Mumbai docs nabbed in kidney racket probe

MUMBAI • Indian police said yesterday that they have arrested the head of an upmarket hospital in Mumbai and four doctors on suspicion of organ trafficking.

Police reportedly stopped a kidney transplant procedure at the L. H. Hiranandani hospital after finding that documents showing the donor was married to the intended recipient were forged.

They said the woman giving up her kidney was being paid, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

Organs can be donated only by close relatives or by non-relatives approved by a special committee in India, and buying or selling them is illegal.

Mumbai police spokesman Ashok Dudhe said: "We have arrested the chief executive of L. H. Hiranandani hospital, Sujit Chatterjee, and four doctors."

They have been remanded in custody until Saturday, he added. It is not the first such case - in June, Indian police said they had uncovered an illegal organ donation racket run out of a top New Delhi hospital. That case also involved forged papers showing that the donors and the recipients were related.

Staff at the Apollo hospital were arrested, although its management denied any role and said it was the "victim of a well-orchestrated operation to cheat patients and the hospital".

Millions of Indians suffer from kidney disease, mostly because of high rates of diabetes. But a chronic shortage of organs available for transplant has fuelled a black market.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2016, with the headline 'Mumbai docs nabbed in kidney racket probe'. Print Edition | Subscribe