The Anand police, which is investigating a possible international kidney racket unearthed in the nondescript village of Pandoli in the district in March, has launched a massive manhunt after the alleged kingpin of the racket and notorious Ayurvedic practitioner Dr Santosh Raut alias Amit Raut alias Amit Kumar, escaped from custody, while being escorted back to Anand from New Delhi. The police were bringing Raut back to Anand for production in court on Tuesday, at the end of his police custody. They were travelling by the New Delhi-Ahmedabad Swarna Jayanti train.
According to Superintendent of Police, Anand, Saurabh Singh, Amit may have escaped near Ajmer in Rajasthan. Singh said, “It is very unfortunate that the accused escaped from the security escorts while returning from New Delhi. We have launched a manhunt for him and sent two teams back to Rajasthan to track him down. The teams are also looking into CCTV footage of the stations where the train halted in the night.”
Raut had landed in the net of the Anand police on July 29 through a court remand, on his arrest in New Delhi. The police, which is investigating the complaint of a 27-year-old victim Aamir Malik from Pandoli, whose kidney was extracted without his knowledge at a Delhi hospital, took Raut to the location to reconstruct the sequence of events of the incident that occurred in February this year. Singh said that Raut initially tried to set up infrastructure of his own in Delhi and Gurgaon to carry on his racket, but had “hired” a place for the surgery in question. “We took Raut back to Delhi to trace the sequence of events mentioned by the complainant. We have gathered some crucial evidence that has taken the investigation further. The case is extremely sensitive and we are guarding our evidences.”
During his interrogation, Raut is said to have dropped names of other people involved in the racket and the police are preparing their case before moving in to arrest the suspects.
The kidney linchpin, originally from Akola in Maharashtra, was convicted to seven years rigorous imprisonment in a 2008 kidney racket in Mumbai, and termed a “quack” by the Panchkula court during the 2013 verdict. He was granted bail barely a year later. Since, he shifted base to Gurgaon, where he is alleged to have lured several men from the impoverished village of Pandoli to extract their kidneys.
According to investigating officers, Raut, who has previously been involved in over 1500 kindey extraction surgeries, had continued his activities unabated even on bail through his Mumbai based agent, Javed. A police officer investigating the case said, “We do not know exactly how many cases he conducted while on bail since 2014, but we have estimated that the figure could run into hundreds, based on the statements of the accused arrested before him. The men from Pandoli village whose kidneys have been extracted are only a tip of the iceberg.”
In March,this year, the Anand police had arrested three persons – Mukesh Chimanlal Chaudhari alias Mukul, a resident of Valsad and an Ayurvedic practitioner; Ahmedabad resident Sher Ali Khan alias Sheru Rehmat Khan Pathan; and Pandoli resident Rafiq Ahmed Vohra, who was named by 27-year-old victim Aamir in his police complaint. It was through the confessions of the accused that the Anand police learnt about the involvement of Javed and Raut.