THE ANTI CORRUPTION Bureau (ACB) will soon summon senior officials of the JJ Hospital in connection with the investigation into a government-appointed social worker and a transplant coordinator of a private hospital allegedly seeking a bribe from a patient to process approvals for an organ transplant procedure.
The ACB will talk to senior hospital officials to find out what procedures are to be followed in organ transplant cases and whether there were allegations of a similar nature against the accused in the past.
The ACB will also investigate if any other official from the hospital was involved in the matter.
On Monday, the ACB arrested Tushar Savarkar, social worker at the state-run JJ Hospital, and Sachin Salve, organ transplant co-ordinator with the SL Raheja Hospital, for allegedly demanding Rs 1.5 lakh from a patient requiring a kidney transplant, in order to expedite permissions for the transplant. The patient subsequently approached the ACB and paid Rs 80,000 to Salve. Both were arrested on Monday from JJ Hospital.
Director General (ACB) Sanjay Barve told The Indian Express, “The investigation is at an early stage and it will be taken to its logical conclusion. It is a sensitive matter where a person who needed a kidney transplant and also had a donor had to suffer for no fault of his. No one involved in the case will be spared.” Sources privy to the investigation said the ACB will write to the Medical Superintendent and the Dean of JJ Hospital to understand the procedures followed in kidney transplant cases. “We also want to check if there were any complaints made against Savarkar in the past. We will talk to senior officials in the next few days. We are also checking if Savarkar was working at the behest of anyone,” an officer said. The police also found a few credit cards from the accused and are checking if these have anything to do with the crime.
Sources said the ACB will check organ transplant procedures carried out in the past year to check for any discrepancies in time taken for permissions to be granted. “As per the complainant in the case, some cases of organ transplant that came before the committee after them were approved. We are checking if some cases had been unnecessarily delayed,” an official said. The police also carried out seizures at the residence of Savarkar, who holds a Masters degree in Social Work (MSW) from a city-based institute.
Mohamed Zia Siddiqui, the complainant and friend of patient Jamaluddin Amir-ullah Khan, had earlier said that they had attended an authorisation committee meeting in JJ Hospital on September 18, but their no-objection certificate for a kidney transplant had not yet been granted.
Siddiqui alleged that they were told by Salve at Raheja Hospital that they would have to bribe the authorisation committee chairperson to get a No Objection Certificate. Siddiqui had further alleged that other recipients at JJ Hospital who got NOCs before them had told them that they had paid bribes.
According to state government norms for organ transplant, a hospital is authorised to conduct live organ transplant if the donor and recipient are blood kin. In this case, the donor was not a blood kin of the recipient and hence required clearance from the authorisation committee. The accused will be produced before the court on Thursday for further custody.