Amid the grim details tumbling out of the still unfolding kidney racket in Gurgaon, India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has begun a probe to unearth the ramifications of the ring surrounding Amit Kumar, the alleged 'doctor' kingpin absconding since January 24.
The CBI would seek the help of Interpol in "interrogating and questioning" the recipient of kidneys from the clinics of Amit alias Santosh Rameshwar Raut, who allegedly transplanted at least 60 kidneys every year, charging up to Rs 2.5 million (approx $63,000) per transplant.
Interpol's help would be helpful in exposing Amit's so-called links with Mumbai underworld don Chhota Shakeel, as disclosed by his key associate Upendra Kumar Aggarwal to the police in Uttar Pradesh's Moradabad town, police sources said.
Aggarwal is Amit's only key accomplice currently in the police net. The Interpol has issued its red-corner notice to nab the fugitive mastermind and his brother Jeewan Kumar Raut.
Greek national Helen Kirochi and Indian American Joy Mathewan were the prospective kidney recipients detained on January 24 after raids at 5/29 DLF City and Sector 23/4374, the two bungalows in the IT hub of Gurgaon, neighbouring Delhi, from where Amit operated from.
"There are many such people whom the CBI would like to meet," sources in India's leading investigation agency told IANS.
Officials said the CBI sleuths would not only spread out to states as far apart as Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, but also look for his "footprints" in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Punjab -- an indication of the kind of the reach of his illegal organ-trading business that saw an estimated 600 "forced" kidney transplants over the past nine years.
Details of several visitors from Canada, the Middle East, the US and other European countries would be ascertained to fathom the depth and spread of Amit's illegal kidney transplant racket. The disclosures from those in police custody have established that Amit had several clients from overseas.
Besides Aggarwal, the associates of 'Dr Horror' currently spilling the beans to the joint teams of Moradabad and Gurgaon police are Linda Chini Hoi, a suspended nurse of Delhi's Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, his assistant Rebecca, drivers Jagdish and Harpal, his cooks Ramesh and Suresh as well as Dr KK Aggarwal, an associate of Aggawal picked up from Alwar in Rajasthan on February 1.
According to driver Harpal's disclosures to the police in Gurgaon, three foreigners died between 2003 and 2005. Mehmet Bayzit (55) died on October 2, 2003, Ishmat Gurmer (62) on November 13, 2004 and Ahmet Yalidiram (65) on November 15, 2005. The police are finding out which countries they came from.
As Aggarwal's interrogation casts a shadow over the city's many hospitals, the sources said the CBI had begun the task of examining details of organ transplants, recipients and donors over the years.
As many as 50 hospitals, nursing homes and diagnostic clinics in and around Delhi look set to figure in the CBI investigation along with around 20-25 organ transplant experts.
Experts are unanimous that post-transplant patients need tertiary care at least for 15 days and regular follow-ups to avoid any life-threatening complications. Except for a few hospitals like AIIMS, Batra, Apollo, Sir Ganga Ram and Fortis, very few hospitals in the capital are capable of providing the required tertiary care.
"There could not be over 50 hospitals countrywide where the organ transplants are normally done. Although many hospitals are equipped to conduct such transplants, a majority of them do refrain from doing so as the existing norms are so strict that they permit only close relatives to donate human organs," said Indian Medical Association (IMA) president SN Mishra.
"We were the first to ask for the CBI inquiry on January 26, and would extend all possible help to the agency," Mishra added.