Five doctors of Mumbai’s well-known LH Hiranandani Hospital accused of being part of kidney-transplant racket. (Shutterstock representative image)

The country’s commercial capital sprang a story of illegal kidney trade recently when a new and upscale hospital in Mumbai reported four cases of dubious organ transplant. This triggered the arrest of 14 people, five of them doctors with Powai’s 250-bed Hiranandani hospital, which is now in the eye of a storm:

1) Five doctors of Mumbai’s well-known LH Hiranandani Hospital were arrested this week after a kidney-transplant racket in the trust-run facility was unearthed in mid-July. The 12-year-old hospital has been ordered to stop organ transplants after a medical team found four cases under the operation dubious.

2) The matter came to light on July 14 when the police, acting on a tip-off by activist Mahesh Tanna, stopped an illegal transplant for a Gujarati businessman. The intended kidney recipient, Brijkishore Jaiswal (48) of Surat was arrested along with his son Kishan (28), and agents Bhaijendra Bisen (42) and Iqbal Siddiqui (40) besides Bharat Sharma (62), the alleged kingpin.

3) This Tuesday night, police arrested hospital CEO Sujit Chatterjee (a gynaecologist) and medical director Anurag Naik along with doctors Mukesh Shete, Mukesh Shah and Prakash Shetty. A case has been registered on charges of cheating, impersonation, criminal conspiracy and forgery of the IPC and the Transplantation of Human Organ Act, 1994 at Powai police station.

Dr Sujit Chatterjee, CEO of LH Hiranandani Hospital, is taken away by the police after his arrest. (Pramod Thakur/ HT photo)

4) Investigation revealed that an employee, Nilesh Kamble (36) was an organ transplant coordinator and received Rs 8 lakh for overlooking forged documents. Also, Mumbra-based middleman connived with kingpin Bisen to make fake ID proofs. Identified Iqbal Khwaja, he has been arrested.

5) Till now, 14 persons have been arrested in the case. While the five doctors of the Powa-based 250-bed hospital are in police custody till August 13, the rest were sent to judicial custody. Among them, Kishan, the donor Shobha Thakur and Kamble, who is also a social worker, have been granted bail.

6) The hospital doctors were arrested on the basis of a recent report submitted by a three-member state health inquiry committee report. The three members are Dr Sujata Patwardhan from the Zonal Transplant Coordination Committee, state nodal officer Dr Gauri Rathod and Sion hospital head of nephrology Dr Kalpana Mehta.

7) The findings, which were first submitted to the state’s director Dr Mohan Jadhav of directorate of health services on July 23, held a nephrologist and two urologists (who were subsequently arrested) “negligent on multiple counts”.

8) As for the role of doctors, a police official investigating the case said, “They did not verify the documents thoroughly; it amounted to negligence. They should not have gone ahead with the surgery till they had satisfactory information that the donor and recipient are related. They showed a casual attitude; did not perform duty properly.”

9) According to police, kingpin Bisen’s aide Kamble was employed at the hospital for three years—he cleared over 100 kidney transplant papers. The remaining accused helped in the paperwork and forgery.

10) The Powai police have found more victims from outside Maharashtra who were allegedly lured by the agents in the racket. The hospital’s legal cell is working to get revoked the ban on kidney transplants.