New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Nepalese police this morning arrested Indian doctor Amit Kumar, believed to head a vast criminal organisation that runs a multi-million dollar racket in the trade of kidneys in Gurgaon, close to New Delhi. The manhunt was triggered by a police raid on clinic involved in illegal transplants, which took place on January 24th last. Indian police sources have confirmed the arrest.
According to Indian authorities, a group of henchmen in Kumar were paid prowl the poor markets of Old Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in search of donors; once they were individuated they were enticed by false promises of a well paid job (150 rupees a day as well as bed and board) only to be segregated until the transplant operation. One kidney could cost between 1000 and 2500 dollars: those who resisted were drugged and operated on anyway. These organs were then sold on to wealthy Indians or non resident foreigners.
The doctor was hidden in a resort in the southern parts of the country. Chitwan police chief, Kiran Gautam, explains that Kumar has been removed to the capital Kathmandu (160 kilometres from Chitwan) for further questioning. According to the Nepalese State Minister at the time of his arrest he was carrying 145 thousand dollars in cash and a check for over 900 thousand Euros. Indian authorities have already sought his extradition.
Amit Kumar, a surgeon originally from Maharashra, has a number of different passports and many aliases; he owns property valued at tens of millions of rupees in Gurgaon and Mumbai, and has at least 12 accounts at different banks scattered around the world. The Indian press has accused the police of letting him escape numerous times.
In 1994, in fact, he was arrested for kidney trafficking in Mumbai, but he was able to get away. After he changed his name, he set up a new network of clinics hidden in private apartments in Gurgaon. One of these was searched in 2000, but somehow the surgeon received permission to continue to operate. Precisely for these reasons, in the ongoing controversy in its columns the Times of India has suggested to the government that it investigate "the connections between the organ traffickers and the police".