02/11/2008, 00.00
NEPAL-INDIA
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Doctor suspected of organ trafficking: "it is not a crime" to sell a kidney

by Kalpit Parajuli
The Indian doctor, believed to be the "mastermind" of an international organ trafficking ring, admits to more than 3,000 kidney transplants. But he says this was only the "selling" of organs by poor Indians to rich foreigners. He allegedly bought kidneys for about 2,000 dollars, and sold them for 20,000.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - The investigations continue into the worldwide ramifications of the organ transplant racket allegedly created by Indian doctor Amit Kumar Ravat, arrested in Nepal and deported to India days ago.

According to Nepalese police sources, Amit sold kidneys for 400,000-800,000 rupees (10,000-20,000 dollars), while he paid 75,000-100,000 rupees (1,900-2,500 dollars) for them.  He is thought to be the mastermind of a racket that has been at work for years in many countries.  He came to Nepal on December 30, travelling from Canada through Abu Dhabi.  It seems that he wanted to set up one of his clinics in Nepal.

He is thought to have admitted to police to having carried out more than 3,000 transplants, but he denied doing this "for money", as well as denying that he did this in regions where it is a crime.  He also confirmed that he took organs only from consenting donors, although he did give them money.

"The donors were poor Indians", he says, "the recipients, rich foreigners. I was their go-between, I served them. I took some money for the service but that's not a crime either." "I am a doctor by profession", "doing kidney transplants is my main business".

There is controversy in India because his clinic in Gurgaon, in the state of Haryana, was open and functioning for 15 years, without any intervention by the authorities.  Only in January, after being called by a victim, did the police intervene at the clinic and arrest four persons.  Indian law prohibits the donation of kidneys by a living person, unless the donor is a relative or spouse, or unless the two families agree to "an exchange".

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