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Cops let kidney thug escape for Rs 20 lakh

Seven of the bad apples have been named, but there is enough indication that the rot ran deeper, reports Vijaita Singh.
By Vijaita Singh | PTI, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 16, 2008 12:20 PM IST

Delhi Police have confirmed what most people suspected: the thugs who ran the kidney racket were in cahoots with the cops. Seven of the bad apples have been named, but there is enough indication that the rot ran deeper—and probably reached higher—in the police hierarchy.

The Crime Branch on Thursday arrested Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Ravinder Kumar Singh for allegedly allowing Upendra Kumar, a close aide of racket kingpin Amit Kumar, to escape from custody after accepting a bribe of Rs 19.85 lakh a few days before the lid was blown off the transnational, multi-crore case.

At a news conference on Friday, Additional CP (Crime) Satyendra Garg named Ravinder’s partners in crime: Head Constables Devender Singh and Vijay Bahadur, and Constables Naresh Kumar, Kaleem Beg, Surender Rathi and Rakesh Kumar. All six are absconding, Garg said. Like ASI Ravinder, they were posted with the central district special staff. Head Constable Devender, who was with Nizamuddin police station when a case was registered there against kidney kingpin Amit and 11 others in December 2000, was the leader of the group.

What is odd is that all seven named are junior policemen, when it is well-known that even an ASI, the seniormost in the group, cannot raid or question a suspect without permission from superiors.

Senior officers failed to explain why no action had been taken against the officers supervising the seven men, including the special staff inspector and ACP who report to the district DCP.

Sources said policemen had been taking money from the organ traders for at least seven years. The police refused to confirm this, but said they were probing the total number of transactions and the amount of money involved in the racket.

According to Garg, the rogue policemen intercepted Upendra’s car in Gurgaon on January 7 and brought him to Connaught Place. They confined him illegally, and asked him to organise money. The demand was allegedly for crores, but Upendra could manage only Rs 19.85 lakh in the couple of hours he was given. The money changed hands at the central district special staff office in Ajmeri Gate, and Upendra was let off.

ASI Ravinder has confessed to getting Rs 55,000, police said. However none of it has been found on him. The police have raided the homes of his alleged accomplices.

Soon after Upendra’s arrest on January 24, reports had surfaced that a Delhi Police team had caught him earlier but let him off after taking the bribe.

The Crime Branch said it had investigated the matter and finally zeroed in on the rogue policemen. “Upendra did not know who the policemen were, but remembered the names Singh and Mallik. It was a painstaking effort to begin investigations on this clue,” Garg said.

Upendra has also told police Devender and his accomplices snatched a laptop from him, which might contain valuable information on the kidney racket.

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