Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 9:
Enforcement Directorate(ED) sleuths in Odisha today grilled N Prabhakar Babu, director of Seven Hills Hospital in Visakhapatnam for two and half hours in connection with the alleged kidney sale by a woman of Nayak Sahi in Cuttack last year.
Sources said the ED interrogated Babu on the several documents seized by it from Seven Hills Hospitals at Vishakhapatnam during its raids on the hospital a few days ago. Tne raid was in connection with a kidney transplant that had taken place there last year in which the so-called kidney donor Namita Nayak of Mangalabag in Cuttack had allegedly sold her organ against a promise of Rs 10 lakh.
Babu, who was arrested by the Commissionerate Police last year in connection with the alleged kidney sale, was released by the High Court on the basis of surety bonds worth Rs 10 lakh provided by two bailers, who happened to be locals and Rs 2 lakh bank deposit in the court’s account.
On July 24 last year, the High Court had termed the Commissionerate Police’s arrest of Babu as ‘illegal’ and had granted him interim bail on the same day.
The court had made it clear that the police have no power to investigate such cases under section 18 and 19 of Transplantation of Human Organ Act, 1994.
It had however, said that the case can be investigated by a special empowered committee.
A three-member team of the ED that had raided Seven Hills Hospital at Vishakhapatnam on May 28 this year had seized several documents related to kidney transplants done at the hospital.
Suspecting that some doctors of the Seven Hills Hospital connived with middlemen to exploit poor people by luring them with the promise of money to donate their kidney at cheaper prices, the ED has begun investigations into the matter on its own after about one year of the incident coming to light to trace the money trail in the racket.
Sources said preliminary investigations by the ED have revealed that more than 30 patients from Odisha had got kidney transplants done at the hospital since 2010. The agency is verifying documents to find out whether those were conducted legally or illegally.
After raiding the Seven Hills Hospital at Visakhapatnam, the ED also raided Apollo Hospital here on June 5 last in connection with the alleged kidney sale.
Notably, two alleged cases of kidney sale had come to fore in Cuttack last year in the months of April and May making waves in the state.
In two separate cases, some middlemen had allegedly lured two women Padmini Nayak and Namita Nayak of Nayak Sahi in Mangalabag locality of Cuttack city to part with their kidneys against promises of lucrative amounts of money. However, the two women were not paid the amounts promised to them by the middlemen.
After the matter came to light, the Commissionerate police first arrested one Sharmista Nayak, who had acted as a broker in these transactions, her husband Dillip Nayak and another middleman Niranjan Choudhary alias Nirakar. Later, it also arrested brother of a kidney recipient, his friend and a director of Seven Hills Hospital N Prabhakar Babu.