Skeletons keep tumbling out as investigations continue in the multi-crore kidney racket recently busted in India. But many suspect the police could be shielding more high-profile accomplices.
The Crime Branch on Thursday arrested Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Ravinder Kumar Singh for allegedly allowing Upendra Kumar, a close aide of racket kingpin Amit Kumar, to escape from custody after accepting a bribe of Rs 19.85 lakh a few days before the lid was blown off the scam.
At a news conference on Friday, Additional Commissioner of Police (ACP) Satyendra Garg named Ravinder's partners in crime: Head Constables Devender Singh and Vijay Bahadur, and Constables Naresh Kumar, Kaleem Beg, Surender Rathi and Rakesh Kumar. All six were absconding, Garg said.
Like ASI Ravinder, they had been posted with the central district special staff. Head Constable Devender, who was with Nizamuddin police station when a case was registered there against Amit and 11 others in December 2000, was the leader of the group.
Sources claimed many policemen had been taking money from the organ traders for at least seven years.
What is odd though is that all seven named are junior policemen, when it is well-known that even an ASI, the highest ranking in the group, cannot order raids or question a suspect without permission from superiors, note observers.
But ACP Garg could not explain why no action was being contemplated against the senior officials who should have been in the loop, some way or other.
He only said that the rogue policemen had intercepted Upendra's car in Gurgaon on January 7 this year, took him to a police unit in New Delhi, demanded huge sums of money from him and within a couple of hours at that - failing which he would meet with a sorry fate, he was warned.
Upendra could manage only Rs 19.85 lakh in the time given. The money changed hands at the central district special staff office in Ajmeri Gate, and Upendra was let off.
ASI Ravinder has confessed to getting Rs 55,000, police said. However none of it has been found on him. The police have raided the homes of his alleged accomplices.
Soon after Upendra's arrest on January 24, reports had surfaced that a Delhi Police team had caught him earlier but let him off after taking bribe.
"Upendra did not know who the policemen were, but remembered the names Singh and Mallik. It was a painstaking effort to begin investigations on this clue," Garg said.
Upendra has also told police Devender and his accomplices snatched a laptop from him, which might contain valuable information on the kidney racket.
Meantime a team from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday raided the house of the second wife of Amit Kumar, in Jammu.
A special team of CBI raided the house of Sonia in Digiana area of Jammu city and questioned family members for almost five hours, official sources told news agency PTI.
They also claim to have seized some vital documents and property papers in the name of Kumar's wife, sources said, adding she is living in Canada where Kumar has allegedly carried out huge investments in real estate.
Sources said his wife was looking after the business establishments in Canada which was being probed by the Enforcement Directorate and CBI.