Key witness in kidney racket case commits suicide near Mumbai
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Key witness in kidney racket case commits suicide near Mumbai

Police say he killed himself after a dispute with his wife; senior official says kidney racket case won’t be affected

mumbai Updated: Jan 09, 2019 08:21 IST
Pratik Salunke
Pratik Salunke
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,kidney scam,suicide
Sunder Singh Jatav’s body was discovered by a neighbour who called a close friend of Jatav’s to report a foul smell coming from his flat in Diva, Thane.(HT)

A 26-year-old man was found hanging from a ceiling fan at his residence in Diva, on Tuesday afternoon. Thane Police suspect Sunder Singh Jatav, who was a key witness in the 2016 kidney transplant racket, was driven to commit suicide after his marriage fell apart.

Jatav’s body was discovered by a neighbour who called a close friend of Jatav’s to report a foul smell coming from his flat. “Jatav had fought with his wife on January 3 after which she left the residence. She told us about their fight and did not wish to go back to Diva. The next day, she boarded an express train to reach her hometown in Bihar,” said Jatav’s friend who reported the death to the police. He had tried calling Jatav, but wasn’t able to get through. “A neighbour informed me that foul stench was emanating from the flat after which I reached Diva and later informed the police. They broke open the door and found him hanging in the kitchen,” said Jatav’s friend.

“It appears to be a suicide after a dispute with his wife,” said DS Swami, deputy commissioner of police, zone 1, Thane Police.

The friend said Jatav ran a business selling pav-bhaji and had not seemed stressed over the progress of the investigation into the kidney transplant racket.

The police said Jatav had already recorded his statement in the case. Jatav had helped uncover the racket after he was promised a hefty sum by the accused in exchange for his kidney.

“The accused prepared bogus and false documents to show him [Jatav] and recipient as family. Jatav was from a poor family and was lured to sell his kidney for ₹2 lakh even as he was promised ₹15 to ₹20 lakh. He then approached us after which we took up the matter and the racket was exposed,” said Suresh Gupta who had informed the police and was one of the whistleblowers. Gupta said as Jatav was a key eyewitness, there should be a thorough investigation into his death.

In 2016, Jatav and other whistleblowers helped uncover a kidney racket transplant that involved 14 people, including four doctors at a suburban private hospital. The hospital was ordered to stop organ transplants after a medical team found four dubious cases in the hospital.

A senior Mumbai police officer who was part of the investigations in 2016 said that Jatav’s death is unlikely to hamper the case. “We had done medical examination of the person who died and there is medical evidence as well. Further, his statement has been recorded and there are also other witnesses in the case.”

First Published: Jan 09, 2019 00:29 IST