The illegal kidney transplant that came to light in Ramanagar district last week is not a stray incident. It is in effect an extension of the kidney racket that was unearthed in Ramanagar, Magadi and Nelamangala in 2012.
Despite several arrests and stern action, the racket continues to thrive, the police admit.
“The arrests made so far (in the latest case) and the subsequent interrogation and the evidence gathered indicate that the illegal kidney transplant was facilitated by a larger racket,” Superintendent of Police, SP Dr Chandragupta, told reporters in Ramanagar on Wednesday.
A few people arrested in the illegal kidney trade in 2012-13 are the prime suspects in the latest case too.
The police have so far arrested eight people. They are identified as Suresh, 36, said to be the kingpin of the kidney racket and a resident of Kamakshipalya, Srinivas, 28, from Cubbonpet, Hemanth Kumar, 36, from SR Nagar, Vishwanath, 37, from Banashankari, Manjunath, 37, and Srikanth, 36, both from Magadi, Gopal, 43, from Ramanagar, and Mahadevaiah, 68, from Kanakapura. Srinivas and Hemanth Kumar are involved in the illegal transplant that took place at Vikram Hospital in Mysuru on June 26 while the rest are involved in similar offences reported in 2012, the SP said.
Investigation revealed that Suresh, the kingpin, had struck a deal for Rs 14 with Srinivas, whose mother was suffering from renal failure. But the duo paid just Rs 2.7 lakh to Shashikala, the donor. Shashikala had decided to sell off her kidney to repay loans. She was an old acquaintance of Srinivas’s and knew about his mother’s condition.
The eight suspects in the case have been booked under The Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994, and sections 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (cheating) 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) of the IPC. During interrogation, they are said to have told the police about their involvement in a similar case six months ago.
They said that they had lured Fathima, a resident of Bychapura in Magadi, into donating one of her kidneys. The recipient was a patient from Gajendragad in Gadag district. Police registered two separate cases — one involving Shashikala and another Fathima — on July 8 and July 14, respectively.
Suresh and Manjunath were involved in a similar case registered at the Kumbalgod police station. They were arrested but they got bail and continued the illegal enterprise, Dr Chandragupta said. Police have not been able to establish the involvement of Shashikala’s husband, Venkatesh, in the
Srikanth had helped Suresh in creating fake documents. Since he worked with the Revenue Department in Magadi, he could easily fabricate voter’s identity and ration cards, the SP added.