Ascertaining the factual position that the trial into infamous kidney transplant racket, which was detected in Gurgaon and also running in other states in the country in January 2008, had not been progressing towards logical conclusion, the Punjab and Haryana high court has directed special judge Panchkula to conduct the day-to-day basis trial in the case.
The bench headed by justice Surya Kant issued the directions while dismissing the regular bail applications of the alleged mastermind of the kidney racket, Dr Amit Kumar and Manoj Kumar, a laboratory technician who used to take blood samples from the victims and recipients for ascertaining suitability for the kidney transplantation.
The racket was unearthed on January 24, 2008 after a joint team of the Uttar Pradesh and the Gurgaon Police had raided a house in Gurgaon's Sector-22. It was alleged that more than 500 poor people, most of them labourers, were allured and their kidneys were removed. As per the allegations, labourers were paid between Rs 50,000 and 70,000 to keep their mouths shut and the kidneys were later sold to the patients, some of them even from abroad, for anything between Rs 8 to 10 lakhs. Dr Amit Kumar allegedly owned two hospitals in Gurgaon under the banner of Liberty Health Care Pvt Ltd where kidney transplant operations used to be carried out.
The bench also directed Director Generals of Police (Prisons) Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh to produce the three co-accused lodged in the jails in their states before the special court, Panchkula through video conferencing on the next date of hearing. The co-accused are at present lodged in Jaipur and Guntur jails.
During the hearing of the case, CBI counsel informed the bench that despite production warrants issued by the special court, Ambala three co-accused could not be produced. In its affidavit, CBI also submitted that donosrs of the kidney belong to the poor families and they had allegedly donated kidneys for money consideration.
The bench directed the CBI to produce all the victims/donors before the special judge, Panchkula on the first date of hearing for recording of the statements.
Justice Surya Kant also ordered the district and sessions judge, Panchkula to provide counsels experienced in criminal law, whose fee(if required) would be paid by the state legal services authority, to the three co-accused lodged in Jaipur and Guntur jails if private counsels do not represent them.
The bench however made it clear that the complete process shall be over before July 15 and request for adjournments would not be accepted on behalf of either of the parties. CBI has been directed to ensure that its public prosecutor remains present on every hearing of the case.
It was directed that Dr Amit Kumar and Manoj Kumar could only move their petitions for seeking regular bail only after recording of the statements of all the witnesses which the special judge, Panchkula would decide within 10 days from filing of the petitions.
Though Manoj Kumar was arrested from India, Dr Amit Kumar was arrested from Nepal in February 2008 and are in jails since then.