Two secretarial staff of the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital were arrested by the Delhi Police on Friday for conducting a kidney trade racket. Three touts were also arrested for the same offence.
The two Apollo Hospital staff, Aditya Singh, 24, and Shailesh Saxena, 31, are the assistants of a senior nephrologist, said the police. The touts, Aseem Sikdar, Satya Prakash and Devashish Moulik, bribed people in need of money to part with their kidneys. Every donor was paid Rs 5 lakh, while recipients paid Rs 25-30 lakh. Five cases have been detected so far, says the Hindustan Times.
DCP (southeast) MS Randhawa said: "The touts would get donors from West Bengal, Kanpur, Delhi and Chennai and put them up in hotels here. They got each donor tested to check if he was a match for the recipient. After that, they forged documents to establish the donor was a relative of the recipient."
Only relatives can donate a kidney to a patient in need, says the transplantation of human organs Act. However, a non-family member may also donate a kidney if no match is found within the family and if the kidney donated on compassionate grounds rather than for money. Hospitals have a process to check whether the donor and recipient are related, and that no sale of organs is involved.
However, despite the process, the two doctors' assistants and the touts were able to carry out their business, say the police.
According to a statement issued by Apollo Hospital, the two doctor's assistants were "secretarial staff of some doctors" and "not employees of the hospital".
The statement added: "While all precautions were taken, it appears fake and forged documents were used for this racket with criminal intent. The hospital has been a victim of a well-orchestrated operation to cheat patients."
The racket was busted on 2 June when the police set a trap for members of the gang after learning that they would be present at Apollo for a meeting between a donor and a patient's relatives.
Randhawa said: "We formed two teams and conducted a raid, arresting the three gang members on the spot. A case under the human organ Act has been registered against them."
The raid recovered fake voter ID cards, Aadhaar papers and photographs. The police also seized original and electronic files, CDs and documents from the hospital.
"Detailed documentation and verification must be done before each transplant," said Randhawa. "Willingness of the donor, relationship with the recipient, proof of address and marriage, clearance by the hospital's internal authorisation committee is required. The whole procedure must be videographed. But in this case, hospital authorities failed to verify these documents, which were fraudulently made. The men affixed photographs of donors in the forms but filled in the details of the recipients' relatives."
In response, Apollo said: "The hospital... has an independent body with external members also for according consent for any transplant surgery. This committee goes through all documents necessary to ensure requirements under the Act are complied with."