From charity to scam, a doc’s run to jail
For 12 years, Dr Hirdesh Saxena lived an austere and quiet life in Shirdi, just 1.5 km from its famous temple. He ran a small clinic and a charitable trust, charging Rs 10 from patients.
Having done his MD at Bhopal University, he had worked at private hospitals and for seven years in Bangkok before deciding to settle in Shirdi. Sometime between then and 2012, Saxena metamorphosed into an alleged kidney donation racketeer. In 15 months, he established an operation reportedly spread across three countries, the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Maharashtra and Jammu, and involving at least 10 illegal donations. Police expect to reveal many more cases.
Sixty-year-old Dr Saxena was arrested on February 16, and has been charged under the Passport Act, IT Act and Andhra Pradesh Transplantation of Human Organs Act. Three others were arrested along with him, K Raghavendera, a former businessman; A Ashok, a student; and Sanjay Kumar Jain, a passports broker.
Police believe the turning point in Saxena’s life was his younger son joining a doctorate course in the US in 2012. Dr Saxena needed more than Rs 6 lakh per month to pay for his son’s expenses. His savings had already been used up, including in educating the elder son, a doctor settled in Bangalore. By then, Saxena had separated from his first wife and started living with a woman 30 years younger than him.
According to ACP B Limba Reddy, of the Hyderabad Police Task Force, he got the idea of the kidney racket from a chance encounter with an acquaintance at a dialysis centre in Shirdi. “In India, only a family member or in-law can donate a kidney without a legal affidavit.
Dr Saxena understood that very few family members were able to donate kidney to their kin, while fewer unrelated donors took the trouble of getting a legal affidavit made without taking money. Someone mentioned to him there were several websites where people in need of a kidney posted messages. People wanting to sell their kidney left messages on these websites too. Dr Saxena also found out that laws in Iran and Sri Lanka had loopholes,” says the ACP.
Dr Saxena allegedly sent out tens of mails and messages before he got his first call. K Raghavendra, a Hyderabad-based businessman in severe financial trouble, allegedly enquired hesitatingly: “How much for a kidney?” By then, Saxena had already got in touch with a couple of hospitals in Colombo and Tehran, the two countries which at the time did not insist on donors being family relatives. “Saxena concluded that the total expenses incurred, from arranging for a ‘donor’, to getting him/her tested, to return flight fare, to pre- and post-surgery accommodation and transplantation charges, came to Rs 30 lakh. He told Raghavendra he would get Rs 5 lakh for ‘donating’ his kidney…
He also convinced him to ask his wife to donate a kidney,” an official said.In early 2014, Raghavendra and Shweta flew to Tehran along with Saxena. A document attesting that the donor was giving the kidney voluntarily was allegedly forged; in reality, the couple had never met their recipients. “Taking out the Rs 12.25 lakh eventually paid to the couple, Rs 6 lakh on flight fares and accommodation, and Rs 26 lakh on the two surgeries, Saxena made a profit of close to Rs 16 lakh,” the official said.
Soon Saxena was allegedly posting messages all over the Internet. “In the meanwhile, Raghavendra and Shweta started facing health problems,” says ACP Reddy. Raghavendra called up Saxena to complain, and the doctor offered that he become an “agent”. “He offered him Rs 3 lakh for every transplant,” says the officer.
According to police, Raghavendra would stand outside dialysis centres and introduce himself as Dr Sanjay Kapoor. One of the first netted by Raghavendra was 22-year-old A Ashok. Hailing from a poor family steeped in debt, the Hyderabad-based unemployed B.Tech student allegedly saw it as a way to help his family. Ashok and his recipient, who didn’t know each other, were taken to a hospital in Colombo.
Later, police say, Ashok too developed health issues, and was also “recruited” by Saxena. He was allegedly offered Rs 50,000 per donor.
Soon, Saxena had other recruiting agents and sub-agents. Police are hunting for one Ram Kumar, according to them a fake doctor, in Chennai. In Hyderabad, a broker and tout, Sanjay Kumar Jain, allegedly arranged passports as well as tourist visas.
Source:: Indian Express