Organ Racket in National Capital busted

| | New Delhi
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Organ Racket in National Capital busted

Wednesday, 10 July 2024 | Saumya Shukla | New Delhi

Organ Racket in National Capital busted

India’s emergence as a global medical tourism hub in recent times has been marred by several cases of organ theft, raising concerns among agencies and Ministries about blow to the country’s reputation. To combat this menace, the Centre recently issued advisories for international patients.

India’s growing popularity as a premier medical tourism destination is evident from the influx of approximately 2 million patients from 78 countries each year, seeking medical, wellness, and IVF treatment. This booming industry currently generates $6 billion annually which is projected to soar to $13 billion by 2026, bolstered by the Indian Government’s ambitious ‘Heal in India’ initiative, according the CII (Confederation of Indian Industry).

However, with no let-up in incidents of organ thefts, the health tourism industry faces a serious threat.

The latest being a major organ donation transplant racket running in Delhi-NCR region with links to Bangladesh busted by the Crime Branch of Delhi Police.

According to the Delhi Police on Tuesday, a total of seven people, including a Delhi-based doctor and the racket’s Bangladeshi kingpin, have been arrested. Acting on a tip-off, the Crime Branch had been working on the case for two months.

A majority of the donors and recipients are from Bangladesh brought to India on the basis of the fake documents for the surgeries.

Former National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) Head Dr Vimal Bhandari, while talking about the issue of such rackets, said the onus of cross-checking the documents of the patient and the donor to ensure that such incidents do not happen lies on the authorisation committee.

“An authorisation committee which has six to seven members including the medical superintendent as its chairman calls both the donor and the patient to cross- check all the documents. If any problem arises the matter is forwarded to the ministry,” he said, adding that the process happens on record.

“Thus the onus to make sure that such cases do not happen lies with the authorisation committee,” said the former chief of National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation.

Elaborating on the case, DCP Crime Branch Amit Goel said, “On June 16, secret and credible information was received from reliable sources about the members of a well organised crime syndicate, who are involved in illegal kidney transplants. The information was further developed and on June 16, on specific information, a raid was conducted by a team at Jasola Village.” He added that four accused persons, namely Rasel, the kingpin, Rokon, Sumon Miya, all natives of Bangladesh and Ratesh Pal, also hailing from Bangladesh were apprehended.

During interrogation, they confessed that they targeted the patients suffering from kidney disease hailing from Bangladesh by visiting the dialysis centres in Bangladesh. “They arranged the donor from Bangladesh, taking advantage of their poor financial background and exploiting them on the pretext of providing them a job in India,” Goel stated.

The accused used to confiscate their passports after they reached India. Thereafter, the accused prepared the forged documents of patients/donors to show the relationship between them as this is mandatory that only the close relative can be a donor.

“On the basis of forged documents, they got their preliminary medical examination conducted at hospitals and got their kidney transplant operation done,” the DCP said. It was also found that a Delhi-based doctor, namely, Dr. D. Vijya Rajkumari and her personal assistant Vikram Singh were involved in the racket.

“During investigation, it was found that one Vikram Singh, personal assistant of Dr. D. Vijya Rajkumari, used to assist in preparation of the patient files and was instrumental in getting the affidavit of patients and donors prepared. Vikram Singh used to take Rs 20,000 per patient from the accused,” he said.

The woman doctor, now working as a kidney transplant surgeon in a well-known hospital in southeast Delhi, was allegedly involved in the surgery of some people from Bangladesh between 2021 and 2023. She allegedly conducted the surgeries in a Noida-based private hospital where she was a visiting consultant.

An assistant of the doctor and four others, including three Bangladeshi nationals have been arrested. The arrests took place over the last two weeks.

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