Jun 27, 2016

    Man in India accused of paying $50k for kidney


    INDIAN police said on Friday they had arrested a man for receiving a kidney through an illegal organ-donation racket run out of one of the country's top hospitals.

    Ashutosh Singh, 22, is alleged to have bought the kidney through a criminal gang that forged documents to facilitate the transplant at an upscale Apollo Hospital in New Delhi.

    He is accused of paying 2.5 million rupees (S$49,800) to the gang, which bought the organs from poor people for just 300,000 rupees.

    "He was arrested on Thursday and we are questioning him," said M.S. Randhawa, south Delhi's deputy commissioner of police.

    Organs can be donated only by close relatives or non-relatives approved by a special committee in India.

    But millions of Indians suffer from kidney disease and a chronic shortage of organs for transplant has fuelled a black market.

    Lalitha Raghuram, country director of India's largest organ-donation network Mohan Foundation, called on authorities to boost donations.

    "As an individual, I feel sorry for such people because they do it in desperation.

    "But we cannot support and engage in sale and purchase of human organs," she said.

    "The only solution is to create awareness and improve our organ-donation record."

    The latest racket was uncovered earlier this month after police arrested 12 people, including several hospital employees, donors and agents from across the country.

    Police also arrested the gang leader T. Rajkumar, who claimed to have facilitated dozens of transplants in the past several years.