The arrest of five doctors of Hiranandani hospital, Powai, on Tuesday was based on the findings of an investigative committee report by the state’s Directorate of Health Services (DHS), which was submitted to the police on August 1. The report states that three of the doctors were directly involved in the illegal kidney transplant racket, while the other two were negligent at the least, a source told HT.
The five doctors arrested are Hiranandani hospital CEO Dr Sujeet Chaterjee, medical director Dr Anurag Naik, nephrologist Dr Mukesh Shete, and urologists Dr Mukesh Shah and Dr Prakash Shetty.
The report states that while Dr Shete was a central figure in the racket, the two urologists played supporting roles. A DHS official, who did not wish to be named, said that while there is still no evidence that Dr Chatterjee and Dr Naik were directly involved in the racket, the two had failed to ensure that other doctors at the hospital adhered to the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994, when performing transplants.
The racket was exposed after the Powai police, acting on a tip-off, halted an illegal kidney transplant at the hospital on July 14. Using forged documents, Shobha Thakur, the would-be donor, was presented as the wife of Brijkishor Jaiswal, a Surat businessman who needed a new kidney. However, DHS officials said that on July 18, when they went to the hospital to question Jaiswal and Thakur, they found the two had been put up in the same room. “Hospital authorities, despite knowing that the two were not husband and wife, didn’t even attempt to put them in separate rooms. We found this completely outrageous,” said a DHS official, who did not wish to be named.
Jaiswal and Thakur allegedly submitted forged documents to the hospital, according to which they earned Rs18,000 a year, and yet lived at Malabar Hill. According to the DHS, officials at the hospital didn’t question this disparity or ask the couple for proof of income. When questioned by DHS officials, hospital authorities claimed they didn’t know that ration cards come in various colours, based on the family’s income.
Documents and video footage from the hospital also showed that Thakur was not made aware of the risk involved in the surgery, a DMS official said. Under the law, doctors are obligated to inform donors about the risks and get them to sign a consent document. The official said the doctors took no such undertaking from Thakur, and that footage showed them encouraging her to content to the transplant.