Kidney transplant racket involving Bangladeshis busted, Delhi doc among 7 arrested

NewsDrum Desk
New Update

New Delhi, Jul 9 (PTI) At least seven people, including a 50-year-old Delhi-based woman doctor, have been arrested in connection with an alleged kidney transplant racket running across Bangladesh and the Delhi-NCR region, police officials said on Tuesday.

Acting on a tip-off, the Delhi Police 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 fake documents for the surgeries, officials said.

The woman doctor identified as D Vijaya Rajakumari, now working as a kidney transplant surgeon on a "fee-for-service basis" in the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in southeast Delhi, was allegedly involved in the transplant surgeries of around 15 people from Bangladesh between 2021 and 2023, they said.

Dr Rajakumari allegedly conducted the surgeries in Noida-based Yathartha Hospital where she was a visiting consultant.

The other arrested persons included an assistant of the doctor, identified as Vikram Singh, and three Bangladeshi nationals identified as Rasel, Mihammad Sumon Miyan and Mohammad Rokon alias Rahul Sarkar alias Bijay Mondal.

The arrests took place over the last two weeks, police said.

According to the officials, incriminating materials including 23 stamps, forged files of patients and donors of kidney transplantation, and forged Aadhaar cards were recovered from the possession of the accused persons.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime) Amit Goel said Rasel is the kingpin of this network, who came to India in 2019 and donated his Kidney to one Bangladeshi patient.

After his surgery, Rasel started the racket. He would coordinate between different stakeholders and established contact with prospective kidney donors from Bangladesh and patients, the DCP said.

One of his associates, Ifti, who is in Bangladesh, used to get the donors, the official added.

He would usually get 20-25 per cent commission after the transplantation, which generally costs a patient Rs 25-30 lakh.

Rasel had taken a house on rent in Jasola, near the Apollo Hospital, from where he, Rokon, Sumon Miya, and one Ratesh Pal of Tripura were arrested on June 16, Goel said.

At their instance, three kidney seekers and three donors were identified, the DCP said.

Another officer said during interrogation, all four accused confessed that they targeted the kidney patients hailing from Bangladesh by visiting the dialysis centres in that country.

They would arrange donors from Bangladesh, taking benefit of their poor financial background and exploited them on the pretext of providing them job in India, the officer said.

The accused would confiscate the donors' passports after reaching India. Thereafter, Rasel, with the help of Sumon Miyan, Rokon and Ratesh Pal, got prepared the forged documents of patients and donors to show the relationship between them, as it is mandatory that only the close relative can be a donor, police officials said.

Vikram, personal assistant of Dr Rajakumari, used to assist in preparation of the patient files and was instrumental in getting the affidavit of patient and donor prepared, they said, adding that Vikram used to take Rs 20,000 per patient.

Rasel also disclosed the name of Mohammad Sharique, who used to take appointment of patients from Dr Rajakumari and get the pathological tests of the donors and seekers done taking Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 per patient.

On June 23, Vikram and Sharique were arrested.

According to the officials, Rasel, Vikram and Sharique disclosed that Dr Rajakumari had complete knowledge about each and every illegal act being done by the accused on the basis of forged papers. Accordingly, on July 1, Dr Rajakumari was also arrested in the case.

Investigation is on to identify the number of transplants conducted in the racket, the officials said.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson of the Yathartha Hospital stated that the Noida hospital has no direct association with Dr Rajakumari as she is a part of some other hospital.

"For all our procedures, we ensure the highest ethical standards, prioritize patient safety and comply with all clinical and government protocols. We have cooperated fully with all investigations, and there have been no findings of wrongdoing against our hospital or our practices," the spokesperson said in a statement.

The Indraprastha Apollo Hospital (IAH) also released its press statement in which it said the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch department had taken custody of a doctor who had been engaged on a fee-for-service basis and not on the hospital’s payroll.

"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 IAH. Given this action by the police, the IAH had placed the doctor under suspension," the statement said. It further stated that IAH was previously approached by the Crime Branch seeking certain information as part of an investigation, which was duly provided.

"We reiterate our utmost commitment to adhering to all laws, rules and regulations in relation to clinical and administrative processes for all patients – national or international. The wider Apollo Hospitals Group has done more than 25,000 transplants and has followed all laws and processes in letter and spirit. Our processes have been reviewed by competent government authorities who have upheld our record of compliance," it said.

The IAH will provide its fullest cooperation to investigative authorities on this matter, the statement added. PTI ALK NSM ALK KVK KVK