Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 13:
It is now official: an organized kidney racket is flourishing in Odisha.
Twin City commissioner RP Sharma admitted as much when he confirmed today that three persons, including a woman named Sharmistha, had been arrested in connection with the fraudulent ‘donation’ of a kidney by Padmini Nayak, a woman from the Nayak Sahi slums in Mangalabag, Cuttack.
On her part, Padmini has outlined, in an exclusive chat with Kanak TV aired today, the systematic way in which the racket operates in great detail.
According to her testimony, doctors, DMET officials and the management of so called premier hospitals and their agents are involved in the racket that passes off outright sale of kidney as a bona fide donation.
Padmini revealed that the ‘dalals’ had created a false income certificate to facilitate the kidney ‘donation in her’ case. “While our family income of Padmini is no more than Rs 100, I was told to say that my income is Rs 2.5 lakh,” she said in the interview.
Not only was the income certificate false, even Padmini’s photograph was morphed with the family members of the kidney recipient to prove that she is related to the family.
“We went to Apollo hospital. They had already done all the paper work. I was asked to give a passport size photo, which was morphed with the kidney recipient and his wife’s photo on the computer and made into one photo. Then what they did with it I don’t know,” said Padmini.
In her interview, Padmini gave us a peep into the modus operandi used by the racketeers to trap the ‘donors’. They invariably target the poor, secure in the knowledge that an offer of a hefty sum of money would be too difficult to resist for them.
In Padmini’s case, it was Sharmistha, the woman arrested by the police, who did the trapping with an offer of Rs 3 lakh.
“I came to know Madam Sharmistha (Nayak) through our Self Help Group (SHG) in Mangalabag area. She usually comes to my house and often talks to me about my family problems. After coming to know about our poverty, she proposed to me that I sell one of my kidneys to someone for Rs 3 lakh with which I can repay my loans. I had no option but to sell the kidney to run my poor family with a disabled husband, two daughters and one son. Besides, I had taken some money by way of loan from some persons that I have failed to repay so far,” Padmini told Kanak TV.
Sharmistha, who is the secretary of a Mahila Samiti, convinced her that there would be no problem if she ‘donated’ one of her kidneys. Any problem arising out of the donation will be taken care of by ‘Madam’, who would also meet her monthly medicine cost even after the transplant took place.
While she kept her part of the bargain, Sharmistha did not. She was given just Rs 50, 000 before she parted with her kidney and another Rs 2, 000 after the operation. “It is only now that I realise that I was duped,” she said.
The victim revealed that the deal for Rs 3 lakh was stuck at the Sukanya Nursing Home located at the Badambadi bus stand in Cuttack. After the deal, she was taken to the Apollo hospital.
What happened at this premier hospital proves that doctors are an important cog in the wheel that operates the kidney racket. ‘Dr Panda’ (she could not give his full name) went ahead with the operation even though he knew very well that she was in no way related to the recipient and the papers prepared in this regard had been forged.
It is now for the police to identify this ‘Dr Panda’.
The DMET, the agency tasked with the monitoring of donation cases, did not make the customary inquiry before giving the go-ahead either. The concerned official apparently allowed the kidney transplant after asking just two questions.
“In Apollo hospital, I was asked whether I had taken permission of my family members. I said I had. Then the doctor asked that the signature of my husband is required for this. I don’t know where they got the signature. Similarly, in the meeting at DMET, the officials asked what my relationship with the kidney recipient is. As tutored by ‘Madam’, I told them he is like a brother to me. I parroted whatever had been tutored by Madam,” said Padmini.
Having been royally duped, Padmini is now staring at an uncertain future. With the promised Rs 3 lakh not forthcoming, she is at her wit’s end wondering where she would get the Rs 10,000 she needs for her treatment every month from, while also taking care of her family.