Months after investigations into the alleged kidney racket at Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital were put on the back burner, the state health department has sought Powai police’s intervention in the case. The three accused suspected to be involved in either donating their kidneys in exchange for money or receiving the organs in two separate illegal transplants at the Powai-based hospital are now to be brought in for questioning.
In a response this week, the Powai police have asked the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) to fix a date on which it should produce the donor and recipients. The DHS is likely to question them on July 24.
On June 26, the DHS had written to Powai police about producing recipient Dimple Himmatramka, who underwent an alleged illegal transplant in April 2016, recipient Rasilaben Kantharia and donor Harshaben Kevadia, who underwent a transplant in May 2016.
The DHS and Powai police have already recorded the statement of Sunder Singh (24), who donated his kidney to Himmatramka in 2016. The four have been found violating rules under sections of Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act that prohibits sale of organs between unrelated persons in exchange of cash or material.
The two cases, other than that of deceased Brijkishor Jaiswal and prospective donor Shobha Thakur from Gujarat, had come under the scanner for illegal transplant at Hiranandani Hospital in July 2016 that was at the epicentre of the kidney racket.
The chargesheet filed by Powai police in October with respect to Jaiswal and Thakur’s case named five senior doctors at the hospital alleging medical negligence in a list 14 accused in the racket.
In a letter written this week to the state public health department, the Powai police claimed that addresses mentioned by the donors and recipients in the transplant documents were found to be fake. “The three do not reside at the address submitted in documents to Hiranandani Hospital,” the letter states. In the documents, Kantharia’s address was stated as Girgaum Chowpatty and Kevadia’s address was given as Virar. Himmatramka had also allegedly given a fake address in the western suburbs. Soon after the kidney transplant in May, recipient Kantharia succumbed to medical complications.
According to Powai police, Himmatramka and Kantharia had been traced to Gujarat. The police have managed to locate Himmatramka’s brother, Kunjbihari Roongta, in Mumbai and asked the DHS to fix a date to record his statement.“The police had produced Himmatramka before the DHS earlier but her statement could not be recorded. We have asked for another date,” said DCP N Reddy, Zone X.
The last statement in this case was recorded by the DHS in September 2016 and after that inquiry into the two illegal
transplants remained at a standstill. The Powai police have also asked the health department to submit its opinion on a DHS official, Dr BK Kadam, who approved the illegal transplant in July 2016 as a member of a committee that scrutinises patients’ documents for organ transplants. The police have named other members of the committee, including medical director Dr Anurag Naik, in the chargesheet.
“The DHS holds the opinion that Kadam is not guilty of wrongdoing. He only represented the state government and signed the documents. The same will be conveyed to the police,” said Dr Gauri Rathod, assistant director at the DHS.