Monday, September 18, 2017

How a chance conversation at a tea shop busted the kidney scam

DEHRADUN: It was a policeman overhearing a random conversation at a tea shop between two drivers who were tasked to ferry kidney donors to Gangotri Charitable Hospital on the outskirts of Dehradun (from where the recently busted kidney racket was being run) that eventually led to the whole affair coming out in the open.

Almost a month back, constable Pankaj Sharma, posted in the Ranipur police station in Haridwar, was sitting in a tea shop in plain clothes when he overheard two persons discussing the “illegal things” happening in the hospital. Recalling the sequence of events, Sharma told TOI, “It was early August and I was having morning tea at a roadside tea shop, when I heard two persons sitting adjacent to me talking about the goings-on in their hospital. They mentioned an organ racket running there although they did not mention the name of the hospital.”

Since Sharma's suspicions were aroused, he informed his superiors—sub-inspector Abhinav Sharma and inspector Pradeep Bisht—who in turn informed Haridwar senior superintendent of police (SSP) Krishna Kumar VK about the matter. Speaking to TOI, Krishna Kumar said, “I was informed that there were some leads that a possible organ racket was running in our area. However, the leads were not specific, since we did not know the name of the hospital or the persons suspected to be involved in it. Nevertheless, I formed a team to work on whatever clues we had,” Kumar said.

The cops used their informers’ network and eventually zeroed in on Gangotri Charitable Hospital located in the Lattappar area of Doiwala on the outskirts of Dehradun. However, as Pradeep Bisht, in-charge of Ranipur police station recalls, they still did not have enough evidence to inform Dehradun police or go on an offensive against the syndicate.

Finally, after an almost month long exercise during which the police developed sources within and outside the hospital, they got specific inputs about donors being taken to the hospital by a middleman in a SUV on the night of September 10. Acting on the inputs, a team of Haridwar police subsequently apprehended the vehicle leading to the arrest of five persons including kingpin Amit Kumar's key henchman Javed Khan who was tasked with arranging kidney donors.

Recognising the key role that Sharma played in sniffing out the scam, Haridwar police has recommended his name for a medal while state police headquarters has decided to award the constable during the January 26 parade next year.

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