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Key accused in kidney racket held
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February 07, 2008 21:46 IST
Last Updated: February 07, 2008 23:27 IST

Dr Amit Kumar, the alleged mastermind of India's biggest kidney transplant racket, was on Thursday arrested from a jungle resort, 60 km from the Indo-Nepal border ending a long man-hunt for the doctor who is believed to have conducted over 500 illegal operations in a decade.

Kumar, 40, wanted by the police in Haryana and some other states, was nabbed from Hotel Wildlife Camp in Chitwan,160 km from here at 5 pm, hours after he checked in with an associate identified as Manish Singh, Minister of State for Home Ramkumar Chaudhry said.

The tainted doctor against whom an Interpol red corner notice was issued after the massive racket with inter-state and international ramifications came to light on January 24 was being brought to the Nepalese capital for interrogation.

CBI director Vijay Shankar said in Delhi that they would approach Nepalese authorities for handing him over to India.

The doctor was found with $1,45,000 and a draft for 936 Euros in his possession.

Sources said Kumar and his Nepali associate Manish Singh checked in to room number 6 of the Hotel Wildlife Camp around 10 am on Thursday.

Soon after checking in the duo asked to see a copy of The Himalayan Times which had front-paged a report on the kidney racket and about the presence of the main accused in Nepal.

Sources said that Dr Kumar cut out the story and returned the newspaper to the reception. Eyewitnesses who saw Dr Kumar said that he was sporting a hat and sunglasses, the newspaper said.

They said a short while later a police team reached the hotel and began inquiring about the guests. The policemen showed the receptionist a picture of Dr Kumar and sought to know whether was staying in the hotel.

Even as the receptionist made a positive identification, Manish Singh fled from the hotel.

The police team then rushed to the room and formally arrested Dr Kumar.

Last week, Interpol issued notices for the arrest of Kumar and his brother after the racket was busted in Gurgaon saying the two are the "subject of national arrest warrants

for illegal transplanting of kidneys, cheating and criminal conspiracy."

"It is believed that during the past eight years around 500 people were forcibly operated on and their kidneys transplanted to foreign patients in a secret operating theatre," Interpol said.

Six people have been arrested in India over the scandal. The men behind the illegal operation are believed to have charged up to $ 50,000 for a kidney from clients from across the globe, according to local police.

The kidneys are believed to have come from poor migrant workers, some of whom have said they were kidnapped and drugged -- although police say the illegal donors were likely to have been paid around Rs 40,000.



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