Kidney racket: All about the scam busted at Delhi’s Batra hospital

From changing name, getting fake accent and Aadhar card, doctoring photos in family albums, the racketeers worked to a well thought out plan to pass off the kidney seller as a family member

Shiv Sunny
HT Correspondent, New Delhi
kidney racket

Jaideep Sharma, , a management student at Pune’s Symbiosis Institute, helped bust the illegal kidney racket in Delhi. (Handout photo)

The illegal kidney donation racket busted by a Delhi police team was a well-organised one. The strength of the racketeers lay in their ability to convincingly pass off donors as close relatives of the organ recipients, investigators said.

How the quest began

*A 24-year-old MBA student at Pune’s Symbiosis Institute risked his safety and played along with illegal kidney donation agents for several weeks to expose a well-organised racket operating in Delhi, top police officials said.

* MBA student Jaideep Sharma’s quest began last September when one of his friends suddenly went missing. Since the friend had spoken about selling his kidney for a handsome price, Jaideep believed that his disappearance had something to do with a racket. He, therefore, made a conscious effort to contact the kidney racketeers and offer himself as a donor.

* The racketeers fell into the trap and offered him Rs 4 lakh for donating his kidney.


Sharma contacted a reporter from News 24 channel. Prepared to conduct a sting operation, the news team informed the crime branch and sought backup.
* Sharma played along with the racketeers for several weeks, allowing the police to gather evidence. His kidney was to be ‘donated to a patient from Andhra Pradesh.
* In the meantime, the racketeers made Sharma assume the identity of an Andhra Pradesh man by arranging fake documents and working on his looks.
* The racketeers first prepared his fake aadhaar card, voter ID card, matriculation certificate and date of birth certificates, all of which showed him to be the recipient’s son.
* In all the forged documents, Sharma was given a new name, Polepeddy Snayna Podma Phanikumar, and made to repeatedly recite it so that he could confidently spell the name.
* To pass him off as the recipient’s son who could be legally allowed to donate his kidney to him, they ensured Sharma spent considerable time with the family and trained him in Telugu accent.
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*Sharma’s photographs were superimposed even in the recipient’s family portraits so that any cross-checking would not reveal that he did not belong to the family. “The racketeers wanted everything to be foolproof. So, they even photo-shopped the photos of the recipient’s real son so that the donor resembled him,” said the investigator
*This was necessary as the law allows only close family members to donate kidneys to the patients. The man who was to receive Sharma’s kidney is a native of Andhra Pradesh.
The endgame
*On Thursday, just an hour before Sharma was to be operated upon, the police raided the hospital.
* The police had by then gathered total of 200 hours of video recordings.
*The police claimed to have seized several “incriminating” documents from the hospital premises. Arrests so far have been limited to the middlemen
*Police say the role of Batra Hospital’s doctors and staffers and a city-based diagnostic centre is also under the scanner.
*Investigators said this was an interstate racket that had been operating for a long time. The racketeers used to charge Rs 30-40 lakh from each kidney recipient.
Hospital denies any role
*When contacted, Batra Hospital denied any role in the racket, saying, “Batra Hospital conducts all renal transplants fairly and under strict supervision. All related and unrelated transplants are vetted by a committee. All the transplant act guidelines are followed. All documents are checked and the proceedings of the committee are