diagnostic centres,
four doctors, 20 paramedics, and an unknown number of middlemen, Amit
Kumar, the mastermind, oversaw a cottage industry-sized operation that
performed approximately 500 illegal transplants over the last few years.
Not content with luring innocent poor folk with offers of cash, he and
his henchman used naked threats and force — sometimes at gunpoint
— to coerce ‘donors’ on to the operating table. The Central Bureau
of Investigation, which is taking charge of the case, has its job cut
out. Dr. Kumar has been arrested in Nepal but the investigators might
have to go after a ring suspected to be active in at least five States
and also in other countries, since a fair number of the clients are
commerce began to flourish in India in the 1980s. The adoption of the
Transplantation of Human Organs Act in 1994 — it prohibited commercial
dealings in all human organs, recognised brain death in law, and also
introduced provisions to regulate the “removal, storage and transplantation
of human organs” — has done little to check the kidney trade, which
is not only illegal but also goes against all canons of medical ethics.
Sadly, the Indian medical profession and its ethics bodies have failed
to come out effectively against the racket. Shaken by recurrent scandals,
the Central government has proposed to notify new rules under the Act.
Any new set of regulations must focus on the unethical and exploitative
nature of organ commerce (as underlined by the World Medical Association)
and on rooting it out. At the same time, it needs to encourage cadaver
organ donations in innovative ways. The new rules must stay uncompromisingly
with voluntary, altruistic, unpaid giving, the model developed by Richard
Titmuss in his classic work, The Gift Relationship: From Human Blood
to Social Policy (1970), which argued powerfully that blood donation
must be founded on a sense of spontaneous generosity, not on the commodification
of human tissue. Kidney commerce exploits human morbidity and thrives
on the enormous gap between demand and supply. If the gap is to be narrowed,
a serious debate needs to be initiated on adopting a law of presumed
consent — the system of organ procurement that assumes that individuals
have agreed to donate their organs upon certified brain death unless
they have expressly opted out. Countries that have introduced this system
— notably Austria, Columbia, Norway, Italy, and Singapore — have
witnessed a marked increase in the rate of organ recovery.
racket kingpin arrested
: The Hindu 8.2.2008
in a Nepal town hotel with accomplice
The alleged kingpin in a multi-crore kidney transplant racket in India,
Dr. Amit Kumar, was nabbed near a town in southern Nepal on Thursday.
State Minister for Home Ram Kumar Choudhary confirmed the arrest.
police officer told The Hindu
that Dr. Kumar was arrested from a hotel in Saurah, a small town outside
the Chitwan National Park. Birjung, Nepal’s southern gateway to India,
is about 100 km from Saurah.
dubbed “Dr. Horror,” had lots of foreign and Nepalese currencies
in his possession at the time of the arrest, the officer said,
adding that the doctor would be brought here on Friday from Hetauda,
where he is now under detention.
media, quoting sources, said Dr. Kumar and a Nepali associate, Manish
Singh, checked into a room of Hotel Wildlife Camp around 10 a.m. under
they asked for a copy of The Himalayan Times,
which had front-paged a report on the kidney racket and about the presence
of the main accused in Nepal. The sources said Dr. Kumar returned the
paper after keeping a clipping of the story.
said he was sporting a hat and sunglasses. When a police team came in
and started making enquiries, Singh ran away. The team rushed to the
room and formally arrested Dr. Kumar. He apparently did not resist when
he was handcuffed, they said.
who is believed to have conducted over 500 illegal operations in a decade,
was wanted by police in Haryana and some other States.
Red Corner Notice was issued against him and his brother Jeevan on February
1 after the racket, having inter-State and international ramifications,
came to light on January 24.
have been arrested in India over the scandal. The men behind the illegal
operation are believed to have charged up to $ 50,000 for a kidney from
clients from across the globe, police said.
are believed to have come from poor migrant workers, some of whom said
they were kidnapped and drugged – although police said the illegal
donors were likely to have been paid around Rs. 40,000.
the law, kidney transplants are allowed only if the organ is donated
by a blood relative or spouse, or there is a swap agreement between
two needy families. All transplants must also be cleared by the government.
Embassy officials here said that normally the Nepali authorities should
inform the mission if an Indian is arrested. “We are yet to receive
any information,” initial reports quoting the officials said.
of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal hoped that the doctor would be
quickly sent to India.
CBI to seek early deportation
The Central Bureau of Investigation will approach the Nepalese authorities
for deportation of Amit Kumar, alleged kingpin in the kidney transplantation
will be approaching the Nepalese authorities immediately seeking his
deportation as he is wanted by the Haryana police in connection with
the racket,” CBI Director Vijay Shanker said on Thursday night.
India seeks Amit’s deportation
- The Hindu 9.2.2008
to seek remand of kingpin in kidney racket for further investigations
A day after his arrest in Nepal, the Indian government has requested
the deportation of the alleged kingpin in the kidney racket, Amit Kumar,
to The Hindu, Indian Embassy spokesperson Gopal Bagle said, “We
are requesting the authorities in Nepal to deport Dr. Kumar.” He said
he was not sure how long the process would take.
police presented Dr. Kumar before the media here on Friday and said
it would take him to the Revenue Investigation Department on Sunday
and seek remand for further investigations.
the net: The mastermind behind the kidney racket, Amit Kumar, being
produced before the media in Kathmandu on Friday.
— PHOTO: AFP
a press conference, Chief of the Crime Investigation Bureau (CIB)Upendra
Kanta Aryal said the police wanted to file a caseagainst Dr.
Kumar under the Foreign Exchange Misappropriation Act for carrying huge amounts
in foreign currencies illegally. “We will also investigate his involvement in
involuntary transplantation of kidneys of the Nepali citizens,” said Aryal. The Human Body Transplantation Act prohibits transplantation
of human organs.
guilty, Dr. Kumar could face a four-year jail term for illegally carrying
foreign currencies and an additional five years for transplantation
of human organs.
what would happen if India sought his immediate deportation, a senior
police official said, “He could be deported through political decision.”
He said that since a Red Corner Notice had been issued, the government
could decide to deport him without filing a case in the Nepali court.
in the Indian Embassy expressed confidence that Dr. Kumar would be deported
to India soon, given the “the excellent cooperation between the two
countries in combating across-the-border crimes.”
circumstances leading to Dr. Kumar’s arrest, SSP Aryal said the Indian
police had informed their Nepal counterparts about his possible arrival
and subsequent hiding in Nepal. “We immediately formed a special investigation
team led by DSP Sher Bahadur Basnet and began investigations.”
said that following a tip off that Dr. Kumar had left Kathmandu for
Chitwan on February 5 in a taxi, the police alerted local security agencies.
The Chitwan police on Thursday informed the CIB that two new guests,
apparently of Indian origin, had checked in at Hotel Wild Life Camp
at Saurah at 7 a.m. Binod Nepal, assistant manager of the hotel told
The Hindu over phone that the police came to the hotel a few minutes
after Dr. Kumar and his accomplice checked in. The room was booked in
the name of the accomplice, Manish Singh. Dr. Amit had identified himself
as Suresh Regmi.
two left their belongings in the room and left after breakfast,” said
Pandey. They did not return for lunch.
page - The Hindu 9.2.2008
Kidney racket - Letters
of Amit Kumar, alleged mastermind of perhaps the country’s biggest
ever kidney racket, is a warning to all those associated with illegal
organ trade in and outside the country. If highly qualified doctors
and surgeons can resort to such heinous acts, one wonders what will
become of society. The forcible extraction of healthy organs from the
poor calls for active policing.
* * *
how long “Dr. Horror” can be kept behind bars. He was arrested in
1990s but the action did not bring about any change in him. He resumed
his illegal activities as soon as he came out of jail.
Madhvendra Singh Chauhan,
* * *
should be shorn of his ‘doctor’ status. His being referred to as
a doctor is an insult to the entire medical fraternity. The punishment
awarded to him should be stringent enough to deter other operators of
the illegal trade.
Nepal hands over kingpin
of kidney racket to India
NETS DON OF ORGAN TRADE
By Man Kumar
- The Hindu 10.2.2008
Amit Kumar is
alleged to have made crores of rupees which he used to purchase properties in
Canada and Australia
Feb 9: In dramatic turn of events,the kingpin of kidney racket Amit
Kumar was handed over to the Indian authorities in Kathmandu on Saturday.
A team of CBI officials took him in custody in Kathmandu and brought
him to Delhi in an Indian Airlines flight from where he was immediately
whisked away to the CBI headquarters amid huge media presence.
government took cognisance of the severity of his crimes in India and
handed him over instead of pursuing cases of lesser degree against him
there, a senior CBI official said.
was picked up by the Nepalese police from a jungle resort in Chitwan
district near Raxaul border on Thursday. India moved immediately to
secure Kumar’s custody through its embassy in Kathmandu on Friday.
Kumar will be produced before a special CBI court on Sunday. The CBI,
which has already taken over the case against Amit Kumar from
Gurgaon and Moradabad police after being notified by the Centre late
on Friday night, is likely to seek 14 days remand to interrogate the
kidney don. The interrogation is expected to expose names of some specialist
renal surgeons and foreign organisations involved in the racket.
will take strict action against him. All relevant cases against him
will be opened,” said Minister of State for Home, Sriprakash Jaiswal.
The CBI is looking for Kumar’s brother Jeevan, who is stilI on the
run. Jeevan is alleged to be the main person behind the trade by arranging
is believed to have done over 500 illegal transplants for rich patients,
induding foreigners, by purchasing kidneys from poor people for as less
as Rs 10,000. In many cases, he allegedly removed the kidneys of unsuspecting
patients without their knowledge.