FIVE people, including two personal assistants of a senior nephrologist at Apollo Hospital, have been arrested for allegedly running an inter-state kidney racket in the capital, according to a senior Delhi Police officer.
The accused have been identified as Aditya Singh (24), Shailesh Saxena (31), Aseem Sikdar (37), Devashish Moulik (30) and Satya Prakash (30), said Deputy Commissioner of Police (southeast district) M S Randhawa.
“Singh and Saxena have been working for the last three years as personal assistants of a senior nephrologist, while the other accused acted as middlemen,” said Randhawa.
Sikdar, Moulik and Prakash were nabbed from Apollo Hospital during a raid on Thursday while the two PAs were held later. “We recovered some fake voter ID cards and Aadhaar cards from their possession. A case was later registered and they were arrested,” said Randhawa.
According to police sources, the gang used to lure poor people from various states, including Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, to donate their kidneys for a sum of Rs 2.5-3 lakh each in Delhi, while the recipients were asked to pay Rs 25-30 lakh. The nephrologist’s PAs and touts received Rs 50,000 each, said sources.
“The operations were conducted at Apollo Hospital. Organ transplant rules mandate detailed documentation and their verification. The gang forged documents to make it seem like donors were relatives of recipients. They would use the ID card of a family member of the recipient, with genuine details such as address, and change the photo. The investigation also raises question marks about the hospital’s staff,” said Randhawa.
Another senior police officer said investigators found “five cases of organ-trading and documents pertaining to the racket along with forged voter IDs and Aadhaar cards after scanning this year’s records at Apollo Hospital”.
Apollo Hospital said in a statement that it was the “victim of a well-orchestrated operation to cheat patients and the hospital”, urged strict action against the accused and promised to cooperate with police.
Police have now launched a manhunt, including raids in Hyderabad, for the alleged kingpin of the racket, T Rajukumar Rao, and expect to conduct more arrests from other private hospitals in Delhi. A 25-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) has also been formed to investigate the racket.
Police sources said the gang used local contacts to identify donors before bringing them to Delhi. “From informers, police got to know that the gang had recently brought two such donors to Delhi. They learnt that they were going to visit Apollo Hospital on June 2 to meet family members of a recipient and finalise the transaction,” said Randhawa.
Sources said police also detained three women kidney donors linked to the racket from a hotel in Paharganj — two of them had already donated their kidneys, while the third was planning to do so soon.
Apollo Hospital stated that police had identified secretarial staff of some doctors, who were not employees of the hospital.
“We reiterate that these are not employees of the hospital. While all due precautions were conducted, the use of fake and forged documents was used for this racket with a criminal intent,” it said.