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Kidney racket: Whistleblower’s claims may spark new FIR

mumbai Updated: Aug 12, 2016 01:12 IST
Jayprakash S Naidu
Jayprakash S Naidu
Hindustan Times

The Powai police, investigating the kidney transplant racket, are checking the claims of alleged whistleblower Sundar Singh, who is said to have helped expose the racket after agents persuaded him to sell his kidney in March. Singh, who claims he was operated upon at Hiranandani hospital, Powai, said he was promised “a better life” by agents and doctors. Instead, they used his poverty to rope him into the racket as well. It was he who tipped off Mahesh Tanna about an illegal kidney transplant on July 14 that the police managed to halt, and which helped expose the wider racket.

The police said that if they find evidence to back his allegations, they will file a new first-information report (FIR) in the case. But it is not yet clear whether Singh will be named as an accused or a witness if a new FIR is registered.

Speaking to HT on Thursday, Singh said he didn’t go to the police himself as he feared being made an accused. He said Bijendra Bisen, an agent and the alleged kingpin, first met him in 2014 through agents Bharat Sharma and Iqbal Ahmed Khan. Sharma was also Singh’s employer; he had been working at Sharma’s video game parlour near Girgaum since 2008. Sharma, Khan and Bisen have been arrested and are in judicial custody.

Singh said, “In 2014, Sharma introduced me to Khan, who convinced me to sell my kidney. For an entire year, he made me run around and undergo several tests. Finally in January 2016, Khan introduced me to Bisen, who introduced me to doctors Mukesh Shetye and Mukesh Shah. Both doctors conducted tests on me at two private hospitals in Mulund. I was made to undergo 10 to 12 tests,” said Singh.

Singh, who dropped out of school after Class 5 and earns Rs 200 a day, added, “They gave my kidney to a woman I didn’t know. I posed as her brother. They made me memorise some address but I forgot it during the meeting. However, the operation took place anyway. The doctors told me that a new kidney would grow in 18 months. They promised me a better life, saying they would take care of my family, get me a good job and also repair my house in my village. But they went back on their promise.”

After he was cheated, Singh helped Suresh Gupta, a politician, and Tanna expose the racket by providing fake documents that he and Bisen had allegedly forged. Singh said he helped Bisen forge documents for four illegal transplants, including his own, which took place on March 16 and 17. The other three operations never took place as Singh leaked the documents.

Vinayak Deshmukh, deputy commission of police, zone 10, who is monitoring the probe, said, “Singh’s case is under scrutiny and his papers have been sent to the DHS. If we find he claims are true, we will register new first-information reports (FIR).” Deshmukh said a separate FIR will be registered for each case.

He confirmed that Singh had helped Tanna expose the racket but didn’t approach the police directly. “He had nothing to do with our present case till now. He has not approached us. We have learnt he helped Tanna,” said Deshmukh.

Singh told HT on Thursday, “I come from a poor family in Jalaun, UP. I earned Rs 200 a day in Mumbai. My sister died and I have two brothers who are mentally ill. My parents are senior citizens and I used to send them money from Mumbai. We live hand-to-mouth. I got married in 2013 and was desperately needed money to survive.”

“Since my kidney was removed, I feel weak and get vomiting sensations if I eat too much. I feel a constant pain in my stomach if I work more or eat more. Life has become hell for me,” he added.