5 members of kidney trade gang arrested
They used to contact patients needing kidney transplants and then find individuals in remote villages who would donate a kidney for money.
The tests to match the donor and the recipient used to be done in Bangladesh. Then the organised gang prepared forged documents vouching that the donor and the recipient are related.
Meanwhile, the gang took hefty sums from the patients and gave a lump sum to the donor. The actual kidney transplant procedure used to be done in India.
The gang amassed crores of taka in the process, Rab officers said yesterday.
Rab said they have identified 20 members of the gang, which has been running this racket for 10 years.
"Around 100 low-income and poor people became victims of the gang," Khandakar Al Moin, Rab's legal and media wing director, told a press briefing at Rab media centre yesterday.
Rab officers learnt about this after arresting five members of the gang in raids in Joypurhat and Dhaka. The drive was launched after receiving complaints from the victims.
In primary interrogation, the arrestees admitted that they used to take Tk 15-20 lakh from each kidney patient while they promised each donor Tk 3-5 lakh. But, after each successful transplant, they used to pay the donors even less, Moin said. Some were given only Tk 2 lakh, he added.
The arrestees are: Shahrier Imran Ahmed, 36, admin of two Facebook pages -- Bangladesh Kidney and Liver Patients Chikitsa Seba and Kidney Liver Chikitsa Seba; Mehedi Hasan, 24, Saiful Islam, 28, Abdul Mannan, 45, and Tajul Islam, 38.
Rab said gang leader Shahrier Imran takes Tk 5 -10 lakh while key members Mannan, who lured the donors promising hefty sums of money, and Tajul, Mannan's associate, take Tk 5 lakh and Tk 3 lakh respectively, Moin said.
Mannan was accused in at least six cases of illegal transplantation of human organs and went to jail before.
One of the victims told Rab that he was forced to donate his liver in India.
A Rab officer said the gang used to arrange Bangladeshi donors for Indian nationals too.
"They also arranged several kidney transplants in Bangladeshi hospitals," he said, preferring anonymity.
The gang used to find kidney donors by promising Tk 5 lakh to people in desperate need of money.
There was a group within the gang that arranged the medical tests, documents vouching for the kinship of the donor and the recipient, and passports and visas for the individuals involved.
The gang has close relations with another group operating in the neighbouring country. That group made arrangements in India and ensured the donors returned to Bangladesh after the transplant, the Rab said.
According to the Transplant of Human Organ Act (amendment) 2018, a patient can obtain a kidney either from a "close relative" or from a brain-dead patient, with consent from kin.
A victim of the gang, Sujaul Mondol, 50, filed a case with Kalai Police Station in Joypurhat on Sunday against Mannan and Tajul.
Contacted last night, Sujaul told The Daily Star that Mannan and Tajul approached him around six years ago when he was in serious need of money.
The duo convinced him to donate his kidney for Tk 3.5 lakh. He was taken to a Delhi hospital where his kidney was donated to a man from Cumilla, he added.
The duo, however, gave him Tk 3 lakh. "Now they say they will accuse me in false cases if I demand the rest of the money."
Besides, Mannan and Tajul have recently been asking him to convince others to sell their kidneys to the gang, he said.