Dr.Amit Kumar did not even spare his ward boy when he could not find a donor for a rich client. And he had links with MPs and underworld. He has also acted in a failed Hindi movie.
The recently busted kidney racket in northern India is turning ever sleazier.
A Mumbai Police officer in western India said that Dr.Kumar, still at large, had pounced on his own ward boy when he was running short of organs to be transplanted to a cash-rich foreigner.
It was in Mumbai that Amit (then Santosh Raut) had started his practice in mid-eighties and had 'forced' 30-year-old Ramesh Gaonkar to part with one of his kidneys for a measly Rs.10,000.
Gaonkar's statement was a part of the charges-sheet submitted by the crime branch in the Kaushalya kidney racket case.
The police raided the Kaushalya Nursing Home in Khar in 1993. "We are 100 per cent sure that Kumar is the Santosh Raut that the Mumbai crime branch has been chasing for so many years. He is among the biggest players in this illegal trade," said Rakesh Maria, Mumbai's Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime).
Raut had jumped bail and "shifted his illegal trade to Jaipur, Guntur and Hyderabad," said Maria.
As many as 11 people, including two nephrologists, were arrested in Mumbai. The racket was similar: kidneys were procured from poor labourers and beggars and touts would scout for international clients. The case led to nationwide outrage and resulted in the enactment of the the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994.
But Raut continued to operate, under different names, from Delhi, Guntur, Jaipur and Hyderabad, police claim. He started his Gurgaon operation in northern India a year and a half ago.
Meantime Dr Upendra, a close associate of Dr Amit Kumar, already detained in the Gurgaon scam, said Saturday that Dr Amit had close ties with two high-profile Members of Parliament, a senior politician and the family of a senior bureaucrat of Haryana, who helped him whenever he ran into rough weather.
"Dr Amit escaped from the clutches of IT sleuths in 1996 because of his contacts. He was helped by his close friends in Gurgaon who are influential people," Upendra said.
During a raid at his Palam Vihar residence in September 1996, a 32-member team of IT officials led by an assistant commissioner fixed a tax liability of Rs 6 crore on him. "But he got away after a Congress MP helped him. This MP helped Amit get in touch with IT officials who 'settled' the matter," said Dr Upendra.
Dr Amit Kumar also acted in C-grade Bollywood films, started a film company, invested money in more than 100 hospitals across the country and abroad and kept links with the underworld, Moradabad police in northern India said on Saturday.
Amit was also interested in the share market where he invested huge sums, in the process getting good returns, the police said.
Dr Amit and his brother Jeevan, according to the police, had contacts with underworld don Chhota Shakeel. "We have come to know about Dr Amit and his brother's connections with Chota Shakeel," said Prem Prakash, a senior police official investigating the case.
Prakash said on some issue, Shakeel got angry with Dr Amit. "He then made extortion calls to Dr Amit," he said.
The film company he reportedly started was named 'Film World' and the film in which the doctor played the role of a police officer was titled Khooni Raat, the police said.
It is believed the kidney racket kingpin had a plan to open his own hospitals in various parts of the country. One such hospital was under construction in Sadhopur village of Noida, which was raided by the police and its further construction stopped.
Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police Rajan Dhoble, who was chief investigator in the Mumbai case against Amit , said the doctor was a 'professional cheat' "who can go to any extent for money. His clients were mostly rich Arabs," said Dhoble.
He recalled that Mumbai used to be a favourite tourist destination for the Arabs before the 1992-93 serial blasts.
"In the late 1980s, Dawood (dreaded underworld don) spread his network in the Gulf and during the same period Amit's business flourished here. Some of the Arab patients who underwent transplantation at Amit's clinic before the blasts could have been sent by Dawood," the officer said.