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INDIA - NEPAL

Suspected kidney snatcher deported to India

3 min

An Indian doctor accused of masterminding an illegal kidney transplant racket was deported to India on Saturday after an international manhunt ended with his arrest in Nepal.

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ALLEGED KIDNEY SNATCHER DEPORTED TO INDIA

An Indian doctor accused of masterminding an illegal kidney transplant racket was deported to India on Saturday after an international manhunt ended with his arrest in Nepal.

The 43-year-old fugitive, Amit Kumar, who was the subject of an Interpol alert, was flown to New Delhi after being detained late Thursday at a hotel in southern Nepal.

He was taken into custody by detectives of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) immediately after landing in the Indian capital and whisked away from a waiting crowd of journalists.

Kumar was bundled out of a car and rushed into the CBI's offices in central New Delhi for questioning as police kept another group of journalists at bay.

"On deportation ... from Nepal, Kumar has been brought to New Delhi," CBI spokesman G. Mohanty told reporters.

"The Nepalese authorities had extended exceptional cooperation in the deportation of this fugitive," he said, adding that Kumar will appear in court on Sunday.

If convicted, Kumar faces up to 10 years in prison, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

Kumar was using Nepal as a transit point and attempting to flee to Canada, where he owns a home, after the scam came to light last month, police said.

Earlier, senior Nepali police officer Upendra Kanta Aryal told AFP that Kumar had "been handed over to Indian authorities."

"We deported him after there were orders from high-level officials," Aryal said.

In New Delhi, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said he "deeply appreciated" Nepal's cooperation.

India had previously said it hoped Nepal would hand over Kumar, who allegedly lured or forced hundreds of poor into giving up their kidneys. The doctor made millions by selling the organs to wealthy Indians and foreigners.

Kumar maintained his innocence at a news conference in Kathmandu on Friday.

At the news conference, police displayed several bundles of Indian and foreign currency they said amounted to more than 200,000 dollars they had seized from Kumar.

The alleged scam emerged last month when Indian police raided several hospitals and houses in Gurgaon, a wealthy New Delhi suburb.

Several intermediaries and hospital staff have been arrested in India over the past two weeks in connection with the case.

Under Indian law, live kidney transplants are allowed only if the organ is donated by a blood relative or spouse, or if there is a swap agreement between two needy families. All transplants must be cleared by the government.

But a huge gap between demand and supply of kidneys -- because of few donations -- has resulted in a flourishing illegal trade.

Kumar's brother Jeevan Rawat, 36, is also the subject of an Interpol alert and is still being sought by authorities.

 

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