Delhi Police
Representational Image: Delhi police van.Reuters File

The Delhi Police on Thursday busted an inter-state kidney racket. The police have arrested five persons, including two assistants of a nephrologist who was working in Apollo Hospital, Delhi.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (southeast district) MS Randhawa was quoted by the Indian Express as saying that the arrested persons have been identified as Aditya Singh (24), Shailesh Saxena (31), Aseem Sikdar (37), Devashish Moulik (30) and Satya Prakash (30).

Singh and Saxena were working as personal assistants (PAs) to a doctor at Apollo Hospital, according to the police.

"Singh and Saxena have been working for the last three years as personal assistants of a senior nephrologist, while the other accused acted as middlemen," Randhawa said.

The Police nabbed Sikdar, Moulik and Prakash from Apollo Hospital on Thursday, whereas the two PAs were arrested later.

The Delhi Police sources told the Hindu that it was tipped off about the presence of these middlemen in Apollo Hospitals.

The accused persons operated a network in states such as Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and Delhi. The Police said that these middlemen would first enquire about the number of kidneys required at Delhi's Apollo Hospital and later lure poor people into donating kidney for a sum of Rs. 2 to 3 lakh per kidney, whereas the recipients were made to pay Rs. 25 to 30 lakh for the same.

The middlemen would get a share of Rs. 50,000 each, the police sources said, the Indian Express reported.

The police has also said that it recovered some fake voter IDs, Aadhar cards from the possession of these middlemen.

It further said that all the kidney transplantation surgeries were conducted at Apollo Hospital.

"The operations were conducted at Apollo Hospital. Organ transplant rules mandate detailed documentation and their verification. The gang forged documents to make it seem like donors were relatives of recipients. They would use the ID card of a family member of the recipient, with genuine details such as address, and change the photo. The investigation also raises question marks about the hospital's staff," Randhawa said.

The Delhi Police has launched a manhunt in Hyderabad where the kingpin of the racket, T Rajakumar Rao is believed to be hiding. Besides, a 25-member Special Investigation team (SIT) has been set up to further investigate the matter. The police also said that it would conduct raids at a few more private hospitals of Delhi.

India's largest hospital chain Apollo Hospitals, which is at the centre of controversy, has pleaded guilty and distanced itself from the persons who were arrested. The Hospital chain said that it is independently investigating the matter.

"We are rigorously investigating the matter along with police. The secretarial staff alleged to be involved are not employees of Apollo Hospital. The Hospital has been a victim of unorganized activities to cheat patients and the hospital," Apollo hospitals said in a tweet from its official handle.

Meanwhile, the stock of Apollo Hospitals on Bombay Stock Exchange(BSE) slumped by 2.34 percent to Rs. 1,368.5 on Friday from its previous close.