In a major breakthrough in the kidney scam unearthed at the Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital in Powai last month, the police arrested five doctors, including the hospital’s CEO and its medical director, late on Tuesday.
The five doctors were identified as Sujeet Chaterjee, CEO; Anurag Naik, medical director; Mukesh Shete; Mukesh Shah; and Prakash Shetty.
“Based on reports from the appropriate authority, the Powai police arrested five doctors under Section 12 and 21 of the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994,” said DCP Ashok Dudhe, spokesperson for the Mumbai police. The accused will be produced before the Andheri magistrate’s court on Wednesday.
While 13 persons have been arrested so far in the case, the police are probing at least four more such cases, where forged documents could have been used to conduct procedures. Vinayak Deshmukh, DCP Zone-10, told HT a fresh case will be registered if evidence of any illegal organ transplants surfaces in the future.
Explaining the doctors’ roles in the scam, a police official said, “They did not verify the documents thoroughly. They should not have gone ahead with the surgery until they had satisfactory information that the donor and the recipient were related. They had a casual attitude and have not performed their duties properly.”
According to sources, the arrests have been made based on the report submitted by a three-member state health inquiry committee, which comprised Dr Sujata Patwardhan from the Zonal Transplant Coordination Committee; state nodal officer Dr Gauri Rathod; and Dr Kalpana Mehta, Sion hospital head of nephrology.
The committee’s report was submitted to the Dr Mohan Jadhav, director, directorate of health services (DHS) on July 23 and was subsequently forwarded to the police.
Acting on a tip-off from activist Mahesh Tanna, the police and hospital authorities had on July 14 stopped the illegal transplant for Surat-based businessman Brijkishore Jaiswal, 48, and arrested Jaiswal’s son Kishan, 28, and agents — Bhaijendra Bisen, 42, the kingpin; Bharat Sharma, 62; and Iqbal Siddiqui, 40. An FIR was registered on charges of cheating, impersonation, criminal conspiracy and forgery of the IPC and the Transplantation of Human Organ Act, 1994.
The state government then suspended the license of the hospital to conduct organ transplants.