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The Rediff Special/Vijay Singh in Mumbai
February 02, 2004
The recent incident involving nephrologist Dr Suresh Trivedi of Bombay Hospital, arrested on the charge of acting as a middleman in a kidney transplant racket and later granted bail, has again brought to light the sordid cases of those who deal in human organs and the devastation they leave behind.
Their modus operandi is simple: sell to poor people the dream of making money and travelling abroad.
Sheikh Mohammed Rafik, a 49-year-old father of two, fell into one such trap.
He came to Mumbai from Chennai in 1981 with a group of people, and donated his left kidney in 1985 to an Indian woman settled in Oman four years later.
Rafik, who has no idea where his mother and brother are, says he took the step because he made very little money doing odd jobs.
One day, while he was looking for work at Grant Road, he met Rajesh Tiwari, an agent. Tiwari told him that an Indian woman in Oman needed a kidney. He added that the lady would give him more than Rs 100,000 and arrange for his travel abroad.
"They promised me many things," Rafik, whose roadside hut used to be repeatedly demolished by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, says. "But all I got was Rs 50,000 in cash and some commodities like a tape recorder, camera, cloths, etc, worth around Rs 20,000."
Everything happened quickly, he says. "I went to Harkishan Das Hospital at Grant Road, where that lady was admitted. Within a week I was in bed to donate my kidney."
He says the lady spoke to him in "good Hindi". "Her family members spoke in Arabic or English."
He, however, adds, "Tiwari didn't allow me to communicate with the family. Most of the time he used to speak on their behalf."
He was in the hospital for 20 days and was discharged with a pile of medicines.
"After I was discharged all attempts to contact them failed," he adds.
Later, goons tried to extort the money that he got from the lady. "In those days I had no bank account, and had to keep all the money at home," he recounts.
When the pressure got to him, he shifted from Mahim to Goregaon, where he purchased a hut for Rs 18,000. "After two years, in 1987, I returned to my old residence in the hope that everything would be normal."
Back in Mahim now, his wife now sells paan-bidi and vegetables to make a living.
For Mohamed Sayeed, who was from Karnataka, the decision to donate his kidney proved deadly.
"One day he came with some new clothes and a huge quantity of medicine and gave Rs 20,000 to us. We did not know where he got the money from, but a few days later he informed us that he had donated his kidney. We scolded him. I cried a lot because people used to tell me that he won't live long."
According to Abida, Sayeed told her that he had given some money to his brother, who lives in Anantpur, Karnataka. "He had donated his kidney to some Arab lady, who was ready to take him abroad. He had approached them through an old man working in a nearby hotel."
Soon after donating his kidney, Sayeed fell ill.
He died ten years later, leaving behind seven children.
One of the kids passed away after his death. The family is now dependent on the children, who earn money by doing odd jobs.