Indian police arrest man for illegally buying kidney

NEW DELHI • Indian police said yesterday they had arrested a man for receiving a kidney through an illegal organ donation racket run out of one of the country's top hospitals.

Ashutosh Singh, 22, is alleged to have bought the kidney through a criminal gang that forged documents to facilitate the transplant at an upscale hospital in New Delhi.

He is accused of paying 2.5 million rupees (S$50,000) to the gang, which bought the organs from poor people for just 300,000 rupees and sold them on to those in need.

"He was arrested on Thursday and we are questioning him," said Mr M.S. Randhawa, South Delhi's deputy commissioner of police.

Organs can only be donated by close relatives or by non-relatives approved by a special committee in India and buying and selling them is illegal. However, a chronic shortage of organs for transplant has fuelled a black market.

Mrs Lalitha Raghuram, country director of India's largest organ donation network the Mohan Foundation, said the authorities should be focusing on boosting donations.

"I feel sorry for such people because they do it in desperation. But we cannot support and engage in sale and purchase of human organs," she told Agence France-Presse.

"The only solution is to create awareness and improve our organ donation record."

The racket was uncovered earlier this month. Twelve people were arrested, including several hospital employees, donors and agents from across the country. Police also arrested gang leader T. Rajkumar, who claimed to have facilitated dozens of transplants in the past several years.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2016, with the headline 'Indian police arrest man for illegally buying kidney'. Print Edition | Subscribe