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Doctors nabbed in kidney racket

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The chief executive, medical director and three other doctors at a prestigious Indian hospital have been charged with offences related to illegal organ transplants after a kidney trafficking racket was uncovered, a police spokesman said.

Operating out of the private L.H. Hiranandani Hospital in Mumbai, the organ harvesting ring was busted by police in July following a tip-off that poor villagers were being paid to sell their kidneys to recipients via a network of agents.

Mumbai Deputy Police Commissioner Ashok Dudhe said the five doctors were arrested late on Tuesday after police had examined the findings of a government inquiry into the case.

“Two days ago, we got the report from the director for health services for Mumbai. In this report, there were charges made against these doctors such as negligence under the 1994 Transplantation of Human Organs Act,” Dudhe told a news conference on Wednesday.

Fourteen people have been arrested so far, he said, including a donor, a recipient and middlemen.

Police uncovered the racket at L.H. Hiranandani Hospital after a worker informed them of suspicious documentation for a scheduled operation for which a woman was donating a kidney to her husband.

They raided the hospital during the operation on July 14, and found the couple were not married and the donor was in fact an impoverished rural woman from the neighbouring Gujarat state.

Traffickers allegedly lured poor people from Gujarat into selling their kidneys for about 200,000 rupees ($3,000 or P140,368) and then re-sold their organs on the black market at a huge profit.