The court of GS Bakshi, additional sessions judge-1, on Saturday held six persons, including five doctors, two from Amritsar and three from Jalandhar, guilty in a kidney transplant case, on charges of intimidating a minor to donate his kidney to a retired inspector of Haryana Police.
The sixth accused, who has been held guilty, is the recipient - the retired inspector of Haryana Police.
The next hearing of the case will be held on November 8 and it is learnt that the quantum of punishment will be decided then. The accused doctors from Amritsar, who have been held guilty, are Dr OP Mahajan, then chairman, authorisation committee, and former principal, Government Medical College, Amritsar; and Dr Jagdish Gargi, then head, department of forensic medicine and member of authorisation committee; while those from Jalandhar are Dr HS Bhutani, Dr Arjinder Singh and Dr SPS Grover, associated with New Ruby Hospital, Jalandhar.
Besides these five, the court has also held Suresh Kumar Sharma, retired inspector of Haryana Police, guilty. Advocate RK Salwan, who was deputed by the department of home affairs and justice, Punjab, to deal with the case, said the case dated back to 2002.
"The case was registered during the tenure of former Amritsar SP city Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh at E division police station and is related to Jalandhar, where the transplant took place, though the approval was given by the authorisation committee based in Amritsar," he said, adding that the case was an offshoot of the main kidney scam also unearthed in 2002, which is sub judice.
"While the case was registered at E division police station, the main case was registered at D division police station. Around 2,000 kidney transplants were reported to have taken place and nine donors were arrested, who on being questioned revealed the names of the accused in the case," he said.
Salwan said the accused, in this case, faced the charges of intimidating a minor identified as 17-year-old Bagicha Singh, a resident of Jagraon, to donate his kidney to Suresh Kumar Sharma, and forcing him to give his signatures to fulfil the requirements of the authorisation committee.
He said the youth was earlier offered a remuneration of Rs 40,000, was kept in confinement and died under mysterious circumstances after the kidney transplant. "The accused in this case were held guilty after the evidence in the case was concluded," he maintained.
Dr KS Chugh, Chandigarh-based eminent kidney expert, said, "India has been one of the illegal trading centres in the world for kidney trading. Earlier, the Philippines and Pakistan were the two prominent centres. In India, Mumbai and Chennai were two big centres, then Amritsar emerged as one of the biggest centres in the country. After crackdown, some illegal cases are now being reported from Kolkata. Illegal kidney trading has remained a blot in the field of kidney transplant. This judgment is a message for all the racketeers that they can be punished."
(With inputs from Vishav Bharti)
Background of the main kidney scam (sub judice)
Unearthed in: 2002
Case registered at: D division police station
Total number of transplants done: 2,000
Number of donors arrested: 9
More kidney scams
In December 2011, the Lucknow police had arrested four persons for their involvement in trafficking of human organs in which names of two SAS Nagar-based private hospitals, Surya Kidney Centre and Silver Oaks Hospital, had surfaced but the hospitals were later given a clean chit. A SIT was constituted to investigate the case. The police have already filed a challan against three accused -- Manju Anand, her son Abhishek Anand Panday and lab technician Sachin. Manju Anand, who was lodged in the Patiala jail, later died in jail.
The CBI special court, Panchkula, in March this year convicted five accused in a Gurgaon kidney transplant racket that was busted in 2008. Dr Upender Dublesh, resident of Merrut (Uttar Pradesh), was sentenced to 7-year rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs 60.2 lakh, and "quack" Amit Kumar, resident of Akola (Maharashtra), was sentenced to 7-year rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs 60.25 lakh. Manoj Kumar, resident of Delhi, who used to work as a lab technician in Amit Kumar's hospital where illegal kidney transplants used to be carried out, was sentenced to four years and six months' RI and fined Rs 20,000. Mohammed Shahid and Gyasudeen, who used to bring poor donors, were also sentenced to four years and six months each and fined Rs 20,000 each.