It is in the cluttered narrow lanes of Madanpura and Grant Road in south Mumbai that fake documents were compiled for recipients and donors in the illegal kidney donation racket busted by the Mumbai Police last month. In these lanes live Iqbal Ahmed Khan (49) and Bharatbhushan Sharma (62), who would allegedly prepare the forged documents, charging Rs 20,000 to 25,000 for each proof of identification or residence.
Khan and Sharma were both arrested on July 14, hours after a kidney transplant between Shobha Thakur and Brijkishore Jaiswal was foiled at the eleventh hour, and kingpin Bhijendra Bhisen was arrested.
In the families of both, left to fend for themselves, there is shock and denial. “My father underwent an angioplasty in June. He could barely move from bed. How can he get involved in this?” Khan’s elder daughter Arifa Khan says. Every day, she goes to Arthur Road jail to meet him, to ensure he has taken his medicines.
In their one room space in Madanpura, wife Wahida claims her husband has been framed. “He is a salesman at a relative’s shop. In the past few months, he had several heart attacks himself,” she said. According to the family, Khan has not been able to work for several months.
Khan was arrested on July 14, nine days before his younger daughter’s marriage. “Neither me sister’s nor my parents-in-law know about his arrest,” Arifa says. A teacher, she claims her father is a social worker who would help patients get treatment at nearby Nair hospital. The family claims they have never heard of Bhisen or Sharma.
According to informer Abid Sheikh, who recorded a statement with Powai Police, Khan had provided forged documents to various clients for over the years. “Every hawker in this area knows his work,” Sheikh claims.
According to the police, Khan had provided a forged ration card, marriage certificate and identification proof for Jaiswal and Thakur at Hiranandani Hospital. He has also provided documents for at least four other transplants, documents of which were collected from Bhisen’s bag.
Sharma, also an alleged agent who provided Bhisen with forged documents, owns Dreamland Video Parlour at Grant Road, a few blocks from Khan’s residence. His sexagenarian sister Meena Shah now sits at the parlour, a tiny space with less than 10 seats for customers to play video games.
“I did not know he did this,” she says looking away, then adding, “I will not request for his bail. I have had no contact with him since his arrest.” Sharma is unmarried and lived with his sister. His parlour is also where Sunder Singh, the donor who tipped off activists about the entire racket, worked. It is Sharma and Khan who reportedly convinced Singh to donate his kidney in March this year.
Before Hiranandani hospital, Sheikh claims Khan has worked for few doctors at a private hospital, where Sheikh’s friend Deepak Jaiswal donated his kidney in exchange for money in 2007. Urologist Mukesh Shah, now arrested in the Hiranandani racket, was part of the team that conducted that transplant.