Doctors who stole kidneys from low-income victims sentenced to seven years, fined $1 million each

VANCOUVER DESI

Dr. Amit Kumar

This file screenshot of the Nepal One television channel in Kathmandu, Nepal on Feb. 7, 2008 shows a portrait of Dr. Amit Kumar, the mastermind of an illegal kidney transplant racket who has now been sentenced to seven years imprisonment and fined $1 million. Prakash Mathema//AFP/Getty Images

An Indian court has sentenced  two doctors to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment each for their role in operating a kidney black market, which police allege sold organs to Canadians and others worldwide.

The court of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special judge in Haryana, India also slapped fines of over $1 million each on Dr. Amit Kumar and Dr. Upender Kumar, who supplied the organs to national and international clients. They were operating secretly from a residential apartment in Gurgaon, outside the capital city of New Delhi, and made over 600 working-class people part with their kidneys.

Three others accused in the kidney sale scam, which was unearthed January 2008 — laboratory technician Manoj Kumar, Mohammed Shahid and Gyasuddin — were awarded five years’ rigorous imprisonment. The three were touts who lured poor people on the pretext of giving them employment, before sedating them and removing their kidneys.

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The kidney racket was run from privately run Star Max Hospital in Sector 23 of Gurgaon from 1999 to 2008, the CBI said in its charge sheet.

The court heard that the accused charged hefty amounts for the kidneys.

“For this purpose, they used to fraudulently allure poor people on the pretext of giving them employment and later on fraudulently removed their kidneys,” the court was told.

The charge sheet pointed out that the kidneys were removed “through surgical operation without consent and authorization from the competent authority for huge monetary consideration and . . . planted in the bodies of recipients.”

When the investigation  was made public in 2008, a police official told The South Asian Post that they believe one of the key suspects involved in the racket was an Indo-Canadian.

“He is a frequent flier between India and Canada and may have been arranging for the patients to come here,” he said.

“We are going through the records at a guest house where the patients from overseas were staying . . . there are several Canadian addresses in the register.”

He said police would make contact with the names of the people in the register as the investigation continues.

The officer said documents recovered from the guesthouse suggest that the doctors had clients from Lebanon, Dubai, the U.S., Canada, Britain, Saudi Arabia, and Greece.

“In the past eight, nine years, they have removed the kidneys of more than 600 underprivileged people of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh on the pretext of giving them jobs, money, and even threatening them at gunpoint,” he said.

“They used to pay the victims a paltry amount of Rs.50,000 to Rs.100,000 ($1,200 and $2,400), but were charging between Rs.1 million to Rs.2 million ($25,000 to $50,000) from their national and international clients,” the officer said.

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