Court remands kidney kingpin to custody of investigative agency

Other News Materials 10 February 2008 15:51 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - A court in New Delhi on Sunday remanded Amit Kumar, the alleged mastermind of a major kidney transplant racket, to the custody of India's key investigative agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), for questioning, officials said.

Kumar, 40, who was deported from Kathmandu to Delhi on Saturday evening, was produced before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjiv Jain on Sunday. Jain remanded him to CBI custody till February 22.

The judge accepted the CBI's plea that custodial interrogation was necessary to unravel the nexus behind the illegal kidney trade and fixed the next hearing in the case for February 22, when Kumar's remand ends.

Kumar had reportedly entered Nepal in late December from Canada to escape investigations by Indian police against his alleged illegal activities.

He was arrested Thursday night in Chitwan, a Nepalese jungle resort about 250 kilometres south-west of Kathmandu after Interpol issued an alert in his name.

According to preliminary investigations, Kumar allegedly ran a multimillion-dollar racket in which more than 500 poor workers were duped into parting with their kidneys, which were then sold to wealthy clients from India and abroad over a period of eight to nine years.

The police suspect the transplant racket served international clients from Britain, the United States, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Dubai.

The NDTV network, citing CBI sources, said Kumar had said that he ran a clinic from Noida, a Delhi suburb, which was rented out by a senior bureaucrat.

The CBI is likely to charge Kumar under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code relating to wrongful confinement, causing hurt by dangerous weapons, cheating and criminal conspiracy.

He is also likely to be booked under the country's Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994, and could face a jail term of up to 10 years if convicted.