The racket where poor people were lured into selling their kidneys for anywhere between Rs.80,000 and Rs.100,000 seems to have been on for several years and at least 25 people have already donated their organs, police said after arresting key accused Mahadeva Sunday night from Ramanagaram, about 40 km from here.
The kidneys were then sold to those who needed them for Rs.300,000-Rs.400,000, said a police official.
Two of Mahadeva's alleged accomplices - Mohan Kumar and Ravi - were arrested from a nearby village and a search is on for more people involved.
Police uncovered the racket when a person who had been offered up to Rs.100,000 for his kidney informed them about the house to which he had been asked to go Saturday. The house in Nelamangala, around 30 km from here, was then raided and five others who had been enticed to sell their kidneys were rescued.
Three of them were farmers and two were silk weavers who were in deep debt, the official said.
Mahadeva and his accomplices fabricated documents to get clearance for donation of the organs from the Authorisation Committee, a body set up under the Human Organ Transplantation Act (1994). The committee's clearance is a must to ensure that organ donation is not for commercial purposes.
Mahadeva reportedly told the police that he used to take help from two employees in the Nelamangala taluk office to fabricate documents for Rs.8,000 per case.