At least 14 people, including four doctors and the hospital’s chief executive, have been arrested since July when police, acting on information provided by Jatav, stopped a kidney transplant involving a 48-year-old patient who had presented forged documents purporting that the organ donor was his wife.
The ring is part of what one news outlet dubbed the “Great Indian Kidney Racket.”
Because the country harvests relatively few organs from people who die in accidents — the most common source of kidneys in the U.S. — the vast majority of transplants here involve living donors who give up one of their two kidneys.
To reduce the chances that money is changing hands, which is illegal in India and almost everywhere else, the law allows, with rare exceptions, only a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent or grandchild to act as a donor.
For patients who don’t have a relative with a suitable kidney or don’t want to put a loved one through the small risk that donation entails, there is another option: a shadowy marketplace in which well-off patients can buy organs from strangers. The sellers are often impoverished, recruited from small towns by middlemen and made to present falsified papers — sometimes in collusion with doctors.